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How to Tell if Your Dog is in Pain

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How to Tell if Your Dog is in Pain

Posted by Michael Jones on
Updated at: February 07, 2021

How to Tell if Your Dog is in Pain | Innovet Pet

As pet owners, we want to make sure our pets stay healthy no matter what. However, sometimes we can’t fully protect them from illnesses and other problems. We can do our best to help look for signs, but our pets can’t always tell us if something is wrong. Because of this, it can be difficult to know if they are in pain. In fact, how can you tell if a dog is in pain?

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. How Can You Tell if Your Dog is in Pain?
2. How to Tell if a Dog is in Pain
3. How to Help Them
4. What to Avoid Doing
5. Others Methods to Keep Your Dog Pain-Free
6. Holistic Approaches to Help a Dog in Pain

If you suspect your dog might be in pain, or just want to know what signs that a dog is in pain to look for, you’ll want to check out this article. You’ll discover how to tell if your dog is in pain and some signs to look for. This way, your furry friend can stay healthy and perky. If you’re curious as to how to know if your dog is in pain, keep reading. You’ll find some helpful information below. 

How Can You Tell if Your Dog is in Pain? Signs My Dog is in Pain

Dogs can suffer from many health problems. While some depend on the breed of your dog, there are a few problems that affect all dogs, no matter what their breed. Below are common signs a dog is in pain.

Skin Irritations

Dogs often get skin irritations due to many reasons. It could be due to a food allergy, pests, or some other problems. Skin irritations might not look like they’d be bad, but they can be very uncomfortable for your dog. They can sting and cause your dog to scratch nonstop which could cause cuts and bacterial infections. 

Ear Infections

Ear infections are a common sign, especially with folded ears, that a dog is in pain. This is often caused due to a buildup of moisture inside the ear or scratches that have become filled with bacteria.

Head Shaking

Excessive head shaking could be a sign that your dog is having some ear problems, like ear mites.

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections can not only make it painful for your dog to use the bathroom, but could cause your dog to release blood in their stool as well.

Vomiting

Vomiting isn’t anything new with dogs, but if you find your dog is doing so excessively, there might be a problem. Increased vomiting could cause dehydration, weight loss, and tiredness.

Heartworms

While medicine is often given to dogs to help prevent this, sometimes heartworms can infect your dog regardless. They can cause major circulatory issues and swelling inside the body.

How to Tell if a Dog is in Pain

If you want to know how to tell when a dog is in pain, there are a few ways you can do so. Below are some of the most common signs that your pup is suffering. 

Whimpering

One of the best tell-tale signs that your dog is in pain is if they are whimpering. This canine form of crying can occur for many reasons. They may have hurt their paw or feel sick. Their whimpering is their way of trying to communicate with you.

Depression

Because it can be difficult for dogs to communicate with us, they may end up becoming depressed because of their pain. Signs of depression in dogs include everything from not playing or eating like they use to and instead are very lethargic.

Decreased Appetite

If your dog isn’t eating normally, it could be another sign that they aren’t feeling well. While some dogs can be a bit picky with their food, if you find that they aren’t eating the food or snacks they love, it could be a problem. This could be a sign of kidney problems, gingivitis, or tumors that might be causing your dog pain which discourages them so they don’t eat.

They are More Tired Than Usual

Dogs take numerous naps throughout the day, but if that’s all they do, it can be a problem. It could be a sign that their body is fighting off an illness or having some strange hormonal imbalance.

Excessive Licking

If you find your dog is licking their paws more than normal or biting at their fur, this might be a sign of a skin infection or even nausea in dogs. Excessive licking can eventually lead to uncomfortable and painful skin problems, like hot spots and eczema.

They Don’t Want to Walk

If your pet doesn’t want to get up at all or has trouble doing so, it could be a sign of pain in their paws or even a slipped disc. If they have a spinal injury, they won’t want to walk because it will only make the pain worse. You might also find that they have extreme muscle spasms.

