It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when it was widely believed that dogs (or any animal, for that matter) didn’t feel pain like humans do. Thanks to the many advances in the fields of veterinary science and animal behavior, we now know that our pets experience pain the same way we do.

Pain not only impacts your dog’s quality of life, it can actually limit his or her ability to heal effectively. We all want to provide our dogs with happy, healthy lives, therefore it’s absolutely crucial that we identify, treat, and prevent pain.

Common Causes Of Pain In Dogs

Dogs experience pain for many of the same reasons humans do. Some pain is temporary (acute) while other types of pain can be long-term (chronic). Common causes of pain in dogs include:

  • Arthritis
  • Dental problems
  • Kidney stones
  • Ear infections
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer
  • Eye problems
  • Bladder infections
  • Pain following surgery
  • Trauma

Identifying Pain In Dogs

Because animals have evolved to hide illness and pain from their peers and predators, pet owners are often unaware that their dog is in pain until the underlying condition has become advanced.

Understanding the warning signs that your dog might be in pain is key in catching and treating an illness or disease early.

Symptoms of pain in dogs include:

  • Vocalization (whining, howling, crying)
  • Limping or altered gait
  • Obsessively licking or pawing an area of the body
  • Loss of appetite
  • Growling, snapping, or other signs of aggression
  • Hiding or decreased social interaction
  • Other behavioral changes

What To Do If Your Dog Is In Pain

Sometimes pet pain can constitute a medical emergency, and other times chronic or non-emergency pain can be dealt with at a slower pace. If you believe your dog is hurting, we offer the following advice:

Call us – Whether or not the situation is urgent, your first step should be to give us a call. We can answer questions, set up appointments, or guide you over the phone in an emergency situation.

Don’t medicate your dog – It’s never a good idea to attempt to treat your dog’s pain with medications you may have in the home. Many human medications are either harmful to pets or need to be administered in different doses. NEVER give ibuprofen or Tylenol to your dog or cat as they can be lethal. Even pet medications are sometimes inappropriate depending on the circumstance and can actually interfere with further treatment.

Any sign of pain or discomfort should be investigated as soon as possible. You know your dog’s habits and normal behaviors better than anyone else, if you ever notice a symptom of pain or even just feel that your best pal is acting “off”, don’t hesitate to contact us at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital. Together we can help your dog live a happy, healthy, and pain-free life.