Pet Dogs

How to Make a Dog with A Slipped Disc Comfortable: Guide

How to Make a Dog with A Slipped Disc Comfortable


How to make a dog with a slipped disc comfortable? Having a dog with a slipped disc can be a challenging situation for any pet owner. A slipped disc, also known as intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), can cause immense discomfort and pain for our furry friends.

How to Make a Dog with A Slipped Disc Comfortable

As responsible pet owners, we must ensure that our dogs are comfortable and receive the proper care they need during this difficult time.

This post will discuss various ways to make a dog with a slipped disc comfortable. We’ll focus on strategies to alleviate pain, promote healing, and improve overall well-being. To get the most out of this post, read to the end.

What Is a Slipped Disc?

Have you ever wondered what a slipped disc is? It’s actually the most common spinal issue in dogs! This condition occurs when the discs between the bones of the spine dehydrate and degenerate.

As a result, these discs can bulge or even rupture, causing pressure on the spinal cord. While this condition typically occurs in the mid-back, it can happen anywhere from the neck to the lower back.

The consequences of a slipped disc include pain and potentially severe neurologic symptoms. Although aging can affect any dog, short-legged breeds are at a higher risk for this condition early in life. These animal breeds include:

  • French Bulldogs
  • Beagles
  • Shih Tzus
  • Dachshunds
  • Pekingese

Signs of a Slipped Disc in Dogs

Recognizing the signs of a slipped disc in dogs is crucial for early intervention and treatment. Some common symptoms include 

  1. Difficulty in walking or standing
  2. Loss of coordination and balance
  3. Reluctance to jump or climb stairs
  4. Hunched back or arched spine
  5. Stiffness or limping
  6. Decreased appetite or difficulty eating
  7. Whining or yelping in pain when touched
  8. Lethargy or decreased activity levels
  9. Sensitivity to touch or reluctance to be touched
  10. Paralysis

You Suspect Your Dog Has a Slipped Disc, What Next?

If your dog shows signs of a slipped disc, the first and most crucial step is to seek immediate veterinary care. IVDD can lead to severe pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis if not treated promptly and appropriately.

Also, remember that you need to restrict your dog’s movement to prevent further injury. This means no jumping, running, or climbing stairs until a professional evaluation is conducted.

Your veterinarian may suspect IVDD, but further tests are usually needed to confirm the diagnosis. The diagnosis may include

  1.  Physical examination – It is often the first step in the diagnostic process. The vet carefully assesses the dog’s mobility, reflexes, and pain response.

This helps determine if a slipped disc is indeed the cause of the symptoms. However, physical examination alone may not provide a definitive diagnosis. In such cases, an x-ray scan is recommended.

  1. An X-ray – The scan can reveal any structural abnormalities or changes in the spine that may indicate a slipped disc.

While X-rays are useful, they do not show the spinal cord and nerves. In such cases, an MRI scan is considered the gold standard for diagnosing a slipped disc in dogs.

  1. An MRI scan – MRI scans offer a highly detailed, cross-sectional view of the spinal cord and surrounding tissues, allowing for more accurate diagnosis.

It is the best way to diagnose a dog with IVDD. Based on the interpretations of the findings, your vet will be able to determine whether your dog has a slipped disc.

Treatment Option for A Dog with Slipped Disc

So your vet has just broken the news to you…your dog has IVDD. After that period of panic and remorse, what next? Well, it’s a treatment plan!

Fortunately, several treatment options are available to help alleviate the pain and restore mobility for dogs with slipped discs.

  1. Conservative treatment – Conservative treatment is often the first line of treatment for dogs with slipped discs. It’s recommended for dogs whose condition is not worse, and the pain is manageable.

This approach focuses on managing pain and inflammation through medication, rest, and physical therapy. Rest is important during this time to allow the disc to heal naturally.

Physical therapy, such as gentle exercises and hydrotherapy, can help improve muscle strength and mobility.

Some dogs may also benefit from using a supportive brace or wheelchair to aid in walking and prevent further injury.