How to Help Them


It can be difficult to see a suffering dog, but the good news is you can help them in various ways.

Use an Orthopedic Bed

If your dog tends to have trouble walking or suffers from arthritis, you can help them out by getting them an orthopedic bed. These beds are usually made of memory foam which can help to both support your dog’s limbs while also providing them comfort. It can even help to improve circulation problems because they are designed to elevate certain areas in the body.

Give Them Supplements

Another way to help your dog is to give them supplements. Just as with humans, supplements can help with numerous problems. You’ll find a variety of supplements you can give your dog to help them feel better and stay healthy and strong. Some of the most popular supplements for dogs are fish oil (it can help with heart health), probiotics (it can help with preventing and healing infections), and Glucosamine (used to help joint and bone health). You can find many of these supplements in a powder or pill form which you can sneak into your dog’s meals or in their favorite snack. 

Give Them Medicine

You can give your dog various types of over-the-counter medicines. However, you’ll need to be careful with this as some medicines can be deadly for dogs. For instance, sometimes aspirin can be given to dogs to help them if they have arthritis, but not always.

Benadryl is another helpful medicine to give to dogs. This antihistamine can help your pet if they suffer from severe allergies or have found themselves with bad insect bite.

Neosporin is another great pain reliever for dogs. Just as with humans, it can help to heal the stabbing pain caused by deep cuts or infections. If you do decide to rub some of this gel on your pet, make sure to watch them closely or put their head in an E-collar as licking the gel can be bad for their health and make them sick. 

As with all medicines, be careful to not overdo it. Giving your pet too much at once can be harmful to their health and could give them even more pain than they are already in. If you’re not sure whether or not a medicine is safe to give to your pet, it’s best to play it safe and contact your vet for advice. 

Massage the Area

How to Tell if Your Dog is in Pain | Innovet Pet

If your dog often suffers from joint discomfort or arthritis, it might help to relieve the pain a bit by massaging the area. You can massage them slowly and gently in the area that is affected, but watch your pet when doing so. If they look as if the massage is causing them more pain, stop.

To massage your dog, first pet the area you plan to massage. This can help you to see if your dog is comfortable with being touched in the area and can help to increase circulation there. You can then take the palms of your hands and make soft, circular motions over the painful area. When you’re done, pet the area again to help keep it relaxed.

Spend Time with Them

Sometimes a dog wants nothing more than for you to just sit by them when they’re in pain. While some dogs might want to be left alone, many often want companionship. You can sit down by your dog and gently talk to them or pet them.

Visit the Vet

If you find that nothing you do is helping your furry friend, visiting the vet should be the next step. The vet will be able to tell you what’s wrong with your dog and give you a prescription to help relieve them of the pain.

What to Avoid Doing

There are a few things you want to make sure you avoid doing so you don’t cause your dog to have even more pain.

Giving Them High Doses of Medicine

As mentioned above, over-the-counter medicine can be given to dogs. However, it needs to be done so carefully and rarely. To make sure you give your pet the right amount of medicine, or if it’s safe to use it at all with them, be sure to contact your vet.

Leaving Them Alone

While your dog might want to spend some time by themselves, never leave them completely alone. You’ll want to keep checking in on them to make sure they are ok. It can also help your dog if you talk to them so they know you’re there with them.

Taking Them with You Everywhere

When a pet is in pain, many people often want to watch over them constantly. This means they’ll bring them everywhere they go, including riding in the car. While there’s nothing wrong with taking your dog with you, think about your dog. Do they really enjoy tagging along everywhere? Is it only causing them more pain?

Ideally, if your dog is in pain, it’s best to leave them in one spot while you shop or go out. It’s especially important to not leave them in cars as it could get to be too hot for them in there.

