Dogs generally experience pain for many of the same reasons that we do: dental issues, arthritis, physical injuries, or just not feeling well in general. But dogs cannot speak human, so having the ability to read your pooch and see when something is not right is an important to ensuring his health and quality of life.
Being able to tell if your pooch is feeling pain is crucial in identifying the cause and allowing you to respond immediately to find the appropriate treatment.
You’ll know something may be wrong if…
- Your dog cries out in pain. Vocalization is one of the closest things that dogs have to speaking. It’s one of their most obvious ways to communicate that something hurts. If your pooch whines and whimpers for no clear reason, this can be a sign that he is in pain.
- Your dog starts limping. This is another rather straightforward symptom that you should watch out for. Dogs maybe hobbling or walking lamely for various reasons, usually all of them associated with some sort of discomfort. Limping can be the result of a wide variety of issues ranging from arthritis or joint pain, to back or knee injury, to pain in the foot or paw pad.
- Your dog pants excessively. Because panting is a very normal thing for pooches, this particular indicator of pain can be rather tricky. When your dog pants at unusual times, such as the middle of the night, or when he’s been resting and shouldn’t be out of breath or thirsty, especially if the panting is associated with trembling, there could be a real problem.
- Your dog licks a localized spot too much. Most dogs lick their throbbing wounds, stinging paw pads, tender broken toe nails, and other parts of their body when they are in pain. Although it doesn’t always suggest soreness, you can tell if something is wrong when you catch your furball licking and chewing a certain spot on his body over and over again.
- Your dog is hesitant to get up or sleeps more than usual. Dogs have a natural, instinctual tendency to hide their pain. As pet parents, it’s important to make note of even the most subtle changes in our dog’s typical behavior. Of course, if a dog is suddenly very slow getting up or hesitates to walk, it becomes clear fairly quickly that something is wrong. Other dogs, however, may only slow down slightly, or may simply appear to me sleepier than normal.
- Your dog’s temperament and behavior suddenly changes. Like us, dogs can also get a little irritable when they aren’t feeling well. A dog that is normally pleasant and friendly could become aggressive without warning when he’s in pain. He may even try to bite, especially if the area that hurts is touched. Other pooches may all of a sudden appear more needy and may seek more attention from people than usual. Loss of appetite may also be observable.
If you think Fido is not feeling well, a trip to your veterinarian may be necessary. There are many pain relief options available for dogs nowadays, but before trying any of them, make sure that you discuss the situation with your vet.
Never, ever give your pooch over-the-counter medications like Ibuprofen and Tylenol as these drugs are very toxic to dogs.