How To Spot Signs of Pain in Your Pet
Pets are masters at hiding any vulnerabilities, so it can be tough to tell when they are in pain. September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, so do your pet a favor and learn the following common signs of pain to get them help when they need it.
#1: Your pet is slowing down or acting lethargic
Pets commonly “slow down” as they age, and many pet owners chalk it up to normal aging changes. However, slowing down, exercising less, and appearing lethargic can be signs of pain. Older pets who slow down typically are affected by osteoarthritis and show their pain through decreased activity.
#2: Your pet is avoiding interaction
If a pet is in pain, they won’t want to spend much time with their family. Cats, in particular, will hide, while a dog may lie in their bed and refuse to be touched or participate in playtime.
#3: Your pet’s mood or behavior has changed
Pain can make pets irritable and grumpy, especially if they are touched on sensitive areas, like hips, legs, and the lower back. If your pet growls, hisses, or snaps at you when you pet them, they may be in pain.
#4: Your pet is not eating as much
While some pets will eat no matter how much pain they feel—think your stereotypical Labrador—others will turn up their noses at their normal meal. They may be tempted by home-cooked meals or canned food, but their appetite will continue to decrease until their pain is managed.
#5: Your pet’s respiratory rate has increased
A pet will often breathe faster when they are uncomfortable. They may pant heavily, even while at rest, or they may take short, shallow breaths. Any change in your pet’s breathing is cause for a veterinary exam.
Signs of pain in pets can be vague and subtle, making them difficult to detect. If you think your pet is in pain, don’t delay. Contact your regular veterinarian to schedule an appointment for a diagnosis and treatment.