When a dog is in pain, it’s not always straight away noticeable, and this is due to their instinctive nature to hide pain. Moreover, dogs tend to hide pain to prevent rival dogs or enemies from noticing they are weak. However, we as pet owners need to notice the subtle signs that our dog is in pain, and the sooner the better, before it becomes a major problem, so let us discuss the signs to look for.
Obvious signs our dog is in pain could be an obvious limp, but the more subtle signs are in their overall behavior. For instance, if he or she is reluctant to do a particular activity that he or she would normally be eager to do, this could be a sign that they are in pain. Moreover, a dog that is reluctant to greet you when you come home, or a dog that hides and is more aggressive than playful could be a sign that he is in pain too.
Another sign that your dog could be in pain is a change in his eating habits, because a dog in pain may eat less, or drink more than usual or less than usual. In addition, a dog that is in pain may also sleep much more than usual, because he is trying to heal himself, and sleeping generally gives the body a chance to recover from certain injuries. Changes in posture can also be a sign of pain, for instance a dog with some internal pain, or even cancer, may have a rigid stance, while other dogs may be more hunched over.
Abdominal pain can result in a dog sitting or laying with his behind in the air, which may look funny, but could be an underlying issue that you should get checked out. Heavy breathing, panting or very labored breathing should also be checked out, as this could also be a sign of internal pain. Excessive grooming can be a sign of pain too, because a dog that is in pain has a first reaction to lick and clean a wound, but may still excessively groom and lick paws if the pain is internal.
That being said, you as the dog owner, are the best person to notice changes in his or her behavior, and sometimes it can be something simple that only you would spot. Keep an eye out for less obvious signs, like him not wanting to play, withdrawing, hiding, sleeplessness, restlessness, eating and drinking habits changing, changes in posture and also check the eyes for redness, squinting or dilated pupils. Finally, if you think your dog is in pain, take him to the local vet, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and never try to treat pain in a dog yourself, you could make it worse.