It is never easy for a pet parent to see their canine companions in any type of pain. Some dogs will show more subtle signs than others so it is important to know what to look for. In this post, our Nashua vets talk about the different types of pain in dogs, the common signs and how they can be treated.
How to Tell if Your Dog is in Pain
Dogs have a long-standing history of protecting themselves by hiding any pain that they may experience. While this was useful before the times when they lived with humans, we now need to know when something is wrong with our pups.
With a good understanding of your dog's temperament and personality and by keeping an eye out for abnormal behaviors that can point to pain or discomfort, you'll be prepared to notice subtle signs of pain in your dog. The key will be to spot the signs of pain in your dog early and seek treatment right away.
How subtle might the signs of pain in dogs be?
Your dog will likely do everything they can to hide their symptoms until they no longer are able to. 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.
The Different Types of Pain in Dogs
Just like humans, our dogs can suffer from a variety of health conditions that cause acute or chronic pain, such as dental health issues or internal conditions from heart-related and immune system disorders to gastrointestinal issues. 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, 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 of Pain in Dogs
We often are asked what the common signs of pain in dogs are, and unfortunately, there are many potential signs that you may see. There are, however, a few common signs that you may notice above all others, they include:
- Significant decrease in appetite
- Tail tucked in or lowered
- Spending more time sleeping
- Yelping or whining
- Reluctance to climb stairs or jump
- Reduced play or enjoyment of exercise
If your previously physically active, outgoing and friendly pup now cowers away from being pet, doesn't want to play or loses their appetite, some type of pain or discomfort may be the culprit. Changes in behavior can indicate suffering 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 Nashua can also detect, diagnose and treat health conditions that cause chronic pain.
Treating Dog Pain Symptoms
Depending on the cause of your pet's pain and their diagnosis, we may recommend treatment options such as pain medication, wound care, various therapies or surgery. 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 cold laser therapy, we can treat painful inflammatory conditions, injuries and illnesses in dogs and cats. This type of therapy can be an effective alternative to treatments such as conventional medications or other options.
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.