It can be concerning to see your dog suffering from pain or discomfort. In this post, our San Diego vets explain how dogs tend to handle this, how they show pain or discomfort, and how to know when your dog is suffering and when they might require urgent care.
How to Tell If Your Dog is in Pain
Dogs are excellent at concealing pain symptoms. While this served them well as a survival strategy prior to being domesticated as pets, it is not ideal for owners of domesticated dogs who want to ensure their pup's quality of life and well-being is as high as possible. So, what are the symptoms of a dog's pain? What is the best way to tell if a dog is in pain?
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, as well as a keen eye for abnormal 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. Being skilled at concealing signs of disease, injury, and pain in wild species can keep animals from being perceived as weak by predators - and thus an easy target.
Any sign of pain or discomfort in your dog should be addressed and treated by a veterinarian if necessary, as early detection of disease or illness leads 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 previously physically active, outgoing, and 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 indicate suffering and should be tended to by your veterinarian, who can examine your dog and diagnose the underlying health issue or condition. Since the pain can exhaust dogs just as it does humans, many pooches 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 your dog suffering from pain and showing symptoms, contact your vet so the underlying issue can be diagnosed. If your pup has been injured and the pain is accompanied by bleeding, loss of consciousness, vomiting, or diarrhea, this is considered a veterinary emergency that should be treated right away. Our vets in San Diego can also detect, diagnose and treat health conditions that cause chronic pain.
How Pain in Dogs is Treated
Depending on the cause of your pet's pain and their diagnosis, we may recommend pain medication, wound care, various therapies, or surgery. Our veterinarians perform elective and non-elective surgical procedures such as soft tissue surgery, orthopedic surgery, dental surgery, foreign body or mass removal, and more.