How to Tell if Your Dog is in Pain

Dogs feel pain and discomfort for many of the same reasons as humans. Reasons such as infections, dental problems, arthritis, bone disease, and cancer. They also feel discomfort following surgical procedures.

Unfortunately, it is often difficult for owners to know when their dogs are hurting. However, owners are in the best position to monitor their dogs in their home environment for signs of discomfort, such as subtle changes in behaviour that can alert owners to a problem. It is important to stay alert because the sooner your dog’s pain is diagnosed and treated, the sooner they can heal and resume a normal, happy life.

Vocalizing: Whining, howling, whimpering, yelping, groaning and/or grunting.

Facial Expression: Grimace, vacant stare, glazed, wide eye or sleeping looking, enlarged pupils, flattened ears, excessive panting when at rest.

Posture: Hunched/downward dog yoga position, laying on their side.

Activity Level: Restless, reluctant to move, difficulty getting up, repetitively getting up and then laying down, trembling, circling or laying very still, seek more affection than usual.

Daily Habits: Decreased appetite, withdraw from social interaction, acts out of character, ears pinned back, changes in sleeping or drinking habits, lapses in housetraining, sleeping more, a normally aggressive or rambunctious dog may act quiet and docile.

Self-Mutilation: Licking, biting, scratching one particular part of their body.

Grooming: Coat lacks normal shine, the hair stands up in places.

Self Protection: Protects a body part, limping, doesn’t want to be held or picked up, hiding.

If your dog shows one or more of these behaviours and you suspect it may be due to pain, please call us immediately.

Written by: Fairview Animal Hospital

Information provided by AAHA.