Witnessing your dog in pain or discomfort can be concerning. In this post, our Weldon Spring vets will discuss how dogs typically cope with such situations, how they manifest signs of pain or discomfort, and how to recognize the indicators that your dog is in distress, signaling the need for prompt and urgent care.

How to Tell If Your Dog is in Pain

Dogs excel at concealing pain symptoms, a trait that served them well as a survival tactic before becoming domesticated as pets. However, this poses a challenge for owners who strive to ensure their domesticated dogs enjoy the highest possible quality of life and well-being. So, what signs indicate that a dog is in pain, and how can you determine if your dog is experiencing discomfort?

A thorough understanding of your dog's temperament and personality, coupled with a sharp eye for abnormal behaviors signaling pain or discomfort, will equip you to detect subtle signs of distress. It is crucial to respond appropriately and promptly to ensure your dog's well-being..

How Dogs Handle Pain

Dogs hide their pain for as long as possible until symptoms appear, and their humans notice. Wild species are skilled at concealing signs of disease, injury, and pain to avoid being perceived as weak by predators and becoming an easy target.

It's crucial to address and treat any sign of pain or discomfort in your dog promptly. Consulting with a veterinarian is necessary, as early detection of disease or illness is key to improving outcomes for your dog's health, reducing long-term complications, and minimizing risks during treatment.

Types of Pain a Dog Can Experience

Like humans, dogs can experience a range of health conditions that induce acute or chronic pain, including dental problems or internal issues spanning heart-related and immune system disorders to gastrointestinal complications. Pain can also arise from tumors and various types of cancer. Foreign objects lodged in a paw, exercise-related injuries, falls, accidents, or other mishaps can trigger acute pain.

Dogs of any age can contract parasites, leading to subsequent disease or infection. Senior dogs, in particular, may endure pain stemming 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 physically active, outgoing, and friendly pup is now avoiding being pet, refusing to play, or losing its appetite, there may be an underlying issue causing pain or discomfort. Changes in behavior might be indicative of suffering and require attention from your veterinarian. Your vet can examine your dog, diagnose any potential health issues, and address the root cause.

Pain can have a similar effect on dogs as it does on humans, leading to increased fatigue. If your dog is experiencing pain, you might observe them sleeping more, especially if the pain has recently become problematic or if they are dealing with chronic pain.

If you observe signs of pain in your dog and notice symptoms, it's crucial to contact your vet for a proper diagnosis of the underlying issue. In cases of injury accompanied by bleeding, loss of consciousness, vomiting, or diarrhea, it constitutes a veterinary emergency that requires immediate attention. Our vets in Weldon Spring are equipped to detect, diagnose, and treat health conditions causing chronic pain.

How Pain in Dogs is Treated

We might prescribe pain medication, administer wound care, recommend various therapies, or suggest surgery based on your pet's pain cause and diagnosis. Our veterinarians conduct elective and non-elective surgical procedures, such as cold laser therapy, soft tissue surgery, orthopedic surgery, dental surgery, and the removal of foreign bodies or masses.

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