Would you know if your pooch was in pain? By evolutionary design, animals are stoic when it comes to pain and illness. No animal wants to appear weak in case a predator or rival might notice and take advantage; that would be the end. Even though our canine friends have been domesticated for many, many years, that trait has not gone away; it’s a survival mechanism.
You may have noticed this when your pet got spayed or neutered. Once the initial drugs wear off, the dog may seem completely fine. But that does not mean they are not experiencing pain. So you need to know what to look for in the subtleties your animal may be exhibiting if they’re in pain.
Below are the top five signs you should look for to identify pain:
Posture changes like a slumped or hunched back. They might appear stiff or sore, possibly even holding their head down.
Change in daily habits like decreased appetite, trouble sleeping, or problems urinating/defecating.
Activity changes such as avoiding normal jumps, like up to a couch. They might avoid stairs or running. Your pet may not want to go on a walk or play.
Mood changes like being less affectionate or withdrawn. Sometimes anxiety and irritability can also be signals.
And the development of new habits such as panting, licking a certain area repeatedly, crying/whining, or avoiding being touched.
Just remember that there is no hard and fast rule about how pain is displayed; it depends on what hurts. You know your pooch best, so you're the first line in knowing what's normal and abnormal. Better to be tuned in to such cues rather than wait until the source of pain becomes obvious. It may not ever become obvious either, or for a long time. So do your pooch a favor and help keep an eye out for any abnormal signs your dog might be hurting or sick, they’ll thank you!