Is My Dog In Pain? How to Know

As an owner, you may not know if your dog is suffering from something externally/internally. The reason being is because your dog deals with pain in silence.

Because your dog could be hiding their pain, it can be difficult at times to identify if there are any issues. However, there are signs found to identify and help you today find to decide if your dog is in pain.

Below are nine ways to help you decide whether or not your dog is in pain. But before we start, we have an important tip for you.

PLEASE DO NOT use human medications if ever you notice your dog is in pain. Bring your dog to the veterinarian for further assistance. Do not ever try attempting to do so.

Keeping distance or shows aggression

If you notice your dog not moving as much, meaning not coming to the door to greet you, then something’s wrong. If your dog is hiding somewhere unusual, it could be an indicator your dog is in pain.

If your dog barks at you continuously and is growling, then something’s wrong. It could be your dog is in pain.

Most likely, your dog will also have the tendency to bite. If the case is true, then your dog has pain. Some dogs will guard parts of their body which is in pain. With your dog doing so, it will mean the area they are guarding hurts.

Changes in appetite/sleeping habits

You may notice your dog won’t eat as much as they desire. They could be drinking more water than before.

These are often common symptoms found in dogs who have pain in the mouth, more specifically in the teeth. They will eat less food because of the pain they are experiencing.

Observe how they sleep as well. The tendency is if your dog is in pain, he/she is sleeping more. Dogs usually sleep more to heal himself/herself just like how we sleep to heal our brains.

The possibility of them sleeping more is probably because they can’t move as much as before.

Barking, growling, more

Dogs who are barking more than before or even growling could have the possibility of being in pain. It can come to the point where barking and growling can becoming excessive.

The excessive barking/growling of it could be an indicator something is not right.


If you see your dog trying to lick their own paws, then they are trying to relieve the pain they are experiencing. The pain could possibly be coming from the paws.

If you ever heard the term licking the wounds, then your dog is doing it because there’s probably a wound or cut in the paw.

Abnormalities in breathing

If you notice your dog is breathing in a way not normal, something’s wrong. There are two distinctions to know if your dog is breathing normally or not.

First, panting is normal. Second, if your dog is panting heavily, then there is something wrong. If your dog is breathing in a shallow way, then there is something wrong.

The possibility of something being in the throat such as a bone or embolus of food is probably why. If you notice your dog breathing in a shallow manner, call EMS.

Difficulty moving

Alongside to sleeping more, while your dog is awake, you might see how they are moving slowly. If you see your dog limping or moving stiffly, then your dog might have pain in the area. Muscle soreness is also a possibility.

Also, you may see your dog avoiding climbing up the stairs because of the pain. Even in the case of your dog waking up from sleep, you may notice they are slow to get up.

All of these factors are associated with pain while moving around the house. They are even easy to detect as well.


While restlessness is an indicator of pain, agitation can be another as well. If you see your dog moving forwards and backward constantly, it could be a sign they can’t take the pain somewhere in their body. It could be bugs inside or maybe even externally causing the pain.

Sudden changes in position(s)

If you notice changes while petting your dog in their paws or legs, it could painful for your dog. These areas probably have the description of being swollen or a case of inflammation.

Also positions-wise for a dog, it can be in a prayer-like stance with their paws on the ground. It could be an indicator your dog is in pain as well. The pain associates with being in the position tend to be usually abdominal pain.

Pulse rate changes in the heart

If your dog is in pain, you will notice when you are by him/her, their heart is beating fast. The pulse being high can be a result of the pain he/she is facing.

More specifically, if you touch the spot where the pain is, the heart rate of your dog will go up.

To check your dog’s vital signs you can search up How to check your dog’s vital signs for more info to find out.


Because maybe the AC is blasting cold and your dog is shaking, do not assume it is the case. It could be because your dog has pain somewhere and cannot take it anymore.

Both should be taken into consideration, but it could be more serious. The following possibilities could be dangerous such as Pancreatitis, Kidney Cancer, or Poisoning.

If your dog has taken in a large amount of chocolate, macadamia nuts, or even tree walnuts, they could be shaking severely.

Recap and conclusion

To recap everything, the signs to determine your dog is in pain are the following. The first is he/she keeps distance and becomes aggressive.

The second is changes in appetite and sleeping habits. The third is he/she becoming more vocal. The fourth is their grooming habits.

Fifth is abnormalities in breathing. Sixth is trouble moving. Seventh is Restless/Agitation. Eighth is Sudden changes in position. Ninth is Pulse changes in the heart. And the tenth is Shaking/Trembling.

With these signs in mind, you should keep track of how your dog is doing. And if the pain is noticeable and gets worse, call EMS services. Remember, your dog depends on you for their safety and health.

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