Question of the Week: How do I know when my animal is in pain?

english bulldog with  hot water bottleAs humans, we have the benefit of speech to communicate when we are in pain. Of course, our pets don’t have that ability. Despite this, there are a number of ways you can tell if your animal is uncomfortable or suffering.

The signs to look for are similar in both dogs and cats. Here are some of the common ones:

  • Refusing to leave bed
  • Licking/over grooming in one area
  • Isolating or hiding
  • Reluctance to play
  • Refusing to be held or picked up
  • Restlessness
  • Unprovoked howling, yowling, yelping, whimpering
  • Hunching over
  • Panting
  • Flattened ears

One or more of these symptoms can be an expression of pain. Some breeds of cats or dogs tend to have a higher thresholds of pain and will be less likely to exhibit the signs listed above. Do not rely solely on the symptoms we mentioned. If you are recognizing behavior that is not typical for your pet, please call your veterinary office.