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How to know your dog is in pain

Dogs, unlike humans, cannot talk and will only communicate through body language and vocalizations. Therefore, it is your duty as a dog parent to learn your dog’s body language for easier communication.

Even so, this is not an easy task to do, especially to know when and where they are hurting. Furthermore, some dogs may choose to remain stoic when in pain as a survival instinct among their peers. Fortunately, there are several signs you could watch out for that suggest your bud might be in pain. These are:

Physical changes

  • Mobility issues. Limping or sudden body stiffness are apparent signs of pain, resulting from a leg injury, sore paws, or arthritis. Reluctance to climb up and down the stairs or even unusually slow movement are also red flags to your dog’s health. If your pup has trouble getting up or lying down, schedule a visit to the vet.
  • Changes in posture. Any changes from the normal posture of your dog can be evidence of pain. They may either hold a leg differently than normal, stand with an arched back, or even walk with a tucked tail while the dog always has an active tail.
  • Abnormal breathing. Changes in the breathing patterns of your dog are a definite cause for alarm. Heavy panting under cool weather or shallow breathing suggests they are in pain.
  • Squinting, rubbing of the eyes, or discharge are evidence of an eye problem. Alternatively, your dog may squint when experiencing pain from other parts of its body.

Behavioral changes

  • Excessive grooming. A dog in pain would lick at the injured area in an attempt to soothe the spot. Cleaning and self-care are part of their natural instincts when hurt.
  • Changes in sleep patterns. A dog in pain will either sleep more than usual or have trouble sleeping. Restlessness can also be a sign of distress.
  • Low appetite. An injured or sick dog will most probably experience a loss of appetite.
  • Aggression. It is normal for a sick or injured animal to retract to protection mode when most vulnerable. Similarly, a dog will often try to bite or growl once approached when they are in pain.
  • Vocalizations. Whimpering, snarling, whining, or even yelping are causes for alarm in your dog’s health.

With that said, it is advisable to send your dog to your veterinarian once you detect any of the above changes. Consult professionals at Vetsend who offer veterinary advice. Do not attempt treating your dog from home without a professional’s input.

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