How a Dog Shows Pain & Discomfort

by Christina Stephens
    Abnormal lethargy can be a sign of discomfort.

    Abnormal lethargy can be a sign of discomfort.

    Janie Airey/Lifesize/Getty Images

    If your typical happy-go-lucky cuddle buddy suddenly starts hiding and shunning your affection, he's likely not sullen. He could be in pain. It'd be easier if he could verbalize his pain in English, but alas, he's relegated to grunts and groans. Look for changes in behavior that indicate something is amiss.

    Behavioral Indicators

    You’ll need to remain cognizant of subtle changes in your dog’s behavior such as increased vocalization that can indicate discomfort. Abnormal whining, howling, whimpering, yelping, groaning and grunting should peak any owner’s interest. Changes in activity level, such as your consummate running partner preferring long naps on the couch, or decreased appetite, can reflect discomfort. It’s also important to watch his facial expressions and body language. Grimacing, enlarged pupils, flattened ears, hunched posture or licking, biting and scratching at a particular area may indicate he is in pain.

    Action Required

    Do not attempt to remedy your dog’s pain on your own. Take him to the vet if he shows signs of pain or discomfort. Your vet can accurately diagnosis the source of his suffering and prescribe appropriate treatment; never administer medication without veterinary instruction.

    Photo Credits

    • Janie Airey/Lifesize/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Christina Stephens is a writer from Portland, Ore. whose main areas of focus are pets and animals, travel and literature. A veterinary assistant, she taught English in South Korea and holds a BA in English with cum laude honors from Portland State University.

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