Dogs can’t communicate like humans can, so it can be difficult to know when your furry friend is in pain. If they do let us know that they’re hurting, it can be just as much of a challenge to find out where and why they are hurting. Sometimes it’s obvious: limping, a large cut, or observed trauma, but most of the time, it’s guesswork. So is your dog in pain?
Signs To Watch Out For That Indicate Pain
Some dogs have a higher pain tolerance or are too stubborn to show they’re in pain. We all know that one person who keeps playing sports with a broken bone, and your dog can act the same way! Dogs are resilient friends who can be quite good at hiding their pain from us and living with it. But as owners, we all want our furry friends to be comfortable.
There are telltale signs that something is wrong with your dog, such as lethargy or loss of appetite, but these symptoms can be associated with so many other ailments that it’s impossible to tell from just those.
Here are some signs that could indicate your dog is in pain.
Biting or Snapping At You
If your dog doesn’t have a mean bone in its body and is suddenly snapping at you as you go to pet them, something is clearly wrong. Dogs in pain are likely to bite, as they are frustrated and don’t know how to tell you to not touch them. If you touch the area that is causing distress, they are likely to lash out in warning.
They don’t mean to hurt you, though! This is them telling you to stop touching them there. Some dogs will snap at the air if they notice you trying to pet the hurting area too.
If you notice your dog guarding a certain area on their body, do not try to touch it. Instead, observe how your dog behaves. If they are protecting a leg, it’s possible they injured their cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), which is the equivalent of an ACL in humans. It is also possible they pulled a muscle, hurt their paw, broke a nail, or have something stuck between their toes.
Depending on your dog’s behavior and how much they are guarding the area, you may be able to inspect the damage to see if it’s something more than a foreign object or topical injury.
Changes in Breathing, Heart Rate and Pulse
If your dog is in pain, it is likely that their heart rate, pulse, and/or breathing will change. It’s like if you stubbed your toe. You likely suck in air and hold your breath for a moment as you experience the pain associated with it. Your dog’s reaction will be similar.
If the pain continues, then their breathing may seem labored, quicker, or shallower than normal. When it comes to their heart rate or pulse, both will speed up if you touch the injured area.
If your dog typically flop out on the ground when it’s ready for bed, but is now rigid and tense as it lays down, it might be a sign that it’s in distress. Some dogs prefer to stiffen up and not move as much when they’re in pain.
Others get antsy. If you notice your dog stretching with both its front legs on the ground and its back in the area, it might be a sign of pain. This stretch can be used as a stretch or to indicate that your dog wants to play. However, if your dog is doing this frequently as is not in the mood to chase a ball or play tug-of-war, it might be time for a vet visit.
If your dog is protective of their leg, or if your dog is a breed that is prone to leg injuries, consider using a dog leg brace to help support them and prevent future injuries.
This is a big one. When you’re sick or in pain, you’re less likely to be social. Your dog will exhibit the same behavior. They may stop running to greet you when you get home, avoid contact, or become aggressive with you as you treat them like you normally would.
Any noticeable change of behavior in your dog should be a cause for concern. If you notice anything unusual, contact your vet immediately.
How Can I Help My Dog?
If you believe your dog is in pain, observe their behaviors and limit their movement for a couple of days. If the pain lasts, take them to the vet. They will be able to diagnose the problem and offer solutions.
Some problems, such as swelling, can be helped by applying an ice pack for 15 minutes, twice a day. Others require doggy painkillers or braces.
The only way to ensure your dog’s health for the long term is think of preventative care. Many dogs suffer from leg injuries over their lifetime, which can cause them tremendous pain and even the loss of a limb.
Certain breeds, such as Bichon Frise, Labradors, Newfoundlands, Rottweilers and Retrievers are more prone for issues such as hip dysplasia and torn CCLs. Thankfully, there are ways you can help support and strengthen those muscles while reducing their movements.
Doggy Brace is an alternative to surgery and a preventative measure for common leg and hip ailments that cause your dog pain. Braces come in all sizes for dogs of any breed and are easy to assemble and put on. If you’re interested in braces, check out all the ways they can help your dog. Whether it’s recovery, preventative care, or an alternative to surgery, Doggy Brace has you covered. Be sure to check them out today.