Others Methods to Keep Your Dog Pain-Free

Check Their Food Bowl

If your dog is in pain, sometimes reaching into their food bowl can be a problem for them, especially if it’s located at a high elevation. To help them out, you can lower their food bowl so they can eat better. However, if you have a large dog, you want to check the elevation of the dish. Sometimes a low food bowl can create neck pain for them as they reach down to eat. The best way to help with this, is to make sure that the bowl is a little higher up. Otherwise, it could cause them to get severe neck and joint pain and even bloat which can be deadly in dogs.

Limit Exercise Time

While many dogs enjoy exercising, sometimes too much can be bad for them. If your dog is obviously in pain running or playing with their toys, try to limit their active time and get them to rest. This will not only help to limit the pain levels, but help to heal the area that is affected.

Holistic Approaches to Help a Dog in Pain

If you’re a little hesitant to give your dog medicine, you can try some holistic approaches. These often work just as well as medicinal ones and help provide relief to your injured dog.

Change Their Diet

Sometimes pain in dogs is caused by nothing more than the food they are eating. They might be allergic to it or be causing them to gain weight which could be adding pressure to their joints and bones. Many dog food brands add corn to their food which can cause extreme skin irritations. They also tend to have preservatives and dyes added to them which can contribute to the pain.

To help with this, you can change their diet up. You’ll want to look for certain ingredients, some of which are listed below.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is packed with benefits for your pup. It can help to prevent inflammation and even heal dry skin that could be causing both skin and ear infections.

Carrots

These vegetables are packed with vitamins and fiber which can help promote better digestion. They also contain Beta-Carotene which can make your dog’s skin moisturized and help their fur to look shiny.

Green Beans

Green beans contain protein, potassium, and omega-3 which can help to keep your dog’s bones strong. They also can help to keep your dog’s heart healthy.

Watermelon

Watermelon can surprisingly help dogs in pain quite a bit. They contain antioxidants which can help to fight off inflammation that can cause pain. However, you’ll want to go sparingly with this fruit as too much can eventually cause a problem.

Beef

Raw or cooked beef can help your dog significantly with pain. It can help to give your dog protein and iron which can keep their bones strong. This makes it ideal to give your dog if they suffer from ailments like arthritis. 

Give Your Dog Some Blueberries

Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that can help to improve your dog’s health. It can work to keep their brain healthy while also fighting off cancer. You can give your pet a few blueberries each day, but make sure it’s only a few. Otherwise, too much could end up causing them to have diarrhea.

Try Acupuncture

How to Tell if Your Dog is in Pain | Innovet Pet

At first, many might be a little skeptical of how acupuncture could help dogs, but it can. Just as with humans, acupuncture can target inflamed and painful areas to provide relief. A specialized dog acupuncturist can identify the pressure points in your dog that might be causing pain and help to relieve it with needles.

If your dog is in extreme pain, acupuncture can help to release tense muscles to provide relief. This can end up leading to better blood flow in those affected areas and can even help to remove toxins in your dog’s body which might be making them feel sick.

Try Classical Music

Surprisingly, dogs respond well to classical music. Studies have been done that show their bodies relax when they hear music. It is believed that dogs instead focus their mind on the music rather than focusing on their pain. It can help to keep them calm and relaxed which is important if you have a dog in pain.

Research Alternatives Like CBD Oil

CBD Oil for Dogs | Innovet Pet

This oil works wonders for dogs in pain. If your dog is very ill, CBD oil for dogs can help to reduce the pain and symptoms caused by their ailment. For instance, it has been shown to help stop the growth of cancer cells and reduce inflammation. If your dog also suffers from seizures, CBD oil can calm those fits down to help them relax and not feel pain. It’s considered to be one of the most powerful pain relievers which means it can help your pup feel well, and they come in delicious dog vitamin chews too!

If you’re looking for some ways to help keep your dog pain-free, you can check out these methods. It can be hard to tell if your dog is in pain, especially when they can’t verbally communicate with you about it. However, with these signs and methods, you can keep watch over your furry friend. They’ll help to not only stop the pain, but keep your dog healthy and happy.

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