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Signs of Pain & Discomfort in Dogs

Seeing your dog in pain or discomfort can be concerning. In this post, our Marina del Rey will explain how dogs typically handle such situations, how they manifest signs of pain or discomfort, and how you can recognize when your dog is suffering and needs immediate care.

How to Tell If Your Dog is in Pain

Before dogs became domesticated pets, they had to conceal their pain as a survival tactic. Consequently, owners may not always discern when their canine companions experience physical discomfort. Not all puppy pain manifests as a limping leg or a whimper!

By maintaining a keen watch for unusual behavior, owners with a solid grasp of their dog's temperament and personality should be able to identify signs of pain. Detecting such behavior is crucial for ensuring prompt care for your furry friend.

How Dogs Handle Pain

Dogs often conceal their pain until symptoms become noticeable to their humans. In wild species, the ability to hide signs of disease, injury, and pain prevents animals from appearing weak to predators, making them less vulnerable targets. Therefore, promptly addressing and treating any signs of pain or discomfort in your dog is essential. If necessary, a veterinarian should be consulted because early detection of disease or illness results in better health outcomes, fewer long-term complications, and reduced treatment risks.

Types of Pain a Dog Can Experience

Like people, dogs can suffer from a variety of health conditions that cause acute or chronic pain, such as dental health issues or disorders of the organs.

Tumors and different types of cancer can also lead to pain. Acute pain can be caused by a foreign object getting stuck in its paw, an injury while exercising, a fall, an accident, or other mishaps. 

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 
  • Irritability 
  • Limping 
  • Reluctance to climb stairs or jump 
  • Reduced play or enjoyment of exercise 

If your once physically active, outgoing, and friendly pup now shies away from being petted, rejects playtime, or loses its appetite, it may be experiencing pain or discomfort. Behavioral changes could be a sign of pain and require your veterinarian's attention. Your vet can conduct an examination to diagnose any underlying health issues or conditions affecting your dog. Pain can drain a dog's energy, similar to how it affects humans, making them easily fatigued.

If your dog has recently started experiencing pain or is dealing with chronic discomfort, you may observe an increase in their sleeping patterns.

How Pain in Dogs is Treated

Depending on your pet's diagnosis and the cause of their pain, we may recommend treatment options such as pain medication, wound care, various therapies, or surgery. Our veterinarians perform a wide range of elective and non-elective surgical procedures, including soft tissue surgery, orthopedic surgery, dental surgery, foreign body or mass removal, and more.

Do you suspect your dog is experiencing some pain or discomfort? Contact our Marina del Rey veterinarians today to book your dog a physical examination.

New Patients Welcome

Shane Veterinary Medical Center is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Marina del Rey companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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