Tell tale signs that your dog is in pain

Changes in behaviour and temperament could be signs that your dog is in discomfort. Here is how to spot the tell tale signs.

dog is in pain

If your dog is in pain are you confident you would pick up on the signs? We all know that a dog is a man’s best friend. You share your home with them and know your faithful companion from head to toe. But no matter how in sync you are with your dog, it may sometimes be challenging to understand whether they are feeling under the weather.

Depending on their character, some dogs will let you know that they are in pain in a blatant way, whereas others will act stoic and manifest fewer signs of suffering. In fact, not only do dogs arguably cope better with pain than humans, but they may also try to conceal their discomfort as a natural survival instinct.   

However, with your friend’s normal attitude in mind, you may be able to spot changes in their attitude which indicate that something is wrong. Here are some key signs and symptoms that suggest your dog may be in pain.

More vocal

You may sometimes find yourself chatting to your dog and, more often than not, they will answer back with a bark or a yelp. But persistent barking and whining should raise alarm bells that your dog is in pain. If they make them at random, in response to being touched or to a certain movement, they may be trying to tell you that something hurts. Gently examine their body and try to figure out where the pain is coming from. 

Equally, if your dog is generally quite vocal and suddenly turns quiet, they may be experiencing some discomfort. Ultimately, you know what your dog is like – a change in behaviour may suggest that they are feeling unwell.

panting - dog is in pain


Panting is fairly standard in dogs, but could be a cause for concern if it happens repeatedly and for no apparent reason.

If your pet starts panting in a cool room or during the night, it could be a clear pain pointer, especially if accompanied by trembling. Indeed, pain can affect your dog’s breathing and accelerate their respiratory rate.

Refusing to take the stairs

Moving up or down the stairs puts weight on a dog’s front or back legs, depending on the direction your companion is going. If in pain, your dog may downright refuse to take the stairs. They may stand on the landing and look up and down the stairs, possibly barking in frustration.

As they get older, some dogs will start suffering from arthritis. From medications such as Metacam to alternative treatments, your vet will be able to advise on the best cure plan for your faithful friend.

Standing up with front legs first

Most pooches stand up with the help of their rear legs first. But if your dog is having problems with their hindquarters, it will make this simple action tricky and painful.

To avoid this, they will try to pull themselves up with their front legs, which fundamentally is not normal. This behaviour may indicate pain-causing issues such as arthritis or even hip dysplasia.

loss of appetite dog is in pain
A loss of appetite may point to mouth discomfort or stomach ailment.

Loss of appetite

We know how much our pets love their food. Dogs are always in search of treats and snacks. Therefore, if your friend is experiencing a decrease in appetite, it may be because they are in some sort of pain.

In fact, a loss of appetite may point to issues such as oral discomfort or stomach ailment. In this respect, there are several symptoms that may reveal whether your dog is suffering from an upset tummy. Some of the signs are nausea, vomiting, excessive drooling, diarrhoea, and constipation.

Excessive grooming

Dogs like a good wash from time to time. However, if you notice that your loyal friend keeps licking or chewing a specific area with some insistence, then it could be due to a cut or a painful irritation. The latter may actually be caused by discomfort in their joints.

Moreover, intense biting or licking could be a sign that your pet is suffering from painfully infected or blocked anal glands. Therefore, it is worth taking a trip to the vet if your dog has the habit of grooming excessively.

Changes in temperament

Nobody knows your dog better than you do. If they usually like to cuddle and snuggle up, sudden avoidance behaviours should ring alarm bells, for they are a common trait in dogs that are in pain. Similarly, dogs that generally tend to shy away from contact may instead seek more attention when feeling unwell.

Furthermore, aching pets could become a bit aggressive. They may even bite if touched in an area that hurts. In fact, it is an animal’s natural instinct to protect themselves from increased discomfort.

Ultimately, there are several subtle symptoms from which you can deduce whether your dog is in pain. If you suspect your faithful friend is in discomfort, be sure to get professional advice from your vet. With an accurate diagnosis, they will be able to prescribe the correct treatment, and your dog will hopefully be back to their normal self soon.


Petplan.co.uk, AAHA.org, Dogtime.com

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Tags: , Last modified: November 16, 2021

Written by 1:47 pm Pets