Canine Decoder: Signs of Pain in Dogs
Has your dog been a little “off” lately? He or she could just be having a bad day, but if there are obvious changes in behavior or preferences, it’s probably more than that. Getting to the root cause of pain in dogs can be tricky, so what signs should you be looking for?
Ruling Out the Obvious
You should know if your dog has sustained a physical trauma such as a fall, animal bite, or car accident. He or she will likely have obvious injuries, such as limping, open wounds, noticeable swelling, or broken bones. It’s critical to be prepared to help your dog in an emergency situation. Dogs in pain are frightened, so extreme caution should be used to prevent further injury to you or your pet. Also contact us immediately for assistance.
Subtle pain is more difficult to address, and symptoms can really sneak up on you. Your dog may also try to hide the pain, making it even more challenging to notice and understand. That being said, there are distinct signs of pain in dogs that should never be ignored:
- Lack of appetite – When food is left in the bowl, your dog is probably not feeling well. While inappetance can be linked to dental pain, it could also point to other dangerous ailments.
- Behavioral changes – Your dog may start to shy away from you or display dramatic shifts in preferences. For instance, a previously affectionate dog that loves a rigorous petting session suddenly becomes withdrawn and sensitive to your touch. Aggression is often seen with dogs in pain, making a physical examination imperative.
- Accidents – Signs of pain in dogs can also include urination or defecation accidents. Getting up, moving about, and squatting can be difficult.
- Excessive grooming – Obsessively worrying about a specific spot can be a sign that something’s up. If your dog is focused on licking an exact area, try to inspect it very gently.
- Laborious panting – Outside of an exercise session, your dog shouldn’t be breathing heavily. If it occurs suddenly and spontaneously, it’s a sign that your dog is stressed.
Easing Pain in Dogs
It may take certain tests in our in-house laboratory to learn the cause of pain in your dog. Once we rule out disease or injury, we can focus on a diagnosis and a comprehensive pain management plan. Laser therapy or other treatments may be used to help ease pain in dogs, and we work closely with you to make sure your pet’s needs are being met.