What are the signs of a dog in pain?
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What are the signs of a dog in pain?

How can we know when a dog is in pain?

It can sometimes be difficult to spot when the dog is in pain, whether it is a result of an injury or another issue. However, there are some signs which can help you to notice pain in dogs.

Excessive Barking

Dogs in pain tend to be more vocal. A hurt dog may express this vocally in a number of ways whining, whimpering, yelping, growling, snarling, and even howling. If he’s vocalizing more than normal check it out.

Constant Localized Grooming

Dogs in pain will often lick their paws constantly in an attempt to soothe themselves. When dogs are hurt, one of their first instincts is to clean and care for the wound by licking it as well. This is obvious if it’s a visible wound like a cut, but often even when pain is internal, dogs will lick that area in an attempt to fix the problem. Dogs will also lick their paws to rub their eyes if they have eye pain.

Change in Sleeping, Drinking and Eating

Many dogs will sleep more when in pain because they’re trying to heal or because it’s too hard to move around. A loss of appetite and changes in their sleep patterns and amount they drink are common.

Changes in Breathing

If your dog is panting even when it hasn’t been exercising, breathing is faster or shallower, these are signs that it hurts the dog to take a breath.

Changes in the Eyes

Dogs with eye pain squint but pupils are smaller, when pain is in other parts of the body the pupils get bigger.

Difficulty Resting

If your dog is hurting, it can be difficult to sit or lie down. If they are sitting or lying in an unusual position or they might keep trying to sit or lie down and almost immediately get up and move around again.

Withdrawing or Seeking Affection

Some dogs, when they aren’t feeling well, try to keep away from you and may even hide. Others will be all over you, seeking affection constantly.

Aggressive Behavior

When animals are injured or in pain, many go into protection mode and try to stay away from you because they’re worried you’ll hurt them. Your normally docile dog suddenly starts growling, pinning his ears back, and even biting you. Typically aggressive dogs sometimes show the opposite behavior.

Always Remember

Ensure your dog receives the correct dose of any medications prescribed by your vet. Each dog will react differently to the type and dosage level of pain medication so always monitor your dog’s response and if you have any concerns contact your vet. If you find something that seems worrisome or the odd behavior continues, see a vet immediately to diagnose the problem.


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