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Signs of Pain in Dogs

It can be concerning to see your dog suffering from pain or discomfort. In this post, our Harrisburg explain how dogs tend to handle this, how they show pain or discomfort, and how to tell if your dog is in pain and when they might require urgent care. 

Why It's Hard to Tell if a Dog is in Pain

Before becoming domesticated pets, dogs had to conceal their pain as a survival strategy. As a result, owners may not always notice when their dog is physically uncomfortable in some way. Not all dog pain manifests as a limping leg or a whimper!

If you understand your dog's temperament and personality, you should be able to detect any signs of pain by watching for abnormal behavior. It is critical to be able to identify this behavior so that your dog can receive timely care.

How Dogs Handle Pain

Dogs tend to hide their pain for as long as possible until symptoms become apparent and their humans take notice. 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. 

Any sign of pain or discomfort in your dog should be addressed and treated by a veterinarian if necessary, as early detection of disease or illness leads to better health outcomes, fewer long-term complications, and less risk during treatment.

Types of Pain a Dog Can Experience

Like people, dogs can suffer from a variety of health conditions that cause acute or chronic pain, such as dental health issues or disorders of the organs.

Tumors and different types of cancer can also lead to pain. Acute pain can be caused by a foreign object getting stuck in its paw, an injury while exercising, a fall, an 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 parents come to us wondering how to know if their dog is in pain. There are a few subtle and clear symptoms that your dog is is pain. Signs your dog is in pain or discomfort may 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 puppy now cowers when pet, refuses to play, or loses its appetite, it could be due to pain or discomfort. Changes in behavior may indicate pain and should be reported to your veterinarian, who will examine your dog and diagnose the underlying health issue or condition. Many dogs tire more easily because, like humans, pain can exhaust them.

If your dog's pain has recently become a problem or they are in chronic pain, you may notice them sleeping more.

How Pain in Dogs is Treated

Depending on the source of your pet's pain and the diagnosis, we may recommend pain medication, wound care, various therapies, or surgery. Our veterinarians offer a wide range of elective and non-elective surgical procedures, such as soft tissue surgery, orthopedic surgery, dental surgery, and others.

When to Bring Your Dog to the Emergency Vet

If your dog is showing signs of severe pain such as crying, whimpering, or refusing to move, it is best to bring them to the emergency vet immediately. Additionally, if your dog has recently been injured or ingested something toxic and is displaying signs of discomfort, it is important to seek immediate veterinary care.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you suspect your dog is experiencing some sort of pain or discomfort? Contact our Harrisburg veterinarians today to book your pooch a physical examination.

New Patients Welcome

Colonial Park Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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(717) 540-7140