Savvy Pets

How Do You Know If Your Dog Is in Pain?

Are you wondering how do you know if your dog is in pain? If yes, you should click here to learn more about the signs a dog is hurting.

Are you wondering how do you know if your dog is in pain? It’s hard to tell if our fur babies are in pain because just like human babies, our pets can’t exactly give us any specific details about their pain.

Here are some of the common signs a dog is in pain.

1. Changes in Eating and Drinking Habits

A dog in pain often eats and drinks less than usual. When they attempt to eat or drink, they may drop food or water from their mouth if the cause of their pain is their teeth or some other part of the mouth.

A loss of appetite as well as noticeable differences in the amount of water they’re drinking are often common signs of pain in dogs.

2. Changes in Sleeping Habits and Energy Level

How do you know if your dog is in pain? Monitor their energy level and sleeping habits. A dog that is in pain may sleep more than usual. This is because he or she may be trying to heal, or might find it difficult to move around and be active.

A change in your dog’s energy level may also manifest as simply running or jumping less than normal.

Consider investing in a wearable activity monitor for your dog. These monitors allow you to track changes in your dog’s activity levels and behavior which means detecting problems early.

This is a great way to know when it’s time to head to your dog’s veterinarian for a checkup and find out for sure if your dog may be experiencing pain. 

3. Aggressive Behavior

Dogs in pain are likely to become more aggressive and even bite. This aggression may happen with not only strangers but also with their owners and other people they know.

You will most likely see this type of behavior in a dog in pain when a person touches or moves the painful area. Dogs often guard certain parts of their body that are in pain and bite or snap if they feel that someone is reaching to touch that area.

For example, if your dog has an infection, their ear may hurt as a result. If you reach to scratch them behind that affected ear, or even if you extend a hand to pet their head, they might try to snap or bite you.

4. Mobility Issues

If your dog is in pain, he or she may move around less. However, it depends on what exactly hurts. A dog in pain may still move around the same amount as they usually do. Look if they are doing so differently.

An example would be walking with a limp, or more slowly than they usually walk when going up or down the stairs.

Limping and stiffness are clear signs of pain in dogs and are likely a result of sore paws, injury, or even arthritis. A supplement may help alleviate problems due to joint pain. Learn more about the best options.

Before taking your dog to a veterinarian, take a video of your dog moving around where their mobility issues are more visible. Videos can help your veterinarian have a better idea and better assess where your dog’s pain is originating from.

5. Excessive Grooming

If you notice your dog is licking their paws all the time, he may be in pain. Excessive grooming like paw licking is a way dogs try to soothe themselves. When a dog is in pain, its first instinct is to care and clean for the wound by licking it.

Cuts are easier to find and locate, however, note that the pain can sometimes be internal.

6. Changes in Their Posture or Body

Look for any changes in your dog’s body or posture. Swelling is a sign of pain in dogs that could be caused by inflammation, infection, or even cancer. Check their face, paws, and legs.

Some dogs have a very rigid and hunched posture when experiencing pain. Others assume the ‘prayer’ stance with their bottom in the air and their front legs on the ground.

If you notice your dog in this ‘prayer’ position, he or she may be suffering from abdominal pain. This position allows dogs to stretch this area out when feeling uncomfortable.

7. Heavy Panting or Altered Breathing

Panting in dogs is normal. However, if your dog is panting heavily even though he or she has not been exercising is a sign, your dog may be in pain.

Also, shallow breathing in dogs means that it may be painful to take a breath.

Look for a change in the movement of the abdominal muscles of your dog as well as their chest. Both of these sets of muscles are involved in your dog’s breathing process.

8. Shaking or Trembling

Shaking or trembling doesn’t always mean your dog is feeling cold or ‘getting old.’ Both can be a sign of pain in dogs. It may also indicate something more serious such as pancreatitis, poisoning, or kidney disease.

For example, dogs who have swallowed moldy compost, sugar-free sweetener xylitol, or large amounts of chocolate often suffer severe muscle tremors.

9. Being More Vocal

How do you know if your dog is in pain? Listen to them. Dogs in pain are often more vocal. Excessive growling, snarling, yelping, and even howling are all clear signs your dog is telling you that something isn’t right.

10. Eye Changes

The eyes can be a great way to gauge pain in dogs. Your dog’s eyes change for eye pain itself as well as for pain elsewhere in their body.

Often pain in one or both eyes can result in either larger or constricted (smaller) pupils, while pain elsewhere in their body will result in dilated (larger) pupils.

A dog in pain will also frequently squint their eye(s), and may even paw at or drag them along the carpet or on furniture. The affected eye or both may also appear bloodshot.

How Do You Know If Your Dog Is in Pain? Our List of Top 10 Symptoms

It’s hard to tell if our fur babies are in pain because just like human babies, our pets can’t exactly give us specific details about their pain. 

If you were wondering “how do you know if your dog is in pain?”, we hope this guide helped you learn more about some of the symptoms.

If you found this article helpful, check out more from our Savvy Pets category! 

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