No one wants to see their dog suffer. However, dogs naturally hide their pain and can’t verbally tell us when they’re hurting, so it’s important for us to spot the small signs and get them the necessary help.
Different behaviors and physical changes may signal that a dog is hurting. It’s essential to know these signs, understand what causes pain, and learn how you can help your pet. You should also feel comfortable discussing any concerns with your vet.
Signs a Dog Is in Pain Dogs experience pain similarly to humans but may not show it in the same way. You may notice your dog showing pain through body changes, how they act, or difficulty moving. Watch for these signs and always ask your vet if something seems off.
Physical Symptoms A hurting dog might show slight body changes or behave differently. Look for signs like:
- Muscles that are tight or twitching
- Shaking or trembling
- An arched back
- Holding their head low
- Heavy breathing
Behavioral Changes A dog in pain might act out of character, often appearing more irritable. Signs to watch for include:
Licking a lot
Whining or barking more than usual
Sleeping more or less
Mobility Issues Injuries or conditions like arthritis can affect a dog’s movement. Signs include:
- Slowing down or not wanting to walk
- Avoiding jumps or stairs
- Trouble getting up or lying down
Always talk to your vet if you notice any unusual behavior or changes in your dog’s routine.
What Causes Pain in Dogs? Dogs can experience acute pain from a recent injury or illness or chronic pain from ongoing issues like arthritis or dental problems. Pain can arise from:
- Bone or joint damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Back problems
- Dental issues
- Stomach problems
- Certain cancers
How to Help a Dog That’s in Pain If you suspect your dog is in pain, there are several steps you can take:
- Make an Appointment With Your Veterinarian: Schedule a visit to diagnose the issue. If your dog is in severe pain or showing alarming symptoms, seek emergency veterinary care immediately.
- Stop or Modify Physical Activities: Avoid activities that seem to cause pain until you can consult your vet. They might suggest changes to reduce pain, like shorter walks or using ramps.
- Keep a Record of the Signs You’re Seeing: Note when your dog shows signs of pain and what they were doing at the time. Photos or videos can also help your vet understand and treat the pain.
- Explore All of the Treatment Options: According to NW Bud owner Serenity Day you should discuss various treatments with your vet, including medications, surgeries, and alternative therapies like acupuncture, or massage.
- Ask Questions and Don’t Be Afraid to Get a Second Opinion: Understand the treatment plan and don’t hesitate to seek a second opinion if needed.
Be Your Dog’s Advocate Remember, you know your dog best. If you notice any signs of pain or changes in behavior, don’t delay in seeking veterinary help. Even if symptoms improve, keeping the appointment can ensure no underlying issues persist. Advocate for your pet’s health and well-being, ensuring they receive the care they need when they need it.