It can be concerning to see your dog suffering from pain or discomfort. In this post, our La Pine vets explain how dogs tend to handle this, how they show pain or discomfort, and how to know when your dog is suffering and when they might require urgent care.
How to Tell If Your Dog is in Pain
Dogs are exceptional at hiding symptoms of pain. While this served them well as a survival tactic before they were domesticated as pets, it's not great for owners of domesticated dogs who want to make sure their pup's quality of life and well-being is the best it can be.
You'll be able to detect subtle signs of pain in your dog if you have a good understanding of his temperament and personality, as well as by keeping an eye out for abnormal behaviors that can point to pain or discomfort. You must then respond appropriately and in a timely manner.
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
Our dogs, like humans, can suffer from a variety of health conditions that cause acute or chronic pain, such as dental problems or internal conditions ranging from heart and immune system disorders to gastrointestinal problems. Tumors and various types of cancer can also cause pain. A foreign object getting stuck in their paw, an injury while exercising, a fall, an accident, or other mishaps can all cause acute pain.
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 you can watch for. 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
- 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, refuses to play, or loses its appetite, it could be due to pain or discomfort. Changes in behavior may indicate pain and should be addressed by your veterinarian, who can examine your dog and diagnose the underlying health problem or condition. Many dogs become tired more easily because pain can exhaust them just like it does humans. If your dog's pain has recently become a problem or they are in chronic pain, you may notice them sleeping more.
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 La Pine can also detect, diagnose and treat health conditions that cause chronic pain.
How Pain in Dogs is Treated
We may recommend pain medication, wound care, various therapies, or surgery depending on the cause of your pet's pain and their diagnosis. Elective and non-elective surgical procedures performed by our veterinarians include soft tissue surgery, orthopedic surgery, dental surgery, foreign body or mass removal, and more.