How To Tell If Your Dog Is In Pain

Many times, it’s really hard to tell if your dog might be in pain. Unless he’s gotten into some sort of accident or sustained visible trauma, you may not realize he’s hurting. No one wants to see their dog suffer, so it’s good to know the signs of pain in your dog.

Dog’s are not like humans. Unless they are in severe pain, they don’t complain. The first thing you need to do is reflect on what is “normal” for your dog. What is his appetite usually like, his sleeping and play habits, his disposition and so forth.

Often, pain will present with an alteration in one of these, such as a reluctance to play as usual, sleeping more, or even sleeping less, a change in appetite and so forth. 

One of the things that happens with most dogs when they are in pain, is that they become irritable and are more likely to snap or bite, especially if you or another person comes close to or touches the part of his body that is hurting. 

Dogs who are experiencing pain will also breathe faster and in a more shallow pattern as well as pant. Their heart rates will also likely increase.

Dogs in pain will often assume various unusual postures to try to relieve pressure on the area. The pupils of their eyes will dilate as well.

Some dogs will be in so much pain that they can’t get into the posture they need to use for defecating or urinating. Constipation can result in some cases as they are too reluctant to go.

If you suspect your dog is in pain, don’t wait. Call your vet and make an appointment for a consultation. is a comprehensive site for information dog owners can rely on, and includes tips on health, exercise, fun facts, breed profiles and much more. To access the complete article on dogs and bones, plus the article mentioned above and more, just go to has a free active Facebook Group of dog parents which any dog owner is welcome to join at  The WoofPost’s official hashtag is #woofpost

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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