All dog owners have, at some point, wondered to themselves, “but, how do I know my dog is in pain?” This article breaks down the signs to look out for and what you can do to help.
You would probably do anything to protect your pets and keep them happy. They’re part of the family. The best thing you can do to avoid letting your fur baby suffer in silence is to be aware of their behaviour to know if they’re in any pain.
How do I know my dog is in pain?
1. Antisocial or aggressive behaviour
If your dog goes from being a lovable fluff ball to unapproachable and snappy, this is a big indicator that something isn’t quite right with them. There are many reasons why their behaviour could have changed, ranging from being sick, depressed, or in pain. But changes in behaviour are a massive sign that your pup needs some help.
2. Changes in eating, drinking or sleeping habits
Similar to changes in behaviour, if your dog isn’t eating their food, drinking any water, or sleeping too much or too little, something is wrong. Dogs are usually pretty glued to their routine and we’ve yet to come across a happy and healthy fur baby that doesn’t want to lick their bowl clean. Keep an eye on changes in their routine habits.
3. Being more vocal
Is your dog crying or whining more? Or even barking more than usual? This could be their way of talking to you and trying to vocalise that they’re in pain or experiencing discomfort. Try to be gentle with your pooch if you feel that they’re becoming loud and temperamental, they’re trying their best to let you know that they need you.
4. Excessive grooming
If your dog is licking themselves excessively, they could be trying to make themselves feel better and soothe their pain. When an animal has hurt itself, its first instinct is to lick the wound. If they have a cut, it’s easier for you to see but they can have pain internally as well that they’re trying to alleviate.
5. Heavy panting or altered breathing
Panting for a dog is normal but if your doggo is breathing weirdly or very heavily when they haven’t been exercising or it isn’t too hot, that’s worrying. If your pet’s breathing is shallow or they seem to be struggling, this could indicate that it’s painful for them to breathe.
6. Mobility issues
Is your pup stiff or limping? Do they struggle to get up or jump? Keep an eye out for a change in their movements and mobility.
7. Signs of agitation
Restlessness is an indicator of pain in many pets. If your dog is pacing back and forth repeatedly, has difficulty getting comfortable, or is sleeping a lot less, there could be an underlying issue.
8. Shaking or trembling
Dogs don’t only shake when they’re cold or old. Shaking can be an indicator that they’re in pain or uncomfortable. Trembling can also be an indication that your dog has been poisoned or something more serious is going on.
What should you do?
Now that you know the signs that your precious furball may be in some form of discomfort, what do you do? The best thing for you to do is take them to the vet (check out Oneplan if you’re looking for affordable pet insurance that pre-pays claims on your Onecard BEFORE you even get to the vet!). Your vet will be able to give you a much clearer indication of what could be wrong and give you a treatment plan for your pup.
When you bring a pet into your home, you make an invisible agreement with them that you will always protect them and take care of them. It’s not always easy to do when they can’t communicate with you clearly. But you know your fur baby – you’re aware of their behaviours and mannerisms – so we’re confident that you’ll see when something is wrong.
Thank you for being such a great paw-rent!
Yours in Not-So-Average Pet Advice,
The Petinsurance.co.za Team