Have you ever wondered if pets see what we see and feel what we feel? Do dogs get headaches as we humans do? … If you’re one of those people who have experienced headaches, you probably know the amount of pain that can be caused by headaches. However, we humans express our need for medication or headache remedies anytime we want, except that our pets who may have headaches are unable to do so. Recently, I noticed that my faithful dog was showing some tension in addition to signs of head pain, which made me ask: Can dogs get headaches?
To find out for sure, I contacted many veterinarians and specialists so I wanted to share the answer with you.
Do dogs get headaches?
The answer was clear and direct from all, yes dogs can have headaches just like humans. Although there are not many studies that confirm that dogs can develop headaches, most veterinarians agree that it is possible and that there is no scientific reason to prevent it from happening.
To better understand, we contacted Tim Bentley, Associate Professor, Veterinary Neurology and Neurosurgery, Purdue Veterinary Medicine, who assured us that the brain acts as an informer for all pain that afflicts all parts of the body. If the nerves or blood vessels covering the neck and skull are contracted or enlarged, causing pain in the head, since dogs have the same basic nerve structure as humans, dogs can get headaches.
But the difference here is that headaches in dogs are difficult to diagnose because they can’t communicate and talk to express their feelings or the location of the pain and its duration, whereas humans talk to their doctor about all these things in order to properly diagnose headaches.
Some experts’ opinions about the possibility of dogs having headaches:
- Adam Boyko says (Associate Professor, Biomedical Sciences, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, whose research focuses on canine genetics), so far, there is no perfect and effective way to know if dogs are suffering from headaches, but all the evidence confirms it. He also added that he would be very surprised if they didn’t because their biology is very similar to humans, which confirms that they are infected with most of the diseases we can contract.
- To further verify the fact that dogs get headaches, we contacted Elizabeth Stelow (Staff Clinician and Veterinary Behaviorist, UC Davis Clinical Behavior Service), who confirmed that there was no controlled study to answer this question conclusively, but in her personal experience, her dog suffered from epilepsy for several minutes, which led her to believe that dogs develop a headache. He also pointed out that nothing exempts dogs from this disease, especially since they have the same symptoms as humans report after having a headache. In addition, dogs have the same central nervous pathways as humans, which inevitably leads to their disruption sometimes, as happens with humans during a headache.
- In the same context, says Charles H. Vite (Professor, Neurology, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine), all the evidence confirms that dogs get headaches because they have brain tumors at the same rate as humans, and anti-inflammatory drugs have the same effect in relieving pain in everyone. In answering the question, do dogs have random headaches as we do? He totally denies it, because dogs do not suffer from the same stress and do not drink alcohol as humans do.
Do dogs get headaches from barking?
It’s natural that your dog barks because it was created to do so, and it’s the only way it can communicate with you and its environment, so barking is an ideal way to alert you to the presence of intruders in the house. But it becomes a concern if the dog barks excessively, as it can cause headaches and pain in the head and neck due to stress. Therefore, in some cases, dogs get headaches due to excessive barking over a long period of time.
What can you give a dog for headaches?
To avoid a dog headache caused by an allergy, you can take an allergy test from your veterinarian, thus helping to prevent the causes of this allergy, which can cause headaches for your dog.
During a headache episode that your dog may be suffering from, there are some simple things you can do to help it stay calm and not cause the pain it’s suffering from, like:
- Avoid training or playing with it, especially in the head.
- Give your dog some space and calm by keeping other pets and children away from it.
- Place your dog in a cool, dark place for privacy and calm.
- Give your dog an appropriate dose of aspirin for dogs, as prescribed by your veterinarian.
- Put cold or warm compresses on the dog’s neck or back to relieve pain.
In most cases, the headache will disappear in between 30 minutes and an hour, but in rare cases, it can last longer, especially if there is a lot of noise and loud noises.
Read more: How to stop dog barking at night?