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Non-traditional pain relief strategies have become the go-to option for many people these days.
More and more medics are embracing this route as it offers many advantages over traditional medicine.
The reason is that they are non-addictive yet effective in managing pain. Cold therapy, for instance, has a reduced risk of overdose or side effects with other drugs.
Biofreeze falls under the category of cold therapy drugs. Anyone with arthritis or caring for a loved one with the same must have a rough idea of what Biofreeze is.
It is revered for its effectiveness in treating all kinds of pain and aches in the body. It is accessible and available even without a prescription.
With all the pros of using it for humans, one wonders if it is safe for dogs as well.
If you have a dog suffering from arthritis, you know the agony of watching him writhe in pain.
Can you really use this great topical analgesic to offer him pain relief?
We have answered this question in detail below.
What is Biofreeze?
Biofreeze is a popular topical ointment with a unique formulation.
It uses menthol as its active ingredient to soothe minor joint and muscle pain.
When applied to a sore area, it will evaporate off the surface of the skin, lowering its temperature and ultimately causing a cooling sensation.
So in a sense, Biofreeze basically blocks pain signals from passing through the brain. The phenomenon is called Gate Control Therapy and is useful in managing pain resulting from arthritis or overworked muscles.
Cold therapy, in general, is often used to minimize inflammation and swelling—both of which cause muscle and joint pain. It may also improve blood circulation.
Biofreeze is available as a topical analgesic, meaning it is applied directly to the skin.
It is effective in relieving back pain, shoulder pain, arthritis, wrist pain, muscle soreness, knee pain, aching joints, sprains, bruises, and strains.
Can Biofreeze Be Used On Dogs?
According to the ASPCA, menthol is potentially toxic to dogs when ingested.
It can cause an upset to the gut and lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
Since Biofreeze uses menthol as its active ingredient, it may not be that safe for your pet.
For young dogs, menthol does not only cause GI upset but may trigger respiratory distress as well. This is because the cooling sensation reduces the lung’s ability to take in oxygen which can cause respiratory depression.
With that said, the analgesic is okay for use externally.
It doesn’t harm the dog as long as it stays on the surface of the skin and not inside it. This means that it cannot be used in areas with open sores or bruised skin.
If you’ve been a pet parent for a while, you know the challenge of keeping your dog from licking his body. Dogs are curious creatures and love exploring stuff with their mouths and tongues.
Biofreeze needs to be applied a couple of times a day to deliver its healing properties to your dog. This only increases the risk of your dog ingesting a huge amount of menthol into his system.
To keep your pooch safe, refer to other alternatives of pain relief.
There are a couple of dog-safe, effective medications for that. Your vet should be able to suggest a few of them. This way, you can rest easy knowing your furbaby is fine.
If you have no other option, consider using an Elizabeth collar to contain your dog and keep him from licking the analgesic.
The collar will create a barrier between the dog’s face and the rest of his body.
Granted, the dog will not like it the tiniest bit but it will save his life in the long run.
What To Do If Your Dog Ingests Biofreeze?
In case you just applied some Biofreeze on your doggie and you just realized that he licked it, there’s no need to panic.
Typically, the pet will need to swallow a whole lot of the menthol-based ointment to suffer ill effects.
If he ingests one or two doses, you may not realize any changes in his body.
However, if he downs enough to mess with his tummy, he may pass runny stools, vomit, or show symptoms of abdominal pain.
Watch out for any change in behavior. If all he wants is to lie all day, it could indicate a gut upset.
Loss of appetite, lethargy, and weakness may come as a result of abdominal pain and diarrhea.
If you notice any of these symptoms, call the vet immediately. In the event that they cannot come over and attend the dog, consider taking a trip to the pet clinic.
You may also call Pet Poison Control services and seek further help on how to best help your doggie expel the menthol from his system.
If you have a puppy, don’t wait around until it’s too late. The toxic compound may become fatal in no time.
Biofreeze is one of those pain relief options that everyone should have in their cabinets. It is safe, available, non-addictive, and just effective.
While it’s safe for humans, it may not be the best for canine use. This is because it can harm the dog if ingested.
If your dog licks it (which is highly likely), he may suffer GI upsets.