Chances are, you know your dog’s mannerisms and behaviors pretty darn well, and you can tell when they’re excited, hungry, scared, and the like. But signs your dog is in pain can be less obvious, especially if it’s a new symptom and they’re exhibiting a behavior that you’re not used to seeing.
If your pup is showing one or more of the signs below, it’s best to call your vet for a check-up. Whether the issue is minor or major, your loyal companion doesn’t deserve to live in pain any longer than he or she has to. You know your dog best, and if something seems “off,” it’s better to be safe than sorry!
1. Excessive Grooming
Dogs naturally groom their fur, paws, and some personal areas, but if they seem to be doing it constantly or obsessively, it could be a easily be one of the signs your dog is in pain. It can also indicate itchy and uncomfortable skin allergies, especially if it’s around the feet, and dogs can even lick or chew themselves raw.
However, this can be a sign of internal pain, too. Katie Finley, a writer and dog trainer, explains:
“Pets will often groom places that are sources of pain in hopes to clean and care for the wound, even if there is no open wound present. Be sure to keep an eye on the area and inspect it gently.”
2. Poor Coat Quality
On the other end of the spectrum, dogs who aren’t feeling well may stop grooming themselves as thoroughly as they used to. This is because something is causing them discomfort, and it’s possible that they can’t reach certain without feeling pain.
3. Heavy or Shallow Panting
Our pups pant for multiple reasons, like to cool down when it’s hot out or after exercise, or even when they’re stressed. But if your pooch starts panting heavily for seemingly no reason, it could be one of the signs your dog is in pain. Likewise, if his panting becomes shallow — as if it’s difficult or hurts to breathe — this symptom should not be ignored. Check out How To Tell If Your Dog’s Panting Isn’t Normal for more information.
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