Your dog has complete faith in you. Even so, they may instinctively conceal their suffering from you. It isn’t because of a lack of trust, either! If your dog is hiding their pain, it’s not because they don’t want you to help them. Instead, they hide their pain because their hunter-predator instincts, developed over evolutionary hard-wiring that goes back thousands of years, are still present!
Over time, dogs have learned to conceal symptoms of weakness or vulnerability to increase their chances of survival. Many species tend on the whole to conceal outward signs of pain for a number of reasons, but it’s mostly because of their evolution – dogs who showed visible indicators of discomfort were at greater risk of being attacked by a predator. For many species, it’s advantageous to hide away obvious signs of suffering. However, armed with the tips below, you’ll likely be able to get an idea of whether your dog is in pain. Don’t forget to read part two for more!
Loss of Appetite
A decrease in appetite may not mean your dog needs to go on a diet. It could be indicative of an underlying medical condition, or it may be evidence that your dog is feeling pain. Usually, owners realize when their dogs aren’t eating as much as they usually do because they normally have bottomless appetites. If your pup has lost interest in food, it’s important to take them to the vet right away as this symptom can point to a number of different health problems.
If your pup has never missed a meal, there is reason to be concerned about her turning up her nose to food and treats. If your dog’s only symptom is skipping a meal or two, make sure her food smells fresh before you panic. Try giving her tasty, nutritious food you know she loves, such as cooled home-cooked chicken without seasoning. However, if her appetite remains erratic and abnormal for more than a day or two after this change in diet, call your furry friend’s veterinarian and get some more information.
It’s common for dogs to pant heavily during and after activity. However, excessive panting following exercise (or just during daily life) might sometimes indicate medical issues such as pain, heatstroke, or poisoning. It’s also a pain symptom to look out for. Panting is a subtle, often overlooked indicator of discomfort. Some dogs in pain pant more frequently than usual but still eat, drink, and appear normal.
If your dog is panting more than usual and the temperature hasn’t dropped, this might be a warning sign. Consult your vet right away as it could also be a subtle sign of cancer or pancreatitis.
Crying and Whining
When your dog is experiencing pain, they may whimper or cry. Your comforting presence may lead them to stop vocalizing their discomfort, but this does not mean that the pain has subsided. Over time, you’ll become attuned to your dog’s sounds and know when they are in having an emotional reaction, versus experiencing physical pain. Whimpering or increased crying (which can be sporadic, constant, or only occur when touched) usually points to some underlying pain issue.
Vocalization can be deceiving – some people believe that a quiet pet is not in pain. Because your dog isn’t whimpering, it doesn’t necessarily imply he or she isn’t hurting. If your dog has recently had surgery and is crying out, make sure you’re giving him the correct amount of pain medication. If there’s no apparent reason for him to be whining, it’s important to get your pet expert care. It’s critical for pet owners to be aware of their pets’ behavior and routines and to react when something appears abnormal. There are several reasons why dogs can feel pain, some of which can be quite severe.
After you determine how to tell if a dog is in pain, speak with your veterinarian or pet chiropractor as soon as possible. They will help you evaluate your pet’s level of pain and find ways to relieve it. If you catch signs of potential pain or illness early on and address them with your vet, the better chances you have at returning your pet back to good health. Observe your pet as frequently as possible to get to know their unique behaviors, preferences, and habits – this insight will go a long way toward keeping them in the best health possible.
Interested in Pet Chiropractic?
Your pup may not be in pain due to an acute injury or disease – sometimes, they may have a misalignment! Believe it or not, just like humans, pets can experience distress in their neuromusculoskeletal system: that’s their nerves, muscles, and bones. Jumping off a bed too aggressively (or onto furniture), falling, over-exercise, or simple congenital predispositions can make them misaligned, causing mild pain and discomfort. At Tails Chiro Care, we serve the Boulder, Fort Collins, Windsor, and Broomfield areas of Colorado to ensure that our furry friends are limber, comfortable in their bodies, and feeling their best. Book your appointment now to see what we can do for your puppy pal!