Signs that your dog is in pain

When people feel pain, it’s easy to understand. In a dog it is more complicated. Unfortunately, it is not that easy for animals to express their feelings. They can’t tell us if something is bothering them. However, there are some telltale signs, such as limping or grunting when pressure is applied to a painful area. These are clear signs, but the symptoms aren’t always that obvious, especially if your dog is in pain but doesn’t show it.

Some signs of pain in dogs

Oral expressions

A dog that is in pain will tend to express himself orally in several ways: moaning, growling   and even barking . If we notice that our pet is louder than usual, it is best to go to a vet to check that everything is going well.

Compulsive cleaning of a part of the body

With pain in certain parts of the body, dogs will start licking this same area over and over. It is evident if it is a visible wound such as a cut, but often this happens even if the pain is internal. In this case, the animals try to solve the problem in this way.

If the pain or discomfort is located in the eyes , it is normal for the dog to lick his paws and rub them with them later.

Changes in daily sleep, thirst, or hunger habits

When in pain, many dogs tend to sleep more, either because they try to heal themselves, or because they move less that way. Loss of appetite is also normal, as are changes in the amount of water they consume.

Changes in breathing if the dog is in pain

If our friend is panting even though he hasn’t done a lot of exercise , that’s another sign of pain. The same is true if his breathing is faster or apparently shallower.

Marks on the eyes

When a dog feels pain in his eyes, he will close and open them frequently. Also, we will notice that his pupils are smaller. Curiously, the opposite happens with other pains in other parts of the body, which lead to dilation of the pupils.

Problems resting if the dog is in pain

When your pet is in pain, he may have difficulty sitting or lying down. For this reason, it should be observed when sitting or lying down in an unusual position. If he can’t stay in the same position for a few moments, you need to start worrying. The most emblematic case is if, for example, the animal tries to sit or lie down and gets up almost immediately looking for another position.


Depending on the character of the animal, some dogs when they feel unwell try to keep away from their owner and can even go into hiding. Others remain by his side constantly seeking his affection.

Aggressive behavior if the dog is in pain

It can also happen that some dogs that are injured or experience some other type of pain become aggressive and try to keep away as they fear that their own owner may harm them even if unintentionally.

We will notice that normally docile dogs suddenly start grunting with their ears back and show themselves capable of biting if touched. On the other hand,  aggressive dogs sometimes exhibit the opposite behavior.

Combination of signals

Logically these symptoms can manifest themselves separately, in a combined way and can even have different meanings. If in doubt, seek expert advice as soon as possible.

As long as our friend is not too aggressive, to check if he suffers from pain, we will touch him with a steady hand but, at the same time, carefully throughout his body, exactly as the vet does . In this way we will be able to locate the source of the pain.

In any case, experts say that the main symptom of the dog feeling pain is the alteration of his behavior. 

Pain treatment

The consumption of painkillers for dogs has increased worldwide over the past five years. The owners are increasingly aware of the importance of avoiding suffering to animals.

You should always avoid giving dogs the medications you use for people. One of the main causes of intoxication is self-medication.

The analgesics that are used for dogs can be of two different types: the so-called “opiates”, such as morphine and methadone , for the treatment of acute pain, and those known as “non-steroidal anti-inflammatories”, which are used to treat both the pain that inflammation.

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