Our pets can’t communicate with us through words, so diagnosing pet pain can be tricky. Yet, animals feel pain just as we humans do. So, we encourage you to learn more about the signs of animal pain so that you can recognize it in your pet.
Physical injuries such as cuts, scrapes, or bumps are easily recognizable as possible sources of pain. However, not all sources of pet pain are so easily identified. For example, your pet may be in chronic pain, and not just “getting old.” That’s why it’s important that pet parents pay attention to changes in their pets’ routine or daily behavior. In order to be a strong advocate for your pet, you need to be a keen observer.
How do you tell if your pet is in pain? Here are some of the most common signs of pet pain that you should look out for:
- Changes in sociability. For example, your typically sociable pet now frequently retreats to their hiding place.
- Your independent pet suddenly begins seeking a lot more attention.
- Your pet, who is usually very well trained and hygienic, begins having frequent bathroom accidents inside the house.
- A change in appetite. For example, your pet’s ravenous appetite has diminished significantly.
- Your pet is hissing, growling or displaying other signs of aggression, which is completely out of character for them.
- Your spunky, rambunctious furry pal has lost interest in their favorite games and toys. They may even refuse to move.
- A change in posture. For example, your pet has started moving with hesitation, as if they’re trying to avoid being touched. They may also have difficulty lying down or standing up.
- Your feline’s hair is matted due to a sudden loss of interest in grooming.
- Your pup has started excessively licking himself or herself in the same spot.
- Once a free roamer across all levels of the house, your pet now avoids using the stairs.
A pet in pain will usually display a change in routine, personality, or habit. So if you notice a sudden change in your pet’s behavior, it’s time to visit your local veterinarian for a check-up. After locating the source of the pain, your vet can then prescribe the appropriate treatment. Or, your vet may determine that your pet’s behavior is unrelated to pain and may be the result of something else entirely. Be honest and share as much information as you can with your vet about what you’ve observed. This will give them valuable information to make the best recommendation for your furry companion.
If you’d like to help spread the word about animal pain, we encourage you to share resources (like this one) with your fellow pet lovers on social media. With the simple click of a share button, you may help an animal in pain.