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Our pet dogs are our pride and joy. They are loving, considerate creatures that shower us with affection and we only ever want the best for them. Therefore, the idea of these creatures being ill or in pain is distressing.
There is every chance that our pets will get sick or injured in some form across their lives. It is part of the ups and downs of family life and the risk that comes with running around in the great outdoors.
There are some risk factors that vets and other experts are keen to talk about – especially some of the genetic predispositions of the breed, pest control or other dangers in food or toys.
One issue that they are less open to is that of the dog headache. There is uncertainty here and a sense that we are placing human qualities onto our pets. The problem with this approach is that there is no proof either way, and there is weight to the argument that dogs do suffer with headaches too.
So, do dogs get headaches and what can we do about them?
There are a number of different questions to address here.
First of all, can these animals get a headache in the first place? Is it physiologically possible?
Second, if they can, what might cause these headaches and how to they compare to the human experience.
Thirdly, we need to look at the different ways that our dogs may be exhibiting these symptoms, with a focus on some familiar traits that we should recognize with ease.
Once we have a better idea of the potential for these doggy headaches, and their signs, we need to look at the potential treatment options that are available.
Many in the medical profession see the idea of a headache as a purely human phenomenon. The issue here is simple. The headache has become a human-only complaint because we can articulate the experience and feelings.
Yet, there is no reason to believe that dogs don’t feel the same just because they cannot articulate their own experiences and feelings.
Besides, there is every chance that they are trying to, and we just fail to interpret the signs.
Dogs communicate with us all the time in different forms of vocal and body language. They are often trying to express emotions and desires that we easily misinterpret. It is quite possible that these doggy headaches are real. We just need to see the signs.
We have to stick with the basic medical and physical idea that a headache is a physiological reaction to issues and illnesses. Examples of this include stress and tension headaches, headaches from neurological disturbance or head injury.
There is no reason why animals that can suffer these problems, just like a human, cannot suffer the same symptoms.
Then there are those that ask can dogs get migraines. A migraine is a little more difficult to diagnose as it is a more complex condition. For now, it is best to stick to the issue of the headache and how to recognize it.
As you can see, there are potential causes of headache that are potentially shared between humans and animals – including our pet.
Headaches are not a problem or illness all of their own, unless they are part of a migraine. Instead they are a symptom, or reaction, to something else. We often get headaches when we are under a lot of pressure or stress. The tension builds up into a dull ache we struggle to shift. Is it possible that stress and anxiety in dogs can have the same reaction?
Then there are the headaches brought on by physical pressure and tension, such as high blood pressure, sinus congestion and possibly allergies. Could dog suffer the same effects?
Finally, there is the issue of a head injury. A bump on the head can cause throbbing and dull pain both in the cranial region of the impact and within the brain. Dogs that fall, or have some other form of accident, may find themselves dealing with this sort of problem.
Part of the problem with the science of the issues of can dogs have headaches is that we can’t truly know. We can’t see the headache at work. They same is true for us, but we have ways of showing it.
It is important that we understand of the different dog headache symptoms that our pets may exhibit. Some will be familiar, others could be a little disturbing. The important thing to do is to recognize these behavior traits as signs of distress and consider the potential for a headache.
The first is the simple act of whining. Dogs whine whenever they are distressed and need to vocalise their problems. We say that dogs can’t talk to tell us that they are sick, but this is the next best thing. Whenever they whine, think about the reasons why and look for some of these additional problems.
The most obvious is irritability. They could easily have a strong desire to be left alone to deal with the issue, and snap or retreat at human company. Like many humans with a headache, they simply may not be in the mood to play or be cheerful. It is also possible that your affection is too loud.
Many dogs with headaches may experience the same kind of sensitivity to light and noise that we do. We have a habit for burrowing under the covers in a dark room when the pain of a headache is too strong, and this is true of dogs as well. There is also the problem of a lack of appetite, possibly due to the pain of chewing, or noise of chewing.
A more alarming issue with these physical symptoms is the act of rubbing or banging the head. There are some cases where a dog may try and knock their head against a surface, scratch the area vigorously or keep on rubbing it. This isn’t simply a way to get attention – although it should be a pretty good indicator that that there is a bigger problem going on. Instead, it is thought that dogs are trying to dislodge the pain from their head because they don’t fully understand what is going on. They just want it out. As soon as we see this behavior, or any other the other prolonged problems above, we need to try and treat the issue.
The answer to the question of do puppies get headaches appears to be yes, there is evidence that they probably do. Regardless of proof of headaches, there is clear distress around the brain and cranial area in dogs exhibiting these symptoms.
It is important to keep them hydrated and keep blood sugar levels up.
Those that are in pain and want physical contact may benefit from some kind of massage in this area. In fact, there are some that recommend the use of chiropractic methods and acupuncture for dogs with potential head injuries or long-term issues.
If you can’t fix the problem yourself, either through lack of confidence or the severity of an ongoing issue, it may be time to try the right kind of veterinary intervention.
Some will struggle with the idea of a dog having a headache, but they may be able to see that there is distress in this area and prescribe the right sort of medications.
One such product that may work here is the Nutri-Vet K-9 Aspirin – a canine-friendly version of the human product. This simple pain relief shows that even though vets may scoff at the anthropomorphism behind dogs and headaches, the medical solution is surprisingly similar.
The information expressed here may be a little overwhelming to anyone that is yet to fully consider the potential of the doggy headache.
Do dogs get headaches? There is no way to provide a definitive yes or no answer here, as we can only go by subjective feeling and experiences with our pets.
However, the symptoms of some animals, such as photosensitivity, head banging and irritability, do make a lot of sense.
In the end, it is best to assume that they do and work to treat the issue as quickly and naturally as possible as these symptoms arise. The last thing we want to do is leave our dogs upset and in pain because the dog headache hasn’t been officially proven yet.
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