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8 Ways to Know Your Dog is in Pain

If you’re a dog owner, the well-being and safety of your pet is your top priority. However, humans and dogs don’t have the same language, so it may be hard to tell when your dog is suffering from any kind of pain.

Some signs of dog pain are noticeable like visible wounds and limping. However, other signs of dog pain can be challenging to identify. That’s why you should learn how to tell if your dog is in pain so that you can get immediate dog pain relief for your pet. 

1. Look for Any Behavioral Changes

Pain may change a dog’s behavior. If dogs are in pain, they might stop running around, be aggressive, or avoid contact. Even if your dogs are typically friendly, when they’re suffering from pain they’re more likely to bite.

Dogs in pain may bite if you move or touch a painful area. The natural response, when painful areas are touched, is turning towards that area and your dog may bite out of sheer instinct. This natural protection mechanism is what dogs use to avoid further pain.

2. Check If Your Dog Has Mobility Issues

Labradoodle Hip-EEZ

Difficulty moving may be a sign of conditions like canine hip pain or arthritis. Injuries can also be an underlying cause. Make sure to keep an eye out for any signs that your dog has issues with his mobility like reluctance to climb stairs, jump, or run around.

Lack of fluidity in the movements of your dog is another sign of pain. A dog in pain tends to move around slowly and may appear lethargic and stiff. Dogs may also walk with a limp or have troubles laying down and standing. If mobility is a problem, visit the nearest vet clinic immediately.

3. Monitor How Your Dog Eats

Dogs in pain may reduce their food consumption. If your dog has a decreased appetite, it may be a sign of illness or pain. In this case, it’s crucial to take your dog to the vet immediately to rule out a serious problem.

Dogs with mouth pain may drop food when they eat. If your vet says that there’s nothing wrong with your dog, then it’s probably best to replace their food. Because of the high amount of fat in dog food, it may sometimes spoil which could be why your dog refuses to eat it.

4. Listen for Changes In the Vocals of Your Dog

Unusual vocalizations such as whimpering, groaning, moaning, growling, and yipping can be signs of pain. A dog that cries out in pain is actually trying to tell you that something’s wrong with his body. So, carefully examine or assess your dog’s body to determine where the pain is located.

Conversely, dogs that are usually vocal may be quiet when they’re in pain. That’s why it’s crucial to be familiar with your dog’s normal behavior. Changes in how frequently your dog whines, barks, or makes some vocalizations may indicate something’s wrong.

5. Pay Attention to the Potty Habits of Your Dog

If you’re aware of the normal bathroom habits of your dog, it’ll be much easier for you to recognize if there’s a problem. If your dog is in pain, you might notice that it exhibits a new posture when it defecates or urinates.

For instance, a male dog that lifts his leg to urinate suddenly might not be able to. You might also see some changes in how frequently your dog does its business. Aside from that, pain may change the consistency of the stool of your dog because of related stress. It may also result in constipation sometimes.

6. Look for Avoidance Behaviors and Assess Your Dog’s Social Interaction

Disabled dog, Albert from Lucky Dawg Rescue

When your dog is in pain, it may begin shying or hiding away from contact with people or some animals. These avoidance behaviors are efforts to avoid any potential painful situations.

For instance, if dogs move their head away once you try petting them, or make other moves to avoid touch, it may be a sign that they’re in pain. Such behaviors may go along with dogs being less interactive and more withdrawn than normal.

As your dog’s owner, you’re the one who knows your dog best, so you’ll be the first one to know if they start showing a change in the behavior like a lack of interest in the activities that they once loved.

Dogs in pain may also be lethargic, with no enthusiasm or energy to interact with anyone. They may also avoid playing, cuddling, pets, or being physically close to others. They might just sleep all the time and look for a more private area to avoid being disturbed.

Conversely, other dogs can be needy and clingy when they’re in pain and seek more reassurance from their owners. Take note that every dog is different, so keeping a close eye on your dog and being able to spot anything unusual with your dog’s social interaction is important.

7. Look For Changes In Your Dog’s Sleep Habits

Dogs in pain may feel restless or exhibit an inability to lie still and get comfortable. Pacing or repeatedly getting up and down are often a sign of pain.

When a dog is in pain, their sleep patterns may also be affected. They might sleep more than they usually do or they may experience difficulty sleeping. It all depends on your dog’s typical behavior and routine, so remember to take note of your dog’s typical behaviors.

8. Check For Any Changes In Dog’s Posture And Body

Swelling of the legs, paws, and face can be a sign of pain that might be due to inflammation, cancer, or infection. When dogs are in pain or suffering from injuries, some of them assume a hunched and rigid stance while others will assume the ‘downward dog’ position with their bottom in the air and front legs on the ground. Oftentimes, dogs that take this position suffering from abnormal pain because they are still able to stretch out.


It’s important to know if your dog is in pain. Whether it’s minor or something serious, it’s best to determine it as soon as possible so it can be treated immediately. Once you’ve noticed some signs that your dog is in pain, never hesitate to get professional assistance from your dog’s vet to get proper treatment.

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