Signs of pain in dogs

September 11th, 2017


Every dog owner dreads the day that their furry friend becomes ill or injured. However, it is not always easy to tell that there is something wrong seeing as dogs will do anything to be happy and hide their pain. Petplan will take you through a few simple giveaways when it comes to signs of pain in dogs…

Often dogs will suffer in silence as they can’t vocally tell us what is wrong. Therefore it is imperative that we can understand their body language and the signs that they are showing to us. By keeping these following signs and behaviours in mind, you may be able to detect something next time your pet is feeling 100 percent.

Excessive grooming

We all know that our dogs love to lick and groom themselves, although you may notice that it becomes almost obsessive when they are sick or injured. They will tend to focus on a specific problem area that will be a strong indication that there is something wrong with that location. They do this in order to clean and care for the wound, even if it is an internal problem. So be sure to be vigilant if you think your pet is focusing their grooming on a certain area.

Heavy panting

Panting is a normal behaviour for a dog. However, if the panting becomes heavy and they haven’t been exercising or it’s a hot day, then it could be due to stress. Unexplained heavy panting should be acted upon quickly as it could be caused by pain that your pet is experiencing.

Lack of appetite

Just like humans, dogs don’t feel like eating when they’re unwell. This is usually due to sickness or the pain that is caused to actually get up and eat. This usually points towards internal problems but can relate to a number of injuries or ailments.


If you suddenly notice your pet not acting like their usual self and don’t like be touched or picked up, don’t take it personally as they may be in pain. If they are in pain, they can go through a range of emotions from being shy and antisocial to overly aggressive and grumpy – even to their loved ones. Any noticeable change in behaviour can be cause for concern.

General behaviour changes

Besides your dog becomes aggressive or shy, they may experience a number of other general behaviour changes. This can be a number of things: sleeping more than usual; not jumping or climbing; doesn’t want to play; general disinterest in day to day activities; and accidents throughout the house as they may not make it to their designated toilet spot in time due to the pain.

Regardless of your dog’s injury or illness, they will show signs of pain, even if they are extremely subtle. Being able to determine early signs of pain can lead to a much more comfortable outcome for both you and your dog. This will allow early veterinary treatment which will lessen the chance of the condition worsening.

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