When a dog is in pain, it's important to know how to help your dog. It's not always easy to tell if your dog is feeling pain. Sometimes, you may notice behavioral changes, such as a reluctance to move or play, lack of appetite, or panting.
But pain can also be hidden behind a happy face, because dogs are masters at hiding their suffering. What's more: dogs don't show their pain in the same way we do. While our faces display emotions like sadness or anger, dogs express their feelings by changing their body language, especially their tails and ears.
In this quiz, we'll help you recognize what your dog is trying to tell you about her pain level, so you can better understand their symptoms and take appropriate action.
How Do I Know If My Dog Is In Pain?
Before we dive into the quiz, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you noticed any shaking, trembling, or nervousness?
- Is your dog limping or favoring a leg?
- Are they reluctant to stand?
- Is their tail tucked between their legs?
- Have you noticed any whimpering or whining?
- Has your dog been avoiding their normal activities such as running, playing, or walking?
- Have they had trouble sleeping?
- Do they seem depressed?
- Have they been pacing around restlessly or experienced trouble falling asleep?
- Is your dog using the bathroom in the house?
- Do they seem more anxious than normal?
- Have they been excessively licking their paws?
- Is your dog barking more than normal?
- Are they having a difficult time jumping into the car?
- Is your dog panting or breathing abnormally?
If you answered yes to one or more questions, your dog could be in pain. If you believe your dog may be in pain, visit the veterinarian to determine the cause.
Is My Dog In Pain? The Quiz
Now that you have learned some of the common signs, let’s check your knowledge!
1) Which of the following indicates your dog is in pain?
a. Eating on schedule
b. Not eating enough
c. Eating too much
d. None of the above
The correct answer is B. Dogs who are in pain may experience a lack of appetite.
2) What body language signal could give you a sense that your dog is in pain?
e. Erect, forward ears
f. Pointed tail
g. Tail tucked between the legs
h. Wagging tail
If you guessed C, you’re right. A dog in pain will, eventually, show it in their body language. Additional body language signs include flattened ears (against the head), squinted or closed eyes, and panting.
3) What is false about the movement of a dog in pain?
i. A dog in pain is more likely to run.
j. A dog in pain may lie down more frequently.
k. They may have a hard time jumping into your car.
l. They may not be able to walk up the stairs.
A is the only false answer. A dog in pain may want to restrict their movement and lie down more often than normal. They may also experience difficulties jumping, running, or even walking.
4) True/false: Dogs with arthritic pain may struggle to get up after taking a nap.
This answer is true. Dogs with any pain, especially arthritic pain, may struggle to get out of bed. This is particularly true if they have been sleeping in the same position for a long period of time.
5) Which of the following could be helpful to dogs in pain?
m. Eggshell membrane
n. Hemp powder
p. All of the above
The answer to this one is D. Eggshell membrane aids in the repair of connective tissue, while hemp powder and curcumin reduce inflammation to reduce pain. You can choose to supplement these in your dog’s diet or search for a product, like Canine Cush, that contains them all in one easy soft chew.
Causes of Pain in Dogs
Pain is one of the most common reasons why people bring their pets to the vet. While it is easy to understand that our pets can feel pain, it is not always easy to identify what is causing it. There are many possible causes of pain in dogs, including the following:
- Injury or trauma. Dogs get hurt and bruised just like people do, and this can cause them to experience pain. A simple fall can cause a dog to hurt his leg, while a more serious injury like a broken bone will obviously cause much more pain.
- Arthritis. If your dog is older than 6 years old, he may have arthritis in his joints. This is a degenerative disease that causes inflammation and stiffness in the joints, which can make it difficult for your dog to move around comfortably.
- Neurological conditions. Conditions like spinal cord disease, brain tumors and seizures can all cause neurological problems in dogs that lead to pain as well as other symptoms like loss of balance or coordination, weakness or muscle spasms.
- Heart disease. Heart disease is very common in dogs, especially if they are overweight or have diabetes. It can result in chest pain when the heart does not pump blood effectively through the body due to blockages in the arteries leading from the heart to the rest of the body (atherosclerosis). This can also result in shortness of breath if there are blockages in other parts of the circulatory system.
- Dental Problems. Dogs' teeth are very important for chewing their food properly and keeping their mouths clean. If there are problems with your dog's teeth then this could cause pain when eating certain foods or when chewing on hard objects such as bones or toys.
- Infectious Disease. Infectious diseases are one of the most common causes of pain in dogs. Some infectious diseases cause acute pain and others cause chronic pain. An example of an acute infectious disease is distemper, which causes fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Distemper also causes severe neurological signs such as seizures and paralysis. Chronic infections such as Lyme disease may also cause chronic pain, but usually only after several weeks or months have passed since infection occurred (or vaccination against Lyme disease).
Consult a Vet
If you suspect your dog is in pain, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. If you’re looking for a natural route, consulting with a holistic veterinarian is a good idea.
If you haven’t noticed any signs of pain in your dog, it’s important to remain observant to catch pain as early as possible. Not only could it be indicative of an underlying illness, but remaining observant will allow you to prevent your dog from experiencing chronic pain in the long-term.