8 Signs to Help You Identify Your Dog Is in Pain

8 Signs to Help You Identify Your Dog Is in Pain

In this article, we cover the major signs that can help you easily detect when your dog is feeling under the weather or in pain.

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As a dog parent, the safety and well-being of your pet is of utmost importance. But since animals and humans do not share the same language, it’s not always easy to tell when your dog is ill or hurting. Some visible signs such as limping or open wounds can instantly indicate that your dog is in pain, but unfortunately, not all signs are as easy to perceive. To help you out, we cover the top major signs that can help you easily detect when your dog is feeling under the weather or in pain.

1. Constantly Brushing Itself

It’s quite normal for dogs to groom themselves, but if they do it excessively, chances are they are in deep pain. Pay close attention to your dog, and if it starts to lick (and keep licking) one specific area, it clearly means the dog is suffering from internal pain.

If you often spot that your dog is obsessed with a particular part of its body, do not hesitate to take your pet to the vet immediately.

2. Less Active than Usual

Behavioral changes are common among dogs when they are suffering from pain – internal or external. If your otherwise super active and energetic pet has become slow and lethargic, you should not take this matter lightly and definitely not when your pet acts weary and sluggish all the time. Weakness and lethargy in dogs can be an indication of a chronic condition or a life-threatening disease. It’s also likely that your dog has eaten something that’s causing them discomfort, due to which they are not feeling their usual self.

3. Decreased Appetite

Loss of appetite is another common sign that shows your dog is going through something serious. When dogs are suffering from internal pain, they often face difficulty gulping down the food. They could be suffering from dental pain because of which they may not feel like putting the food in their mouth. It could also be possible that your dog is suffering from liver or kidney disease. So, if your dog keeps refusing to eat or eat only half-heartedly, don’t waste time and take your pet to a local vet right away.

4. Aggressive Behavior

If your good-natured dog has suddenly become fussy and hostile, it means your pet is in pain. In such a scenario, examine your dog for its injuries carefully. Some dogs also snap at their owners because they feel threatened in some sort of way, so try finding out why your dog is acting so violent.

5. Moving with Great Difficulty

If your dog is facing difficulty in its movement, it can be a sign of conditions such as arthritis or hip or joint pain. A physical injury can also be the underlying cause. Watch out for signs of mobility issues that your dog may be displaying, such as unable to climb the stairs, reluctance to run outside or jump in a particular area.

Because of the immobility issues, your dog may also appear less active than usual. Since your pet can’t move, it will likely be found perched in one corner of your house.

6. Not Wanting to be Touched, Cuddled, or Petted in Any Way

If your pet responds negatively to your touch, it’s their way of saying “ouch.” Since dogs can’t express their pain like humans, they show it through their manners and conduct.

However, note that some dogs generally don’t like being touched. If that’s the case with your dog, then don’t worry about your pet’s health or well-being. However, if you see it showing other behavioral changes as discussed above, you should consider taking your dog to a vet.

7. Excessive Vocalization

The most apparent signs to help you identify your dog is in pain is when it moans, whines, or barks a lot. Hearing issues, cognitive dysfunction syndromes, central nervous system disorders are some of the medical conditions that can lead to your pet’s excessive vocalization.

To manage the pain, your dog may seem restless, or it may overeat or oversleep. You will also notice that your dog howls or screams at inappropriate times of the day and night.

8. Shivering and Trembling

If your furry companion shivers a lot, it may mean it’s suffering from stress and anxiety. In such a case, your dog may show a host of other symptoms, including excessive pacing, barking, panting, licking, hiding, and the likes.

Besides that, trembling may also mean your dog is suffering from a certain injury, kidney disease, or have had food poisoning. When experiencing any of these health issues, your dog may also showcase other symptoms such as limping, vomiting, or diarrhea. Make a note of these health issues and head over to your vet straight away.


If you spot any or most of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms in your dog, don’t panic. There are much better ways to handle the situation and help your dog, starting with taking your dog to a trustworthy vet. Schedule an appointment with a professional vet to identify what the underlying problem is. Your vet will conduct some diagnostic tests, including blood tests, x-rays, ultrasound, etc., to determine the issue. Your vet will then either prescribe meds that need to be given to your dog or will ask to get the dog admitted in case your pet’s condition is severe.