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.
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:
- Scratching a particular part of his/her body
Your dog may seem to slow down when it comes to their daily activities including:
- 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
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
- Doesn’t want to be held or picked up
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:
- 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.