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Is My Dog in Pain? Five Signs to Look For

Is my dog in pain? Five signs to look for

It can be difficult to find out exactly how your dog is feeling, unless your pet is jumping for joy or howling in pain. Sometimes, when an illness or an injury starts off there may not be any obvious symptoms, this can mean it goes undetected and could potentially cause numerous health and mental problems for your pet. Here are five key signs to look out for when trying to determine if your dog is experiencing pain.

Excessive grooming

While we all know it’s usual for dogs to lick themselves, if it becomes an obsessive behavior it could be a sign that something’s wrong. If you notice your dog spending a lot of time licking a certain area, your pet may be in pain. It’s common for dogs to groom places which hurt because they’re trying to clean the wound, even if an open wound isn’t present. Keep an eye on the area they’re paying attention to and remember to be gentle.

Heavy panting

If a dog is hot or has undertaken strenuous exercise, heavy panting is nothing to worry about. However, if panting comes out of the blue, it could be stress induced. Pain could be causing stress in your pet, causing them to hyperventilate. No matter for what reason unexplained heavy panting appears, you should take your dog to the vet for a checkup. 


Lack of appetite

Just like humans, dogs experience a lack of appetite when they’re feeling unwell. This could be for various reasons, from stomach issues to just not feeling hungry, or pain experience when walking over to their food bowl. If you notice any kind of lack of appetite in your pet, it’s crucial that you make a trip to your local vets as soon as possible, as this could be a symptom of several dangerous illnesses.

Shyness or aggression

A change in your pet’s behavior can be an obvious sign of discomfort or pain. Your dog may stop wanting to be stroked or no longer bark at every knock at the door. You might even notice that your smaller dogs don’t want to be picked up, or cry out when you try to do so. If this change in behavior is sudden, it’s safe to assume that pain is the cause. Don’t take offence if your dog is hiding from you, or snaps and becomes aggressive, just be cautious and gentle when approaching them to check for pain and book a vet appointment straight away.



Another straightforward sign of pain is limping. If your dog is reluctant to walk, is slow to get up from a lying down position or is having trouble making it up the stairs, this could be a sign of aging and arthritis. However, if your pet is limping on a particular paw, this could be injury related. Vets can treat for both aging and ailments and any injuries sustained, so you can get advice from your local clinic.

If you can spot signals of pain in your pet early on, it will greatly help your pet’s discomfort. If you can get your pet to the vets to start treatment, you have a much better chance of curing any pain in your dog. If your pet is aging and there isn’t much the vet can you, you can certainly keep your dog comfortable in its later years.


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Hello, fellow animal lovers! I’m Elena, and I take care of social media for Animal Friends Insurance. I’m here to share the latest on animal welfare, our charity work and pet care. I foster and adopt rabbits and have a rescue dog called Luna.

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