Animals do not behave like humans when it hurts. It is worth remembering that they have a sufficiently high pain threshold, that they will hide their suffering until the very end (nature does not show weakness) and that they will not show a ripe abscess with a clawed finger.
Often, owners do not understand why during the illness their pet does not behave as usual, for example, it becomes closed and uncommunicative, can bite or leave and hide. Also, owners often attribute changes in behavior to something, such as the weather or “bad mood,” while the beast just hurts.
Of course, there are manifestations of pain that you cannot confuse with anything, for example, lameness. But otherwise, it is unlikely that your dog will come up and say: “Master! My back hurts in my kidney area! I need to see a doctor! ”, No, she will sit tight with her hunched back and suffer in silence.
Pain is one of the most striking symptoms, so owners usually notice it first. Pain is the reason to see your veterinarian immediately. External manifestations often depend on the intensity and localization of pain, but after living a little with the dog and finding out a pet, each person sooner or later begins to understand her body language.
Symptoms of pain Let’s look together which of them are most common:
- The dog barks, whines, howls, growls.
It can do this together with some action (for example, growling on a sore paw) or just lie /sit/stand, look into space and whine. This also includes whining and screeching when trying to pick up. Many dogs and in the usual state vocally accompany their behavior, for example, barking for joy or whining when begging. This is normal. BUT if your pet makes sounds more than usual or accompanies them with atypical behavior for himself – this is an occasion to beware.
I have a patient who barks when he has colic and stomach ache. He is already a loud enough dog, but if it hurts … he does not fall silent.
- Excessive grooming.
Dogs try to clean their wounds, so cuts, abscesses, broken claws, abscesses are actively licked. If the dog often or without coming off licks any place, then you need to look for a problem there. This also includes several situations:
- if the eyes hurt or itch, the dog rubs them with his paw or rubs against various objects in the house.
- some dogs bite a place where it hurts. The more it hurts, the more intense.
- if teeth or problems in the oral cavity or pharynx hurt, the dog climbs its paws into its mouth, tries to gnaw hard objects, scratch it, and rubs its face on hard surfaces.
- if there are problems in the genitals (especially in males), this area is also subject to active grooming.
- Sleep disturbance.
The dog began to sleep a lot or vice versa, cannot sleep for a long time, constantly wakes up. The first or second will be – depends on the nature of the pain.
- Violation of food intake and water.
If the dog has pain in the mouth, pharynx, stomach, she may refuse to eat, and sometimes water. Refusal of food can also mean nausea, excessive pain in other areas. With some inflammatory processes, the amount of water consumed increases.
- Shortness of breath, heavy and/or shallow breathing.
The most obvious sign of severe pain. Sometimes, the only one.
- Forced posture and anxiety.
If the dog changes position all the time, lays down and immediately rises, walks, looks for a place, lays down and stands again – it means something is bothering her. It happens, with pain in certain areas, dogs take a forced position: for example, a hunched back – signs of pain in the abdominal cavity. Also, a sign of anxiety can be walking in a circle, chaotic movements. The dog can hardly or reluctantly lie down or get up, refuse to jump onto the sofa.
- Unmotivated aggression.
Often, a dog can show discontent if you touch a sore spot, sometimes it comes to growls and bites if the owner puts strong pressure on the sore paw or stomach. Before looking for a psychological aspect in a dog’s aggression, you need to understand if the dog is telling us that you don’t need to touch it in this place. Also, aggression can be a sign of constant irritation against the background of pain, pain in humans and animals sometimes causes inappropriate behavior.
Each dog reacts differently to poor health. One will hideaway so that it is not touched, and the other, on the contrary, will constantly stay close and substitute a place that hurts, under the arm to stroke (does not apply to all types and places of pain). An attentive owner who knows his pet for a long time will immediately notice that the dog’s behavior has changed.
- Lameness, abduction or tightening of the paw.
Lameness is the most visible symptom of pain. It should only be remembered that if the animal is limping or stretching its paw, this does not always mean problems with the limbs, sometimes lameness is a sign of pain in some organs of the abdominal cavity, pain in the spine. The so-called “wooden gait”, any changes in gait, belong to the same point.
- Unusual behavior during urination and bowel movements.
An attempt to urinate and defecate to move, find a different position, an atypical posture, frequent urges, vocal accompaniment – all this indicates that there is a problem.
- Other possible symptoms of pain in dogs:
- Frequent or close examination of the disturbing part of the body. Sometimes surprised, sometimes aggressive.
- Tilt your head one way. It can be a sign of neurological problems, as well as pain in the ears, any part of the head, otitis media.
- Cramps. Especially in brachycephalic breeds. For example, convulsions in a French bulldog are a reason to find an orthopedist and examine the dog for a wedge-shaped vertebra.
PS. While writing this article, I remembered how beef lungs “didn’t go” to my dog. So who can reveal all their pain in a theatrical mini-production! At first, he looked back at his stomach, often, and when he was seething – also with great surprise. Then he climbed onto the couch (which he absolutely can’t do), put his entire hard body in my arms, hunched over and froze. Here it is, a picture: “Colic, pain, and cramping in the intestine!”
Be attentive to your dogs, do not miss the symptoms of pain in their behavior! Each caring owner should try to provide the necessary veterinary care to his beloved pet in time!