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Signs That Fido Is In Pain (and what to do next)

Lori Davidson | 14 December, 2021

            Signs that your dog is in pain

No one wants to see their Fido in pain. Dogs cannot speak, so they're not able to relate their issues to us. But as a paw-parent, it is our job to find it out and take care of it.

It's not easy to find out what is causing the pain in your dog, it can be very hard to read, and they exhibit it in a variety of ways. 

Not to worry, though!

If you feel like your dog is in pain but don't know a way to figure it out, we've put out a list that covers all the possible signs that your dog might show when he/she is in pain. Along with that, we'll also be covering the list of things that lead to pain in dogs, plus what you can do to get rid of the pain.

So, keep reading…. 


Signs That a Dog Is in Pain

As I mentioned above, dogs show a variety of signs when they're in pain. It can be a change in behavior or even a habit. These might look small at first glance, but they're not. So, if you sense your dog is in pain and see any of these and the below signs, make sure to contact your VET before going on and doing anything for yourself.

  • Heavy Panting and Difficulty Breathing

Panting is a common function that enables your pooch to cool down. However, excessive panting is different. If your Fido is panting heavily for no reason, then there's something wrong.

The same goes for breathing. If your dog is having difficulties breathing, it might be due to an underlying issue. It can also hurt the poor soul while it takes a breath every time. 

If your dog is panting constantly and having difficulties breathing, visiting a VET is a must.

  • Vocalization 
If your dog is going through pain, it might be more vocal than usual.

Grunting, groaning, whining, and whimpering is something you'll hear more often if your dog is in pain. All these will be especially evident if your dog's trying to stand up or lay down.

If this is the case, you will have to check what's going on. 

  • Restless

If your dog is hurt, he might find it difficult to lie down and rest comfortably. 

He'll continuously get up and lie down in order to find a comfortable position. And sometimes will sit or lie down in an awkward position plus, not only that, but your dog will also be pacing here and there.

So, if you notice any of the above, act immediately. 

  • Change In Behavior

Behavior changes are common when a dog is hurt. Expect your dog to show some unusual behaviors often when in pain. 

Behavioral signs like aggressionconstant licking, and not allowing to touch are changes in behavior you'll see when your Fido is in pain, with aggression being the most common.

  • Changes In Habits

If your dog is in pain, he'll eat and drink less, interact with you and the family less often, and will have varying sleep patterns.

Varying sleeping patterns, I mean, some dogs with pain will sleep less while others sleep more. Overall, your dog will also be less active.

  • Constant Grooming 

Dogs suffering with pain will constantly lick their paws to comfort themselves and clean the wound. Even if the pain is internal, they might still lick that painful area and will try to alleviate the pain. 

Also, even if the pain is elsewhere in the body, some dogs might still lick their paws.

If any of these is evident in your dog, treatment by a veterinarian is required.

  • Mobility Problems

You can observe mobility changes in your dog if he's in pain. Dogs come up with mobility problems for a variety of reasons, and some include injury, illness, and even arthritis. 

Limping, sluggish walking or not walking at all, unwilling to climb stairs or jump, and being significantly slower when lying down and getting up are all signs that your dog's pain is affecting its mobility issues.     

All these signs can also lead to reduced interest in exercise and can affect the activeness of your dog overall. Note that some of the signs mentioned above can be due to a different health condition. 

Either way, no matter the pain or condition, if you've spotted any of the signs mentioned above, make sure to talk to a VET.

  • Posture Changes

When your dog's going through pain, you will sometimes get to see him standing on his front legs back under his chest. The reason behind this is your dog is trying to take away the weight from his painful rear legs and hips.

During this time, your dog will prefer to sit more than stand and stop on a walk. He might also prefer to lie down rather than just sit.

  • Differences In the Eye

The eyes can lead to all sorts of pain in dogs. If your dog has pain in the eyes, he might squint constantly, and the eyes will either lead to smaller or larger pupils, depending on the underlying issue. 

Pain in other parts of the body can also result in eye pain, leading to the pupils becoming larger. 

If your dog's suffering with pain in the eye, he might also paw at his eyes or drag them along the furniture or the carpet. And finally, the painful eye might seem bloodshot. 

  • Looking For Affection or Retreating

Your dog, when he's in pain, will either try to stay away from you or will try to seek affection from you all the time.


Issues That Lead to Pain Dogs

Pain in dogs is separated into 02 primary types: Acute Pain and Chronic Pain. Each one of these is different.

Acute pain is a pain that has occurred very recently or has been present for a little amount of time. Injury, illness, and surgery are the main causes of Acute pain. Behavioral changes in your dog while in pain are typically associated with Acute pain.

Chronic pain, on the other hand, is different. It is a pain that has been present in your dog for some amount of time. Chronic pain can significantly stress your dog and impact the quality of life. Arthritis and Gum disease are two of the major causes of chronic pain.

Apart from what I've mentioned above, there are other health conditions that can cause pain in dogs:

  • Bone Cancer
  • Pancreatitis
  • Periodontal Disease
  • Ear Infection
  • Slipped Disc
  • Bladder inflammation (Cystitis)
  • Peritonitis
  • Kidney and bladder stones


What You'll Need to Do to Help a Dog in Pain

Here's what you need to do if you notice that your dog is in pain. 

First, Consult A Veterinarian 

The first thing you must do if you figure out that your dog is suffering from some kind of pain is to consult your VET. 

A veterinarian will help you figure out the problem that's causing the pain. As you can see above, there are many causes, and almost all of them will need specialized treatment. 

If the pain is not due to a limp or a cut, you VET, to determine the problem, will run some diagnostic tests. The tests will include taking X-rays and Ultrasounds, as these will help to look for issues internally. 

Other tests such as urinalysis, biochemistry panel, complete blood count, and fecal exam will also be taken.

He might also ask about your dog's medical history and the first time you noticed the pain. 


Once the tests are done, the next step is determining the treatment options. 

Your VET will discover the problem that's causing the pain, and he'll talk to you about the most appropriate treatment options and the recovery time.

Also, keep in mind that different treatment options are available for different conditions. 

Your Part!

The time it'll take for your dog to recover will depend on the diagnosis. Your VET will be able to help you with this one.

However, fulfilling your part while your dog's recovering is crucial. While he's at home, make sure you take care of him ideally. Don't engage in physical activities for too long and limit other activities that involve a lot of movement. 

The environment your dog's in should be pleasant, without disturbance. Let your dog rest in a familiar territory and allow him to lie comfortably in his bed. Speaking of bed, make sure it's soft and sufficiently padded. 

Once you follow all this, it'll not be helpful for your pooch but also the speed of his recovery.


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