Seeing your dog in pain or discomfort can be worrying. In this post, our Poway vets explain how dogs tend to handle this, how they show pain or discomfort, and how to know when your dog is suffering and might require urgent care.
How to Tell If Your Dog is in Pain
dogs are really good at hiding when they're in pin. This was useful as a survival tactic before they were domesticated as pets. It's not great for owners of domesticated dogs who want to make sure their pup's quality of life and well-being is the best it can be. So what are the signs a dog is in pain? How can you know if a dog is in pain?
To figure this out, you need to know your dog's personality and habits well. Look out for any unusual behaviors that may indicate pain or discomfort. You must then respond appropriately and in a timely manner.
How Dogs Handle Pain
Dogs will hide their pain for as long as possible until symptoms appear and their humans notice. This ability to conceal pain is a survival instinct in the wild to avoid appearing weak to predators.
Any sign of pain or discomfort in your dog must be addressed and treated by a veterinarian if necessary, as early detection of disease or illness is key to better outcomes for your dog's health, fewer long-term complications, and less risk during treatment.
Types of Pain a Dog Can Experience
Just like humans, our dogs can suffer from a variety of health conditions that cause acute or chronic pain, such as dental health issues or internal conditions, from heart-related and immune system disorders to gastrointestinal issues. Tumors and different types of cancer can also lead to pain. Acute pain can be caused by a foreign object getting stuck in its paw, an injury while exercising, a fall, an accident, or other mishaps.
A dog of any age may contract parasites and suffer subsequent disease or infection. Senior dogs may experience pain from joint or bone disorders, diabetes, or other health issues.
Signs Your Dog is in Pain
Many dog parents come to us wondering how to know if their dog is in pain. There are a few subtle and clear symptoms you can watch for. Dog pain symptoms include:
- Significant decrease in appetite
- Tail tucked in or lowered
- Spending more time sleeping
- Yelping or whining
- Reluctance to climb stairs or jump
- Reduced play or enjoyment of exercise
If your active, friendly pup now cowers away from being pet, doesn't want to play, or loses its appetite, some type of pain or discomfort may be the culprit. Changes in behavior can signal discomfort, and you should consult your vet. They can examine your dog and diagnose the underlying health issue or condition. Since the pain can exhaust dogs just as it does humans, many dogs become tired more easily. You may notice your dog sleeping more if their pain has become a problem recently or they are experiencing chronic pain.
If you notice these signs, contact your vet for a diagnosis. If your dog is injured and experiencing bleeding, loss of consciousness, vomiting, or diarrhea, seek immediate veterinary care. Our vets in Poway can also help with chronic pain conditions.
How Pain in Dogs is Treated
We might suggest different treatments for your pet's pain based on what's causing it and their diagnosis. Our veterinarians can perform different types of surgery, both elective and no elective, such as soft orthopedic surgery, dental surgery, foreign body or mass removal, and more.