It is not more than a myth that dogs do not feel pain like humans do. In fact, dogs sense the pain in the same way we do, but they are capable of handling it much better than us. To some extent, canines have inherited this virtue from their forefathers. As hunting predators, they could not afford to show their pain, because, in the wild, an injured animal is an easy target for other meat-eating animals. So, they prefer not to show their pain to others and this makes it difficult for dog owners to recognise when their dog is going through physical discomfort.
How do I know if my dog is in pain?
We, as humans, are blessed to have been able to speak and convey our feelings to the ones we are closely attached to. In our day-to-day lives, we realise how crucial it is to share our state of mind with someone, especially when we encounter any ailment. On the contrary, dogs are incapable of articulating their feelings verbally. Instead, they use their body language to communicate. When dogs go through any physical tenderness, they show their pain through certain signs and symptoms. Pet owners have to rely on their animal’s behaviour to figure out what they want to transpire.
Dogs display various physical changes when they are in pain. There are a few noticeable changes in their physical appearance when they are in pain.
Shaking or Trembling
When your dog is shivering, it is not always because of cold. It can be a sign that your dog is experiencing pain due to an injury or illness. If dogs consume an excess number of chocolates or sugar-free sweeteners, they suffer from tremors. This is to keep in mind that shaking sometimes can be an indication of a serious underlying illness such as kidney disease, poisoning, pancreatitis, and so on.
Change in body and posture
Dogs sometimes take the ‘prayer’ position when they are suffering from abdominal pain. Some dogs stay rigid when they are in pain, whereas others take a prayer posture when they are experiencing a physical ache. The swelling of the legs, paws, and face is an indication of pain that is caused by an inflammation or an infection.
Licking is a way of grooming in dogs however if your dog is licking its paws repeatedly at a certain part of the body, it is an indication of an anomaly. A dog when hurt tries to clean and care for the wound and calm itself by licking it constantly.
Panting in dogs is normal. They often breathe heavily for some time after a short run or any form of prolonged physical activity. But when it breaths faster or takes shallow breaths consistently, it shows that the dog is feeling an ache while breathing.
Become less mobile
When your dog becomes stiff or shows signs like limping, it is a clear indication of pain that may have resulted from an injury or disease such as arthritis. Such dogs avoid any form of physical work out such as climbing stairs or going out for a walk and become less active.
Just like humans, dogs too when in pain behave unconventionally. Here are a few symptoms that reveal that your dog is suffering:
Did you notice when your dog stops greeting you when you are home and found out later that he had an injury? Dogs tend to keep themselves away from any communal huddle and become antisocial when they do not want others to see their physical ailment.
Change in routine
There is a noticeable difference in a dog’s day-to-day routine if it is feeling pain. Many of them will sleep more trying to prevent themselves from moving around because of pain. A significant amount of reduced eating and drinking habits have also been noticed in dogs suffering from physical soreness.
If your dog is otherwise quiet and loving but suddenly starts growling with ears pinned back and starts biting when you do certain things that scare them. If your dog behaves aggressively, examine his body gently like the vet does and see if you can localise the area of pain in their body.
When a dog is in pain they may avoid sitting in one place or do not lie down when they are physically hurt. Some of them prefer to sit or lie down in a different position than normal. Dogs in pain often move back and forth constantly and do not sit comfortably in one place.
If your dog shows one or more aforementioned signs or symptoms of pain, consult a veterinarian immediately to provide the necessary treatment to your animal companion.