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Signs a Dog is in Pain

Signs a Dog is in Pain

Dogs can experience pain for a variety of reasons, but it may not be so obvious to notice. Today, our Everett vets explain ways pet owners can tell that their dog is in some sort of pain or discomfort.


Pain in Dogs

You are in the best position to look for the subtle changes in behavior that may indicate your pet is suffering. It’s important to stay alert to these signs, because the sooner your dog’s pain is diagnosed and treated, the sooner he or she can heal and resume a normal, happy life.

If you notice your dog has suffered an obvious injury, see your vet right away, or contact an emergency vet right away.

If your dog shows one or more of these symptoms due to pain, notify your veterinarian immediately.

  • Vocalizing
  • Whining
  • Howling
  • Whimpering
  • Yelping
  • Groaning
  • Grunting

Daily Habits

You may notice a change in your dog's typical behavior such as: 

  • Decreased appetite
  • Withdraws from Social Interactions
  • Changes in sleeping or drinking
  • Lapses in house training
  • Sleeping more


Your pet may pay a lot of attention to the injured area. You may notice them:

  • Licking
  • Biting
  • Scratching a particular part of his/her body

Activity Level

Your dog may seem to slow down when it comes to their daily activities including:

  • Restless
  • Reluctant to move
  • Difficulty getting up from a laying position
  • Repetitively gets up and lies down
  • Trembling, circling, or lying very still
  • Seeks more affection than usual

Facial Expression

You may be able to tell something is wrong just by looking at your dog's face if you notice:

  • Grimaces, vacant stare
  • Glazed, wide-eyed, or looking sleepy
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Flattened ears
  • Pants excessively when at rest


If injured, your dog's personal or natural grooming habits may stray. If this is the case, you may notice:

  • Coat lacks normal shine
  • Hair stands up in places


Your dog may become very protective of the injured area. If this is the case, you may notice your dog:

  • Protects a body part
  • Doesn’t put weight on a limb
  • Limps
  • Doesn’t want to be held or picked up
  • Hides

Aggression (especially a previously friendly dog)

  • Acts out of character
  • Growls, hisses, bites
  • Pins ears back
  • A normally aggressive dog may act quiet, docile

Don’t Treat Your Dog’s Pain Yourself

Never administer pain medication to a pet without consulting with your veterinarian. After diagnosing the problem, your veterinarian will explain the benefits, risks, and costs associated with various treatment options. That way, you and your veterinarian can choose the approach that best meets the needs of you and your dog.

If your veterinarian prescribes pain medication, follow your veterinarian’s instructions.

Watch for possible side effects, including:

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stool
  • Behavioral changes (depression, restlessness, appetite loss, etc.)
  • Yellowing of the gums, skin, or whites of the eyes
  • Redness, scabbing, or scratching of the skin

Stop medicating immediately if your dog shows any of these symptoms and call your veterinarian at once.

Is your dog experiencing pain? Contact our Everett vets to help get your pup back on their feet.

New Patients Always Welcome!

Looking for a vet in Everett? Whether your pet needs routine wellness exams, surgery, geriatric care or emergency care, we look forward to welcoming you to our family at Broadway Animal Hospital located in Everett. 

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