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8 Subtle Signs Your Pet Is in Pain

Your animal companion experiences pain for many of the same reasons you do. These include infections, dental issues, sprains and strains, broken bones, arthritis, postsurgical pain, back problems, and other illnesses or injuries. Unfortunately, pets cannot tell their human companions when and where they hurt. 

Recognizing and assessing animal pain can be challenging, even for veterinarians. After all, your pet cannot grade pain on a scale of one to 10. However, pets can communicate their pain or discomfort in subtle ways. If you notice any of the following signs of distress, do not ignore them. Schedule an appointment with a veterinary professional at Port Isabel Animal Clinic as soon as possible.

1. More or Less Vocal

One of the signs to watch out for is your pet becoming more vocal. An increase in random noises, such as whining or barking, could be your pet trying to let you know something is wrong. Equally, if your usually vocal pet suddenly turns quiet, he or she could be hurting.


2. Slowing Down

A pet in pain may appear tired and reluctant to jump on or off furniture, use stairs, run, or even walk. If you notice your ordinarily active pet suddenly exhibiting a gradual decline in activity, ask your veterinarian for a pain assessment. Emergency care is necessary if the changes in ability or activity level are sudden. 


3. Behavior Changes 

Pets stop acting like themselves when they are in pain. Some may tremble or shake, while others hide or withdraw for extended periods. If you notice such changes in your animal friend, evaluation by a veterinary professional is the best way to go. Veterinarians recommend emergency evaluation for pets that suddenly become aggressive or excessively vocal when handled. 


4. Over-grooming

Both dogs and cats may chew or excessively lick a painful area of the body. A veterinarian should identify and treat the underlying issue as soon as possible. Early intervention will help prevent complications secondary to excessive chewing and licking. These complications include self-induced hair loss, skin infections, and skin trauma. 


5. Loss of Training

Some well-trained pets may start having accidents inside the house when in pain. They may find it challenging to posture appropriately for the toilet or struggle to rise and go outside. If you notice these occurrences, discuss them in detail with your veterinarian.


6. Excessive Panting

Excessive panting when your furry friend is not exercising may be a symptom of pain or discomfort. It is a cause of concern if it happens for no apparent reason and repeatedly. 


7. Altered Body Movements or Positions

Watch out for altered facial expressions like a glazed or vacant stare, grimaces, flattened ears, and enlarged pupils. These may indicate pain or discomfort. Other signs of pain include limping and staying hunched with hindquarters raised. 


8. Decreased Appetite

Animals often eat less when they are experiencing pain. Your typically hearty eater may suddenly become a picky eater. Early intervention is the best way to protect your pet from dehydration and other health complications. If you notice a decreased appetite in your furry friend for more than 24 hours, consult your veterinarian. Veterinary professionals recommend emergency care for pets who refuse food for more than one day. 



Most pets are very skilled at masking pain. So, you should consult your veterinarian or a local animal clinic if you notice any of the signs discussed above. If you are uncertain whether your pet is in pain, you should call your veterinarian to determine the next steps. Monitor your animal companion closely and record any strange behaviors and signs. Seek immediate care if the situation seems to be worsening.  

For more pet care tips, visit Port Isabel Animal Clinic at our office in Port Isabel, Texas. Call (956) 943-6022 to schedule an appointment today.

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