Signs of Pain and Discomfort in Dogs

It can be quite worrisome to witness your dog experiencing pain or discomfort. In this post, our Seattle vets will break down how our dogs usually deal with this, how they let us know they're not feeling great, and when you should consider getting them some quick help.

How to Tell If Your Dog is in Pain

Dogs are pretty sly when it comes to keeping their pain under wraps. Back in the day, it was all about survival, but now that they're our beloved pets, it's a bit of a bummer for us humans. We want our fur babies to be as happy and pain-free as possible. So, how do you figure out if your dog is hurting?

You'll be better prepared to detect subtle signs of pain in your dog if you have a good understanding of his temperament and personality and a keen eye for abnormal behaviors that may indicate pain or discomfort. You must then respond appropriately and promptly.

How Dogs Handle Pain

You see, dogs are like the ultimate undercover agents regarding pain. They've got this superpower to hide it for as long as possible, and you won't even know until they start dropping hints (or, should I say, barks). It's all because of their wild instincts, where showing weakness could make them an easy snack for predators. So, they keep that pain under wraps!

However, if you notice anything off with your dog – like they're not their usual tail-wagging, treat-loving self – it's time to act and get your dog to the vet ASAP if needed. Early detection is like the secret to a healthier, happier doggy life. It means fewer problems down the road, less suffering, and smoother treatment journeys. So, watch for those subtle hints; remember, your dog's health is a top priority!

Types of Pain a Dog Can Experience

Our dogs, much like humans, can experience a range of health conditions that inflict acute or chronic pain. These conditions encompass dental health problems, internal issues spanning heart-related and immune system disorders, and gastrointestinal ailments. Furthermore, pain can result from the presence of tumors or various types of cancer. Acute pain may stem from incidents such as foreign objects lodged in their paws, injuries during exercise, falls, accidents, or other unfortunate 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 
  • Irritability 
  • Limping 
  • Reluctance to climb stairs or jump 
  • Reduced play or enjoyment of exercise 

If your once active, outgoing, and friendly pup now shies away from being petted, refuses to play, or loses its appetite, there may be an underlying source of pain or discomfort at play. Changes in behavior can indicate suffering and should be tended to by your veterinarian, who can examine your dog and diagnose the underlying health issue or condition. Pain can affect dogs much like it affects humans, leading to increased fatigue in many cases. You might observe your dog sleeping more if they have recently developed pain issues or is dealing with chronic discomfort.

If you notice your dog exhibiting signs of pain and discomfort, it's crucial to promptly reach out to your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis of the underlying problem. If your pup has sustained an injury and is experiencing pain accompanied by bleeding, loss of consciousness, vomiting, or diarrhea, this is considered a veterinary emergency that should be treated right away. Our vets in Seattle can also detect, diagnose, and treat health conditions that cause chronic pain. 

How Pain in Dogs is Treated

We may recommend pain medication, wound care, various therapies, or surgery, depending on the cause of your pet's pain and diagnosis. Elective and non-elective surgical procedures our veterinarians perform include soft tissue surgery, orthopedic surgery, dental surgery, foreign body or mass removal, and more.

Contact our Seattle vets today to book an appointment if you suspect your dog is in pain.