How to tell if your dog is in pain

Do you find it difficult to tell when your dog is in pain? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Did you know that animals typically hide their pain and do this as a survival mechanism? It is instinctual and embedded in their DNA. While this instinct helps animals stay alive longer in the wild, for our sweet and pampered domesticated dogs, it is quite different. They suffer greatly and very often in silence. This is why it is very important for pawrents like you and I to identify our dog’s individual pain “tells”.

To get you on your way, we have provided 7 common signs that will help you know when your dog is in pain. 

  1. Level of activity:
    If your pup is experiencing a decrease in activity level, this could mean a number of things, one being that your dog is in pain. If you notice a decline in their sleep or playtime, this could be a sign that something may be wrong.

  2. Increased vocalizing:
    When dogs are in pain, they tend to be more vocal. You may notice an increase in yelping, whimpering, wining, howling, barking or growling. Heavy panting or altered breathing are also huge warning signs that something is not quite right.

  3. Change in habits:
    A decline in your pup’s appetite is a common sign that your dog may be in pain. (For example if they decline to eat their Pips Treats) More specifically, this could be a sign of dental pain. If they are sleeping more or there is a withdrawal in social interaction, this could mean that your dog is trying to heal or is in too much pain to move. Pay close attention to this one.

  4. Difference in mobility:
    One of the obvious tells that your dog is in pain, is the presence of limping, hopping or trouble running and walking. You may notice your dog having trouble climbing the stairs or taking more time than usual to lay down. Mobility issues should never be ignored, so keep a close eye out for this.

  5. Grooming:
    Some dogs may lick their paws more in an attempt to soothe themselves when they are in pain. If they are having mobility issues, it may be more difficult for them to groom themselves. You can typically tell that this is happening by a lack in the luster of their coat.

  6. More guarded of specific areas:
    Dogs who are experiencing pain will sometimes try and protect the wounded area. If you try to rub them in a spot they typically enjoy and they pull away, this could be a sign of trouble.

  7. Aggression:
    A dog who usually has a friendly demeanor may start acting out by biting, pinning back their ears or acting in a more aggressive manner if they are in pain. While dogs who usually have a more aggressive demeanor, may act the opposite and appear quiet and meek. 

As dogs cannot speak in the same manner and you and I, it is important to learn how to read their body language to help prevent unnecessary suffering. If you notice that your pet is in any pain, take them to the vet immediately. You can also try to soothe them by feeding them healthy, delicious and nutritious treats. Pips Treats are perfect for dogs with sensitivities, so if your pup is experiencing pain from digestive issues, our treats could be a good remedy to try (be sure to speak to your vet though). Try them here.