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Signs Your Pet is in Pain

signs your pet is in pain
We love our pets and do everything we can to help keep them happy, healthy and thriving. But like with humans, sometimes they don’t feel their best or may experience pain from a physical injury or ailment.
Our four-legged friends can’t tell us when they’re in pain, but they often show us through their behaviors and actions. Let’s explore some of the signs your pet may be in pain along with tips for what you should do if they are.

Signs of Pain in Dogs

When dogs experience pain, they show it in different ways than humans. After all, they aren’t able to tell or show us what hurts (but it would make things easy if they could). Pet parents can often tell if their dog is in pain due to changes in their behavior or demeanor.
These are some physical signs a dog is in pain:
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Panting or increased breathing rate
  • Vocalization, such as whimpering
  • Limping
  • Reluctance to lie down or get up
  • Refusal to eat, use stairs, jump, etc.
  • Newly sensitive to touch or being adverse to affection
  • Changes in behavior or temperament
  • Irregular bowel movements or straining to urinate/defecate
It’s important to remember signs of pain and distress can vary among dogs. You know your pet best, and if they’re acting off or disinterested in things they typically love to do (like eating, playing or being pet), they might be in pain.
How your dog shows they’re hurting also depends on the kind of pain. There are two types of pain: acute and chronic. The former is something that has just happened, like an injury or illness, while the latter is something that has been occurring for a longer time, like dental disease.
Some things that may be causing your dog pain include:
  • Sprains or muscle strains
  • Damage to bones or joints
  • Dental disease
  • Stomach upset
  • Ear, skin or urinary tract infections
  • Recovering from surgery
A veterinarian can diagnose what is causing your dog discomfort and begin creating a plan of care.

Signs of Pain in Cats

Cats also show they’re in pain in different ways. These are some signs of pain in cats, they just might surprise you:
  • Limping
  • Reluctance to move
  • Lack of self-grooming
  • Difficulty jumping or walking
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Changing in temperament or mood
  • Squinting or keeping their eyes closed
  • Growling, groaning or unusual vocalizations
  • Licking a particular body region (i.e. paws, legs or tail)
  • Avoiding bright areas
  • Trouble urinating or using the bathroom outside the litter box
When cats are in pain, they often become withdrawn and stop doing the things they enjoy. While every cat has a different temperament and pain tolerance, you will likely be the first to notice changes in your cat’s behavior or habits that can be a sign they are hurting.
It’s also important to note that most cats instinctively hide their pain as a survival mechanism. That’s why they can become withdrawn and lethargic when they’re in pain or resist being petted or picked up.

Ways to Help Your Pet

If you suspect your pet is in pain, no matter if it’s from a physical injury or an illness, you should consult your veterinarian. Come prepared with the signs you have noticed since this will help your veterinarian focus on where the pain may be (though they will still perform an overall wellness check).
Remember that you are your pet’s advocate. It’s important to speak up, explain what you’ve been observing and continue to ask questions to ensure they receive the care they need. Before the veterinarian appointment, you may also want to stop or reduce any physical activity or routine with your pet. For instance, you should skip their morning run or play session and restrict strenuous activities to see if that helps to reduce their pain.
After the appointment, the veterinarian may prescribe pet pain meds or other recommendations (i.e. reduced physical activity, surgery or a specialty consultation) to help your dog or cat feel better.

Managing Chronic Pain in Pets

While acute pain can often be treated immediately or over the course of a few weeks to help your pet feel better, chronic pain requires a more long-term solution. As dogs and cats age, they’re more prone to chronic pain like arthritis, dental disease, or other illnesses that can be managed but never truly go away.
In these instances, a multimodal treatment plan can help improve your dog or cat’s quality of life. This can include a mix of pet pain meds and lifestyle changes. For example, taking shorter walks, utilizing raised food and water dishes and using ramps rather than steps can all help your pet be more comfortable. While change can be hard, these small modifications can make a big difference in your pet’s life if they’re experiencing chronic pain.

Mixlab for Pet Pain Relief

Receiving medicine for animals in pain shouldn’t be stressful. With Mixlab, you can easily order your pet pain meds online or by text (after receiving a prescription from your veterinarian) and have them delivered free to your door the next day (same day in NYC and LA).
Add info about the full range of medication with flavor guarantee.
We include a toy, personalized touches, and clear and easy instructions for how to administer the medication in every box because we know it’s a little love, in addition to quality medication, that makes our furry friends feel better. Get started with Mixlab today and see how easy it can be to receive pet meds at your door.