Our dogs can’t technically talk, but they can communicate when something feels wrong. Watch out for these telltale signs that your dog may be in pain.
Going overboard on grooming
It’s not out of the ordinary for dogs to groom themselves, but if you spy your pup excessively licking an area, it could be a sign that he or she is in pain. Animals tend to groom painful spots in an attempt to clean and care for them, even when there is no open wound. Gently examine the area for any signs of injury, and keep an eye out for worsened symptoms.
Sudden lifestyle changes
Is your typically hyper pup snoring on the couch all day? Something might be up. Pets sleep more when they are in pain in an attempt to heal. Alternately, they may be snoozing because it’s too difficult to move around. A loss in appetite is also a common sign that your pet may be in pain.
Sleepless days (and nights)
On the other end of the spectrum, some pets in pain may experience difficulty resting. Much like humans toss and turn in bed when we don’t feel well, dogs can also have trouble lying down comfortably when they’re in pain.
No more Mr. Nice Dog
Dogs in pain often go into protection mode. Normally docile and friendly pups have been known to growl, pin their ears back, and even attempt to bite when they are in enough pain. It’s not personal; they’re just afraid you’ll somehow worsen their discomfort. If you notice your pup acting antisocial or aggressive, don’t force him into couples therapy. He may just be in pain.
Although panting is normal dog behavior, certain panting patterns may mean something is amiss. Sporadic, heavy panting that springs up out of nowhere can indicate that your dog is stressed out or anxious from pain.
Despite the lack of a “traditional” vocabulary, dogs in pain do tend to become more vocal. Audible responses like whimpers and growls can be be triggered by touching (or even just approaching) a sore or wounded spot.
If you notice your pet exhibiting any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian! The earlier you catch and treat your pup’s pain, the better chance he or she has at recovering without any lasting effects.