Broward County Pet Owners: What Are the Signs of a Dog in Pain?

Your dog depends on you to care, including being their voice when it comes to overall health. But, as you know, dogs can be hard to read, especially when it comes to pain. There are obvious signs, such as a visible cut, limping due to an injury, or whimpering when touching a certain spot on their body.

Not all pain is that easy to diagnose those, and dogs are masters when it comes to hiding when they do not feel well or are hurt. How do you know for sure? A sudden change in your dog, could be the warning sign.

What Are the Signs of a Dog in Pain

In this article, we’ll go over the different signs of a dog being in pain for Broward County, FL pet owners. 

Signs Your Dog May Be in Pain

If dogs could only talk, then our problems would be solved. Since they cannot tell us what is wrong, and often do a good job of hiding their symptoms, it is our responsibility to really pay attention to any changes in their personality or behavior.

Signs of pain in dogs are often easy-to-miss, but may present themselves as physical, behavioral, or mobility issues. Some of the common symptoms of pain include:

Aggressive/Antisocial Behavior

Dogs in pain are likely to be more agitated, and may even cause them to snap at their owner. This could especially be true if a dog is guarding a particular spot on their body that is hurting.

Changes in Appetite

Pain will often alter how much your dog eats or drinks. Especially if the pain is related to their dental health, they may be unable to chew or swallow in the proper way. Food and water may even spill out of their mouths.


Your dog may not always be quiet, but if you notice them being more vocal than usual it could be pointing to a painful problem. When it comes during, or after, a specific activity or movement, it is easy to spot.

But as you know dogs are good at hiding their pain. More whimpering, growling, whining, or snarling could be signs that your dog is hurting.

Altered Sleeping Routines

Because it can be hard to get around when they are hurting, some dogs may sleep more. Sleep is also important for the healing process if your dog has been sick or injured.

Increased Grooming

Grooming is a way for dogs to self-soothe. One of the most common ways they will do this is licking their paws more frequently, or constantly. Of course, if your dog has been injured and is a wound, they will clean and care for it by grooming.

Panting or Heavy Breathing

Some panting is normal in dogs, as they work to cool themselves. However, heavy panting, especially if your dog has not been active, could be a sign that they are experiencing pain as they breathe.

You can also keep an eye out for changes in breathing patterns, such as faster, shallow breathing. Watch for this in the movement of the chest and abdominal muscles.

Eye Changes

When it comes to dogs, the eyes really can be a window into what they are experiencing. Depending on if your dog is experiencing pain in the eye itself or somewhere else on the body, you may notice larger or smaller pupils. Dogs in pain may also squint or paw at their eyes.


Depending on where your dog’s pain is on the body, their posture could change in a number of ways. Keeping in mind what’s normal for your dog, they may have trouble getting comfortable. Things you may notice include the shape of the back being arched or sunken, a tucked tail in a dog that normally wags, or stretching in the prayer position.

Of course, you know your dog better than anyone, so you may notice those subtle changes. Anything outside of their normal, could indicate something is wrong. Contacting your veterinarian and getting to the bottom of what is causing your dog’s pain should be next.

Common Causes of Pain in Dogs

Like humans, there are a number of reasons that dogs may feel pain. Unfortunately, they are not able to communicate their pain with us. Causes of pain can be broken down into these two main categories:

Acute Pain

This type of pain usually happens suddenly, and can be associated with sickness or injury. Acute pain can also provide a warning that there is some kind of threat to the body.

Because it is associated with certain circumstances, the severity and duration of the pain can vary from mild and lasting only a few moments or sharp and lasting for months.

Chronic Pain

If your dog has been experiencing pain beyond a few months, it could be considered chronic pain. This type of pain may be associated with conditions like arthritis. Chronic pain can take a serious toll on your dog’s body, causing issues with mobility and even energy.

Pain, however, can come in many forms. Anything that harms cells or causes inflammation can be a source of pain for your dog.

How Can I Relieve My Dog’s Pain?

Knowing your dog is in pain can be emotionally painful for you. But, what can you do to help? Depending on your dog’s symptoms, there are different ways to help alleviate their pain.

Start with your veterinarian. If you notice any symptoms of pain, you should start by seeking the expert opinion of your veterinarian. They may need to run some tests to pinpoint the problem of your dog’s pain. Once diagnosed, the vet could make one, or more, recommendations to you on your dog’s treatment, which could include:

  • Medications or Supplements
  • Alternative Medicines, like acupuncture or regenerative medicine
  • Massage
  • Physical Therapy
  • Ice and/or Heat Packs
  • Surgery

In any case, it is never a good idea to treat your dog’s pain without the guidance of a veterinary professional. Even if the source of the pain seems obvious, your veterinarian can help with diagnosing any other conditions that could be contributing to your dog’s overall health.

If you are unsure of any aspect of your dog’s health, never hesitate to contact your vet.