Recognising Pain in Dogs

Some dogs express pain quite readily, other dogs are stoic and as owners, we may have to look for more subtle signs that our dogs are in pain. It’s often easy to tell when a dog has just hurt itself (acute pain), but with long term pain (chronic), masking it becomes more natural. Just because your dog isn’t crying or whining, doesn’t mean they’re not in pain.

Some of the more common signs include:
– Reluctance to play or exercise
– Increased fear, barking, or aggression
– Shivering, low posture, and/or facial tension
– Scratching, licking, or grooming more than normal (certain spots in particular)
– Loss or reduction of appetite
– Sleeping more often, and/or not sleeping at night
– Limping or reluctance to put their paw down

Other signs to look out for are:
– Finding it hard to get up
– Not wanting to walk on certain surfaces
– Pacing or restlessness
– Finding it hard to stay standing or sitting
– Lazy sit (particularly in older dogs)
– Not wanting to be brushed or washed
– Sensitivity to touch in specific areas

A dog may have one or two, several, or all of these signs. Some of these signs may have other reasons unrelated to chronic pain. However, they do serve as a good guide for owners.

If you suspect your dog is in pain, please consult your vet!

Recognising Pain in Dogs. Cartoon representation of written info

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