No one should want to see their dog in pain. In this post, our Santa Clarita vets explain how dogs show pain or discomfort, how to know when your dog is in pain and might require urgent care.
Is Your Dog in Pain
Dogs often try to hide symptoms of pain. This is an instinctual survival tactic from before they were domesticated as pets, it's not great for owners of domesticated dogs who want to make sure their dog's quality of life and well-being is the best it can be.
With a good understanding of your dog's normal temperament and personality, you can keep an eye out for abnormal behaviors that can point to pain or discomfort. Be prepared to notice subtle signs of pain in your dog. You'll then need to act on them appropriately and in a timely fashion.
Handling Pain in Dogs
Dogs tend to hide their pain for as long as possible. In wild species, being adept at concealing signs of disease, injury and pain can prevent animals from being perceived as weak by predators and becoming their next target.
It's important that any sign of pain or discomfort in your dog be addressed and treated by a veterinarian if necessary. Pain can act as early detection of disease or illness and is key to better outcomes for your dog's health by getting treatment as soon as possible.
Types of Pain a Dog Can Experience
Dogs can suffer from a variety of health conditions that cause acute or chronic pain, such as dental health issues or internal conditions from heart-related and immune system disorders to gastrointestinal issues.
Tumors and different types of cancer can also lead to pain.
Acute pain can be caused by a foreign object getting stuck in their paw, an injury while exercising, a fall, an accident, or other mishaps.
Senior dogs may experience pain from joint or bone disorders, diabetes, or other health issues.
Signs a Dog is in Pain
Many people come to us wondering how to know if their dog is in pain. There are a few subtle and clear symptoms you can watch for. Signs your dog is in pain or discomfort may include:
- Significant decrease in appetite
- Tail tucked in or lowered
- Spending more time sleeping
- Yelping or whining
- Reluctance to climb stairs or jump
- Reduced play or enjoyment of exercise
If your previously physically active, outgoing and friendly pup now cowers away from being pet, doesn't want to play or loses their appetite, they might be in pain and need to see a vet to diagnose the underlying health issue or condition. Changes in behavior can indicate suffering and should be tended to by your veterinarian. Since pain can exhaust dogs just as it does humans, many dogs become tired more easily. If your dog is sleeping more they may be in pain or they are experiencing chronic pain that has become a problem recently.
If you notice your dog suffering from pain and showing symptoms, contact your vet so the underlying issue can be diagnosed.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.