Is Your Pet in Pain?

Cats and Dogs

Recognise when your cat or dog is in pain with this helpful guide:

Vocalisation. Whining or yelping when a dog is chewing something is a sure sign that the dog needs dental work. If they yelp as you touch them in a certain area, make a note of it and see if this happens again. If it does, get a vet to check them.

Excessive Self-Grooming. Dogs will try to lick clean injured areas in the hope that it will heal. Pay attention to where they are grooming themselves to see if it is a recurring behaviour. Bald or sparse patches of fur are also an indicator of excessive grooming. Conversely, animals with difficulty in moving their limbs may also refrain from grooming.

Heavy Panting. If your dog is panting, but has not recently been exercising and it is not a hot day, this could be a sign of stress.

Trembling and Hunching. Although trembling can be a sign of excitement, it is also associated with fear and cold, both of which should not be ignored, while hunching could be a clue to abdominal pain. Check the tips of the ears

Lack of Appetite. Look for stomach issues, bacteria and viruses, because just like humans, if dogs are feeling sick, they will not eat. Also look for joint issues as sometimes it may simply be that it is too painful to move to the bowl.

Aggressive, Shy or Depressed Behaviour. Usually a change in behaviour such as this signals that an animal feels uncomfortable. Perhaps the pet will not allow you to touch them in certain areas or shies away from any physical contact. If the pet quickly reacts to a touch and withdraws, try to ascertain whether this behaviour happens consistently. Get a vet to check them over. Cats will often hide for a long time under a bed or somewhere you can’t reach to avoid being touched.

Changes in Behaviour. If you notice that your dog no longer wants to jump, to walk up stairs, or to run very far, they may be in pain. Look out for stiffness in the joints as the pet sits or lies down. Many dogs with joint pain will lie flat on their side instead of curling up. Animals that are usually sociable may choose to be alone, whereas animals that are often alone may seek attention and affection.

Changes in toilet habits. Some dogs may not be quick enough to get to the garden in time thanks to joint pain, while animals with leg injuries will change the way that they defecate to ease pressure on the painful area.

Expression. Cats in pain may have slitted eyes or dilated pupils. Dogs show tension in their faces when they are distressed, particularly in their mouths. Some dogs who have dental issues may keep their mouths shut tightly while walking, for example.

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