How to Tell If Your Dog is in Pain
Dogs are really good at hiding when they feel pain. This was helpful for them when they had to survive on their own before they became pets, but it's not good for people who have dogs as pets and want to make sure their dogs are happy and healthy.
If you know your dog's personality well and pay attention to any unusual behaviors, you may be able to tell if your dog is in pain, even if it's not obvious. If you notice anything that suggests your dog is in pain or uncomfortable, it's important to respond quickly and in the right way.
How Dogs Handle Pain
Dogs often hide their pain until they can no longer keep it a secret. This can happen because in the wild, showing pain can make animals appear vulnerable to predators. So, pet owners need to pay attention to any signs of discomfort in their dogs and take them to a vet if needed. Early treatment can lead to better health outcomes, fewer long-term problems, and less risk during treatment.
Types of Pain a Dog Can Experience
Just like us humans, dogs can have health problems that cause pain. These can range from dental issues to internal disorders like heart, immune system, and gastrointestinal problems. Pain can also be caused by tumors or cancer. Sometimes, acute pain can occur from injuries or accidents like a foreign object getting stuck in their paw or a fall. Dogs of any age can get parasites that cause sickness. Older dogs may experience pain from joint or bone issues, diabetes, or other health concerns.
Signs of Pain in Dogs
Lots of people ask us how to tell if their dog is in pain. There are some obvious and not-so-obvious signs that you can look out for.
Some examples of these signs are:
- 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 previously active and friendly dog is now avoiding petting, is not interested in playing, or has lost its appetite, it could be because they are in pain. Changes in your dog's behavior may indicate pain, and it's important to take them to the veterinarian to be examined and diagnosed. Pain can make dogs tired, just like it does with humans.
If your dog is experiencing chronic pain or has recently started experiencing pain, you may notice them sleeping more. If you see your dog showing signs of pain, contact your vet so they can identify the underlying problem. If your dog has been injured and is bleeding, unconscious, vomiting, or having diarrhea, it is considered a veterinary emergency and needs immediate attention. Our vets in Bellevue are able to diagnose and treat health conditions that cause chronic pain.
How Pain in Dogs is Treated
If your pet is in pain or has a medical issue, we may suggest different treatments depending on what is causing the problem. This could include giving them medicine for pain, caring for their wounds, trying different types of therapy, or even performing surgery. Our veterinarians are skilled in many types of surgeries, both planned and emergency, like fixing problems with soft tissue, bones, teeth, or removing things that shouldn't be inside your pet's body.