Not all canines are coping - How to spot the signs when your pet is in pain!

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Not all canines are coping - How to spot the signs when your pet is in pain!

GUEST BLOG: Emma Johnston, Dog Behaviourist and UK Husky Dog Sled Muscher.

Dogs are my passion, my life in fact!

In my personal life I breed, compete in GB sled dog races, and show working Siberian Huskies at championship shows such as Crufts.

I currently share my life with 12 dogs including a beautiful rescue Lurcher.

In my professional life, I have been a behaviourist for over 14 years collaborating with paraprofessionals and clients from all over the world.

All my dogs live inside the home with me, and I enjoy their companionship.

Dogs can be extremely stoic, especially Siberians, which is why I always try to remain vigilant about any changes they might display both physically and mentally, no matter how subtle they might appear.

There is often a BIG misconception that dogs are not in pain because they continue to engage in certain activities. “ They wouldn’t run if they were in pain”, “ they get excited when they see a ball, so it can’t be that bad”, but the truth is they would still run, and they do still get excited, and they can be in pain!

Adrenaline is great at masking pain, but it’s the aftermath that can be the worst for our dogs, often its after exercise people often see the biggest change in behaviour.

Whilst pain and diseases like Osteoarthritis can occur in any age of dog, it was my oldies that caused me some worry and started me on my CBD journey.

Seeing one of them become a little removed from the others and from me, the change in her gait and movement, her desire to wedge herself into a smaller more secluded space rang huge alarm bells for me, this was then confirmed when I saw her licking at a wrist joint, all the flags were there.

Pain can be acute which tends to be more noticeable to humans, I call this shouting, but chronic pain whispers, the dog often adapts, and these whispers can be much harder to see and much easier to accept as not being “ that bad”

When dogs are in pain they can display so many varied behaviours, how the individual experiences pain is unique to them, and it can be so easily missed or misinterpreted.

A dog stopping and sitting down can be mislabelled stubborn, or not wanting to be moved and growling, can be mislabelled as “ dominant”….yuk, dirty misunderstood word!!

Sound sensitivity has been directly linked with pain, which was another symptom I noticed in my dog, she suddenly hated bird scarers after never having an issue.

We often see dogs displaying fear, anxiety, or hyperactive behaviours, but aggression is a very common coping strategy used by dogs.

Staring at walls or zoning out, resource guarding, chasing light and shadows, the list really does go on.

For me, personally, the role I accepted when I decided to become a dog guardian was exactly that, guardian, to look after and protect, and that includes being vigilant and being an advocate for my dogs, being their voice when needed.

I take a fully holistic approach to my dogs’ welfare and when pain or suspected pain is involved then I use a multi-module approach to support them.

They rely solely on me to provide, and I do my very best to live up to the standard of human they deserve.

I have always added various natural supplements to their diets, which I hope contributed to one particular dog being 13 before she started to display the need for further support.

We went to the vets and discussed medication and was given a NSAID ( Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug).

After trailing a few different NSAID’s and finding one which seemed to work best for her, after a while I felt like she needed something more and so looked into natural pain relief and found CBD.

CBD started out as a whisper, almost a secret, a bit taboo, despite it being a common go to in other countries.

In my job I question everything, and so after doing a lot of research about various products and their quality I found The Canni Family Products.

I tentatively decided to see if this product could help my older dogs, my goal is purely to make their senior years as happy and pain free as possible.

I really started to notice the difference in 2 of my older dogs, I put the CBD oil drops in their wet food  (it needs to contain a bit of fat but you can also use Coconut Oil mixed in with Dry food) both morning and evening, the dogs have no problems having food with the drops in there and this seems to have had a really positive impact.

The dogs became playful, the one mentioned above in particular stopped removing herself from the others and she appeared much brighter in herself, this was confirmed to me when the dogs physio asked me “what was up with them both” as they played, I hadn’t told her they had been put onto CBD until she made that comment ( although I would have before any treatments). The good thing is that CBD also has no side effects for animals and is also great for anxiety.

I’m not saying it’s a miracle cure but for 2 of my senior dogs I can personally say The Canni Family CBD as part of a multi-module approach has made a big difference over the last few years and for that I am very grateful.

If you would like to try CBD for yourself or for your pet The Canni Family have offered a 10% discount (with a further 10% going to the LostTrail Sled Dog Team) when you order with this link or with the code Speak Dog.

Emma Johnston

LostTrail Sled Dogs

Speak Dog Behaviour Consultant


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