How can you tell if your pet is in pain?


It’s not always completely obvious if your pet is in pain as they don’t always show symptoms and they’re not able to communicate like us humans. A dog’s pain can become evident through physical symptoms, behavioural changes and/or mobility issues. 

 

 

How to recognise signs of pain in your pet

Changes in body or posture

When in pain, your dog may present with a hunched posture or the ‘prayer’ position, indicating that they’re uncomfortable. Dogs often take the ‘prayer’ position when they are suffering from abdominal pain as it allows them to stretch this area out.

Heavy panting or altered breathing

Its normal for dogs to pant but excessive, out of the ordinary panting or shallow breathing could indicate your dog is in pain. 

More vocal

Yelping, growling, snarling, and even howling could be your dog telling you that something isn’t right.

Shaking or trembling

Shaking can be a normal reaction of an excited pet but shaking, trembling or shivering could be a sign that your dog is in pain or suffering from an illness, therefore its not something to be ignored.

Excessive licking

Your pet may excessively groom to soothe themselves and also is their first instinct when cleaning and caring for a wound, whether internal or external.

Anti-social and not wanting to be touched

If your dog is in pain, they may hide away or appear to be unusually anti-social, indicating they’re not feeling themselves. 

Changes in eating, drinking, and sleeping habits

If your dog is off their food, drinking excessively or not at all and/or having disrupted, unsettled sleep, these could all indicate your pet is in discomfort. 

Aggressive behaviour

A dog in pain won’t be themselves and may act out of character. Any out of the ordinary behaviour with your dog should always be taken seriously.

 

What can you do to help?

If you suspect your dog may be in pain, keep a log of the signs you’re seeing and contact your veterinarian and book in for a consultation. Your vet will be able to assess and advise on the appropriate treatment after diagnosis. 

 

 Veterinary Nurse, Sharna Beveridge & Barking Heads

Asking the important question, does my dog suffer with separation anxiety? Read more here by Dog Behaviourist Adem Fehmi and Barking Heads.