  1. Surgery – In more severe cases or when conservative treatment fails to provide relief, surgery may be recommended.

Surgical intervention aims to remove the portion of the disc that is pressing on the spinal cord or nerves, relieving pain and restoring function.

There are different surgical techniques available, including hemilaminectomy, fenestration, laminectomy, and ventral slot. The choice of surgery will depend on various factors, such as the location and severity of the disc herniation.

  1. Euthanasia – Euthanasia is a heartbreaking decision that no pet owner wants to face. In some cases, when a dog’s quality of life is severely compromised despite all treatment options, euthanasia may be considered a humane choice.

The emotional impact of euthanasia should not be underestimated, and support from friends, family, or a counselor can be invaluable during this time.

How to Make a Dog with A Slipped Disc Comfortable

Watching your furry friend in pain can be heart-wrenching, but there are several ways to make them more comfortable during recovery. Try any of the tips below to help alleviate your dog’s discomfort caused by a slipped disc.

  1. Provide a Comfortable Resting Area—This can be achieved by providing a soft and supportive bed or mat where the dog can rest without putting pressure on its spine.

Additionally, adding extra padding or blankets can help alleviate discomfort.

  • Limit Movement – This means restricting activities such as jumping, running, or climbing stairs. These movements can exacerbate the pain and potentially worsen the condition.

It is recommended to use baby gates or create a designated area where the dog can move around without straining their back.

  • Assist with Mobility—It is paramount to Support your dog’s mobility. Ramps or steps can help them navigate furniture without risking further injury, while a sling can provide extra support during walks.
  • Medication Management – Pain management is key to enhancing comfort. Administer prescribed medications as your veterinarian directs to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation effectively.
  • Provide Physical Therapy – Gentle stretching and range of motion exercises can help maintain flexibility and muscle strength. Underwater treadmill therapy offers a low-impact way to build muscle without causing strain.
  • Apply Heat or Cold Therapy – Heat therapy helps increase blood flow and relax muscles, while cold therapy reduces inflammation and numbs the area. Alternate between the two as needed for optimal comfort.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight—Excess weight strains the spine, exacerbating discomfort. Monitor your dog’s diet to ensure it maintains a healthy weight and adjust its food intake accordingly.
  • Keep the Environment Safe – Remove obstacles and hazards from your dog’s Environment to prevent accidental falls or further injury. Nonslip flooring surfaces can aid in traction and stability. Providing a clear and clutter-free space can help minimize the risk of accidents.
  • Comforting Touch – Gentle massage or petting can provide emotional comfort and relaxation, promoting a sense of well-being for your furry friend.

However, avoid putting pressure on the affected area and be mindful of the dog’s comfort level. Pay attention to your dog’s body language and provide a comforting touch accordingly.

  1. Monitor and Adjust Care – Regularly assess your dog’s comfort level and adjust care as needed. Stay in close communication with your vet to monitor progress. Make any necessary adjustments to their treatment plan for optimal comfort and recovery.

How to Pick Up a Dog with IVDD

To prevent additional harm, it is important to handle your dog in a supportive manner. When removing your dog from its crate, avoid pulling it towards you.

Instead, gently lift your IVDD dog out of the crate, taking care to support both their chest and hind end simultaneously.

Lift your dog evenly and maintain proper spine alignment. Do so gently when placing them back on the ground, ensuring a smooth transition onto their feet.

If you opt to use a lifting harness, select one that effectively maintains the even alignment of your dog’s spine and rear legs.


Do you now know how to make a dog with a slipped disc comfortable? Ensuring a dog’s comfort with a slipped disc is essential for their well-being.

Throughout this article, we have discussed various ways to make a dog with a slipped disc comfortable. From providing them with a comfortable bed to administering pain medication as prescribed by a veterinarian, every step is essential in alleviating their discomfort.

Remember that every dog is unique, so it is important to consult with a vet to develop a personalized plan for managing their slipped disc.