It can be quite concerning to see your dog suffer from pain or discomfort. Here, our Avon vets explain how dogs tend to react to pain or discomfort, how they show pain, and how to know when your dog is suffering and may require veterinary care.
How to Tell If Your Dog is in Pain
Dogs can be excellent at hiding their pain. While this has served them well as a tactic before they became our companion, it's not great for dog parents who want to ensure that their pup has the best quality of life possible.
With a good understanding of your dog's temperament and personality, and by keeping an eye out for abnormal behaviors that may point to pain or discomfort, you will be prepared to notice the subtle signs of pain displayed by your dog. You will then need to act quickly to help them feel better.
How Dogs Handle Pain
Dogs tend to hide their pain for as long as possible. By the time their symptoms become apparent and their owners take notice, the pain is often quite serious. In wild species, being adept at concealing signs of disease, injury and pain can prevent animals from being perceived as weak by predators - and therefore an easy target.
It's important that any sign of pain or discomfort in your dog be addressed and treated by a veterinarian if necessary, as early detection of disease or illness is key 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 in people, our dogs can suffer from a wide variety of health conditions that may contribute to acute or chronic pain such as dental health issues or internal conditions from heart-related and immune system disorders. Tumors and different types of cancer can also lead to pain. Acute pain can be caused by a foreign object getting stuck in their paw, an injury while exercising, a fall, 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 a Dog is in Pain
Many dog owners come to us wondering whether or not their dog is in pain. There are a few distinct, but subtle, symptoms that you can watch out for. Signs that your dog is pain or discomfort may include:
- Yelping or whining
- Reluctance to climb stairs or jump
- Significant decrease in appetite
- Tail tucked in or lowered
- Spending more time sleeping
- Reduced play or enjoyment of exercise
If your friendly, physically active and outgoing dog now cowers away from being pet, has lost their appetite or doesn't want to play as much anymore, pain or discomfort may be the culprit.
Changes in behavior can indicate health issues and should be tended to by your veterinarian, who can examine your dog and diagnose the underlying health issue or condition. Since 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 Avon can also detect, diagnose and treat health conditions that cause chronic pain.
How Pain in Dogs is Treated
Depending on the exact cause of your dog's pain and their diagnosis, we may recommend treatment options like wound care, therapies, surgeries and pain medications.
Our veterinarians perform a wide variety of elective and non-elective surgical procedures, including soft tissue surgery, orthopedic surgery, dental surgery, foreign body or mass removal and more.
With non-invasive acupuncture therapy, we can treat painful inflammatory conditions and illnesses in dogs and cats. This type of therapy can be an effective alternative to treatments such as conventional medications or other options.