Is My Dog Suffering?

As a dog owner, the well being of your dog is your number one priority. But dogs don’t communicate the same way humans do, so it is much more difficult to tell if your dog is in pain.

Sometimes our dogs suffer in silence because they have grown to hide signs of discomfort and pain.

However, some pain signs in our dogs are more understandable than others. Here are some signs that your dog is in pain

Your dog becomes aggressive when you go close to him

Your dog may depict antisocial and aggressive behavior when they are in pain. They always try to avoid any form of physical contact and still resent normal handling.

If you touch them, they may even become aggressive. Some dogs tend to hide away when in pain or seem oddly antisocial.

All these are indications that your dog might be in pain. Take any behavioral changes very seriously as they can be a cause for concern.

Excessive licking and grooming

When your dog is repeatedly licking their paws or any other part of their body, they are most likely trying to soothe the pain in that area.

When dogs are hurt their first predisposition is to care and clean for the wounded or injured part. They will start excessively licking it. Cuts and wounds are more evident to sight, while internal injuries are nor very obvious.

Difficulty in movements

When in pain, your dog will show reluctance to climbing stairs or moving in general. They will also start limping and become stiff.

They will not be interested in being active on their feet or exercising like normal. The pain, however, might be a result of sensitive pores, injuries, or even arthritis.

They appear restless and agitated

When you notice your dog is pacing back and forth repeatedly and restlessly, this might be a sign that there is some underlying pain.

They may also show symptoms like difficulty in getting comfortable or staying in one place and lack of sleep.

Panting and changed breathing

Panting in dogs is very reasonable, especially when they have been exercising. But if you notice that your dog is panting and breathing heavily even without any exercises involved take this as a warning sign.

The breathing may also get shallower, especially if it hurts to take a deeper breath. This is an indication that you need to run to your vet.

Your dog has changed his usual routine

You might notice that his sleeping, eating, and drinking habits have changed drastically. Some dogs that are suffering, often sleep more, especially when moving brings in more pain.

They may also be trying to heal on their own. Some dogs that are suffering from dental pain may have difficulty in chewing; therefore, they avoid eating hard foods.

Appetite loss and drinking less amount of water is also some noticeable signs of distress.

Body posture changes

Some dogs adopt a hunched posture while others embrace the ‘prayer’ position like they are kneeling with their front limbs on the ground.

Swelling of their paws and legs can be caused by infections, inflammations, or even cancer. Sometimes dogs also take the prayer posture when they are having stomach pain.


Dogs shake and tremble due to pain, but sometimes we assume that they are feeling cold, especially if the weather is cold outside.

We also think that our dog might be getting old. Shaking and trembling can be a sign of pain in dogs or a symptom of a serious ailment such as pancreatitis or poisoning.

Dogs suffer serious muscle trembles when they eat large amounts of old compost, chocolate, and sugar-free sweetener xylitol.


Dogs can bite when you try to touch an area that is causing them pain. This is their way of guarding the hurt area. They will snap at you when the thing you are moving in to touch them.

Abnormal eyes

Check out your dog’s eyes for signs of redness, cloudy discharge, or narrowing their eyes. You might also notice that your dog is rubbing their eyes. Also, check out for dilated pupils as it can also be a sign of pain.

Signs that your dog has a stomach-ache

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Too much drooling
  • Signs of discomfort

What to do when your dog is in pain

When you suspect that your dog is in great pain, your main aim is to determine if the dog is in pain. Do not try to locate the pain as this might make it worse; take him to the vet they are better trained to diagnose distress in dogs without causing them more pain.

Never try to give your dog medicine at home. Always take him to the vet. Human medication can be fatal and dangerous for your dog.

If you are not sure that your dog is in pain, but they are showing signs of illness take them to the vet

Once you find out that your dog is in pain, there are several things you can do to help him recuperate.

  1. Always limit his exercises and movements to help him heal.
  2. Locate a low-traffic area in your house and move his bed there so that he can rest without being disturbed.
  3. Ensure you provide your dog with a comfortable bed to support his whole body.

Common issues that cause dogs pain

There are many reasons why your dog might be in pain. Some of the reasons might be simple and manageable like injuries, while others are complex and more serious like arthritis and cancer.

It is essential to go see your vet if you notice any signs of pain in your dog. Always ensure to follow your instincts if you suspect they are in pain, but you are not quite sure.

Do not be tempted to give him over the counter medication and never administer any pain medication to your dog without consulting your vet.

Below are some of the causes of dog pain

  1. Bone cancer
  2. Gum and teeth infections
  3. Sliding kneecaps
  4. Arthritis
  5. Pancreatitis
  6. Gastritis
  7. Kidney stones

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