Dogs can be in pain for a variety of reasons, be it injury or illness. While sudden injuries are likely to get our attention right away, little tweaks might go unnoticed for months. Some symptoms are easily identified, such as difficulty moving, lameness, or refusing to jump or go up and down stairs. But dogs are very stoic animals and hide their pain very well, so it’s important that we learn to recognize even the most subtle signs of pain.
#1 – Poor Coat Quality
Dogs don’t groom themselves as much as cats do, but they still try to keep themselves relatively clean. If you notice your dog’s coat is getting duller and greasier, it might be because they aren’t grooming themselves as they should be. This could certainly be a sign of pain, as it can be uncomfortable for your dog to bend and reach areas they normally would.
#2 – Unwarranted Aggression & Avoidance
Sudden aggression can be caused by a variety of issues, but pain is definitely one of them. If you notice your dog is shying away from affection and being picked up, it might be because they’re experiencing discomfort from touch. Dogs generally all love a good petting, but if your dog suddenly becomes aggressive when being touched, the chance of pain being the cause is very high.
#3 – Shallow Breathing
General discomfort leads to shallow breathing and even heavy panting. Just like you, being in pain certainly makes it harder to do anything else, even breathing normally. If you see your dog breathing funny or panting heavily when they’ve had no activity and it’s not hot out, you might want to have them checked by a veterinarian to rule out pain as a cause.
#4 – Licking Specific Areas
While your dog might stop grooming their entire body as a whole, they might focus on one specific area. Dogs will very often constantly lick the site of the pain, wherever it may be. So if you see your dog obsessively licking one part of their body, be sure to make sure that pain and discomfort isn’t the underlying cause.
#5 – Inability to Get Comfortable
It’s normal for dogs to spin around and dig in their beds to get more comfortable when going to sleep, but if you notice your dog is starting to do this incessantly and without results, it might be because they’re in pain. Just like you’re much less comfortable resting in your bed if your body hurts, your dog will be uncomfortable in their bed.
#6 – Constipation
Back and hip pain can lead to constipation in dogs because it can be very uncomfortable to get in the proper squatting position. If you notice your dog suddenly seems constipated or cries out when going to the bathroom, there’s a good chance that they’re in pain. Definitely make an appointment with your veterinarian to help your dog find comfort again.