Dogs can suffer from pain just like humans. However, it can be extremely hard to recognize the signs a dog is in pain. Dogs have an impulsive drive to obscure pain to avoid displaying weakness. Consequently, they are very good at masking their ailments.
That’s why it’s important to keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior, learn what signs to look for, and seek treatment if you suspect your dog is in pain. Here are some common signs a dog is in pain.
A dog in pain will rarely wander around. However, depending on what is hurting them, they can still walk around the same distance but do it abnormally, such as with a limp or at a slower pace when getting up or down the stairs. Limping and stiffness are likely a result of injury, sore paws, or arthritis.
If you have ever observed your dog limping from obvious pain and discomfort, you have likely asked what can I give my dog for pain. Fortunately, dogs have good pain relievers, but you should research the right medication before giving your furry friend a pill.
Body contour changes
Swelling in your dog’s body, face, or legs can indicate a painful condition, such as inflammation, cancer, or infection. For instance, a swelling on the top of your dog’s muzzle or under their jaw can be a symptom of a tooth root abscess. Most dogs with this condition will still eat normally, but it requires veterinary care to address.
It’s normal for a dog to pant heavily during and after exercise, but panting after exertion may sometimes indicate health emergencies, such as pain, poisoning, or heatstroke. Some pups in pain pant more than usual but drink, eat and appear normal. If the temperature where your dog spends most of their time has not changed significantly, but the level of their panting has, take note of this warning and consult your vet immediately.
A decreased appetite, especially if your pup has always enjoyed their food and treats, is a common sign of pain or discomfort. Difficulty chewing, particularly firm chews or dried food, can indicate dental pain.
A dog with pain elsewhere often results in larger pupils, while pain in the eye(s) may lead to smaller or larger pupils. However, these symptoms depend on the underlying infection or injury and whether both or one eye is affected. A dog in pain will also squint frequently and may paw at its eyes or rub them against the furniture or carpet.
If your dog is constantly licking their legs, it could be they are trying to self-heal its pain. Dogs have difficulty differentiating acute or new pain from chronic pain but are inclined to try and heal the area by licking their wounds. However, you may not recognize your dog’s discomfort until the pain becomes difficult for them to handle. If you suspect your furry friend is developing arthritis, consult your vet.
If your dog is displaying any of these signs and you believe they are in pain, look for vet advice and treatment as soon as possible. Don’t treat your dog yourself since human pain relief medications can be extremely dangerous to canines. Your vet can recommend the best treatment plan so your dog can return to its comfort.