Dog pain is quite a common sensation experienced by your canine companion, and goes undetected most times. However, good dog owners pay attention to their dog's pain. Since dogs do not have mouths to speak, early detection of pain in your dog could prevent severe pain later on. Additionally, you can easily prevent damage caused by chronic pain by applying pain medication and other pain management routines early on.
How do you know your dog is in pain since it can not talk? Several early signs can inform you of your dog's health. To help you treat pain, you need to pay attention to these signs to catch chronic pain in time. We will discuss ten warning signs you can use to detect if your dog is in pain and how to offer pain relief for dogs.
What Causes Pain in Dogs?
Dogs, like humans, feel pain just about the same way. Dogs could experience pain for various reasons, including dental problems, arthritis pain, cancer, bone disease, etc. Additionally, dogs experience discomfort after surgical procedures, and pain relief starts to emerge over time.
Since dogs cannot speak, it is quite difficult for them to obtain pain relief. Sometimes, these dogs must rely on natural pain relief, which takes time and may not relieve pain like pain medications.
As dog owners, you must look for specific pain symptoms to help your dog control pain. Once you notice subtle behavioral changes in your dog, you must be alert to see if your dog is suffering. Some symptoms include whining, howling, whimpering, yelping, groaning, and grunting.
How do I know if my dog is in pain?
Most times, our dogs suffer when in pain. Since they cannot speak, we must pay close attention to a potential change in their behavioral patterns. You can sometimes tell your dog is in pain through behavioral changes. When you notice your dog becoming antisocial, something may be wrong with it.
Also, if you notice any display of aggressive behavior, your dog may also be suffering from pain. As pet parents, you must always keep a sharp eye on these signs. You could also see changes in their drinking, eating, and sleeping habits if they are experiencing pain. Other changes are vocal rather than behavioral. There could be a problem when your dog is more vocal than usual.
10 signs that your dog is in pain
Your dog is breathing heavily
Although panting is usually a normal behavior in dogs, breathing heavily very often is not. If you notice your dog breathing heavily with his mouth closed or partially open, there could be a problem. If you notice such behavior, you must pay close attention to see if the dog's pain is temporary due to environmental changes or if it is suffering from other things.
Always seek medical attention when your dog continues to breathe heavily over a prolonged period. Also, seek medical attention if your dog is coughing and breathing heavily. Heavy breathing and coughing could be signs of severe bronchitis. Instead of administering pain medication on your own, ensure to consult your veterinarian to see if the cure will consist of prescription medication or not.
Whimpering and whining
Like babies, dogs whimper or whine when they need something. Whimpering or whining could be your dog's signal to tell you that it is in pain. If you notice a change in your dog's whimpering or whining, it could be due to pain.
Note that dogs usually whine or whimper when they are excited. However, continuous whimpering or whining could be due to joint pain, severe arthritis pain, or moderate pain. It could also be due to more severe pain or some kidney disease. Alternatively, it could be due to a lack of blood flow in a particular area of the dog's body. If the whimpering persists, consult your veterinary medicine cabinet or veterinarian as soon as possible, for diagnosis and pain meds. Always run your natural remedies by your veterinarian before you use them to lessen pain in your dog.
Antisocial or aggressive behavior
Dogs are usually very social animals. If your dog suddenly becomes antisocial or aggressive, changing greatly from their normal behavior, it could be due to certain conditions, like nerve pain, gastrointestinal upset, etc.
You may notice that your dog no longer runs to greet you at the door or avoids interaction with you and other human beings. Watch your dog closely to understand his behavior and call a health practitioner if needed.
Changes in Eating Habits
One of the most noticeable signs that your dog is in pain is a change in their eating habits, especially if your canine friend has a voracious predisposition for food consumption. A change in appetite, or lack thereof (inappetence in terms of veterinary parlance), can be a sign of pain or discomfort.
If your dog’s appetite remains on-and-off for more than two days, take them to your veterinarian to get a better understanding as to what is exactly causing their pain.
Changes in Sleeping Habits:
Your dog could be in pain if it is sleeping more than they normally do. The sensation of said pain and discomfort can make it hard for your canine companion to find a comfortable position for sleeping. They can suddenly appear restless, and start fidgeting due to their inability to lie still. In another scenario, your dog could sleep more because it is trying to either cope with, or recover from the pain that they are experiencing.
Your dog usually licks his paws. However, when it becomes excessive, there is an issue. Most dogs tend to lick and groom their wounds. Thus, if you find your dog excessively grooming a particular area, it may be in pain.
Shaking or trembling
Excessive shaking and trembling are not good signs. Restlessness could signal that your dog is in pain. If you see your dog shaking or trembling continuously, it is in pain.
Dogs love moving about. If you notice your dog lying in a corner for abnormally long periods of time, it could be due to issues with mobility.
Eye injuries can cause different levels of pain and discomfort for your dog. If your canine friend is constantly blinking, squinting, tearing up, or constantly trying to paw his eye, you should immediately talk to your veterinarian and request a consultation.
Dogs in general may contract the same types of eye injuries and/or diseases that are contracted by humans. For instance, corneal abrasion, cataract, glaucoma, conjunctivitis etc. And if they are not treated properly, may lead to permanent blindness.
Perhaps one of the most obvious signs of pain and discomfort for your dog, is when he is arching his back whilst tucking his belly up and under. Generally speaking, this type of position assumed by your dog is an indicator of the following: gastrointestinal distress, back pain stemming from spinal injury or pinched nerve, and even anal pain caused by full anal sac glands.
When your dog arches his back, you should immediately call your veterinarian without hesitation to quickly determine the cause of your dog’s pain.
How to Help a Dog That's in Pain
You can help a dog in pain by seeking veterinary care and eventually administering pain relief medication. Suppose your dog is experiencing joint pain caused by hip dysplasia, arthritis pain, or other types of joint pain. In that case, you could issue a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug with natural anti-inflammatory properties to treat arthritis. You could also use natural remedies to manage the pain of your dog's joints.
Make an Appointment With Your Veterinarian
Once you notice unusual dog behavior, you can contact your veterinarian for help. You need to contact your veterinarian if the dog is suffering from emotional pain or pain in the nervous system.
Ensure you consult your dog's veterinarian before using prescription medication or joint supplements to relieve pain. Also, your veterinarian is in the best place to tell you if physical therapy or prescription medication is what your dog needs for a full recovery.
Modify or Stop Physical Activities With Your Pet
Sometimes the physical activities you perform with your pet can cause physical pain. If you notice your dog feeling uncomfortable, you can modify or stop physical activities that cause discomfort to your dog.