Knowing when your dog is feeling pain is important to their health and quality of life. It's critical to be able to read your dog and know when something isn't quite right. Dogs can't speak human after all.
It's also an important skill to know if a dog is in pain when working in the field of veterinary medicine. It can be tricky with some dogs and easier with others to decide whether or not they are feeling painful and knowing exactly where the pain is coming from. Here are 7 symptoms of pain in dogs that can help you better identify what your pet is going through.
This symptom is pretty straightforward. Dogs can limp for a variety of reasons, mostly all of them related to pain. As dogs get older, many will experience arthritis. Some other indications that your dog is experiencing pain from arthritis might be refusing to go up the stairs or slow to get up in the mornings. Stiffness is another sign of arthritis pain. Many people will say - "Oh he's just getting old." This may be true, but this does not mean that their dog can't feel pain just because they are old. There are ways to help dogs with arthritis and the signs shouldn't just be ignored or brushed away.
I'm sure eveyone knows that an upset stomach can hurt! Knowing if your dog's tummy is hurting isn't always the easiest thing to recognize. Excessive salivation is a good indication of nausea. I'm not talking about Fido's normal amount of drooliness. And of course there is always vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. These symptoms could mean your dog's tummy isn't feeling great.
Crying out in pain may be a dog's best way to communicate to people that something hurts. It's one of the closest things they have to speaking. Whining and whimpering for no apparent reason can be a sign of pain in your dog. Knowing where the pain is coming from can be the hard part in this case. If your dog cries out when a certain area is touched, it is more than likely painful in that area.
Temperament & Behavior
Just like people, dogs can get grouchy if they aren't feeling up to par. A dog who is normally very friendly could become aggressive and even try to bite. Especially if they are touched in an area that hurts. Others may seek more attention from their people and seem more needy than usual. Other behavior changes like refusal to go up the stairs, not wanting to lower their head to eat or not jumping up onto furniture are big clues that you should be weary of. These symptoms can be key indicators of a neck or back injury.
Loss of Appetite
This symptom isn't one that many people would associate with pain. However, if a dog is hurting they are less likely to eat normally. Especially if they are experiencing oral discomfort. Would you want to eat if you had a toothache? Oral pain, among other things, is one cause for your dog to lose their appetite.
If your dog is licking a localized area excessively, it could indicate that it hurts. Many dogs will lick their wounds, broken toe nails, sore paw pads, and other areas of the body that might be painful. It's not always obvious that something hurts, but it is usually easy to tell that something isn't quite right when you catch your pup chewing and licking a certain spot.
Did you know that panting is a sign of pain in dogs? Many dogs who are experiencing pain will pant excessively. Sometimes the panting is accompanied by trembling. This one can be tricky to spot since panting is a pretty normal thing for dogs. If your dog is panting at odd times - like the middle of the night - pay attention and look for other signs of pain.
Now that you know how to identify pain in you pooch, be sure to get them some relief! A trip to the vet might be necessary if you think your dog isn't feeling well. There are lots of pain relief options available for dogs. Be sure to let your vet know if you think your dog is painful.
Never give your dog over-the-counter pain relief medication without consulting a veterinarian first! Medications like Tylenol and Ibuprofen are extremely toxic to dogs and will do much more harm than good.