Pain in Cats and Dogs

Identifying Pain in Cats and Dogs

One of the most common questions I get asked is:

"Is my pet in pain?"

This is a very important question as nobody wants our furry friends to be in discomfort.

Unfortunately, animals are unable to tell us when they may be in pain. Dogs won't always express pain by whining, and cats are masters at a poker face. The very subtle clues that your pet is in pain can be easily overlooked or mistaken for something else.

The Sad Dog
Whining and crying are often thought to be the response our pups would have to pain, but it isn't the only indicator and may not come up at all.

In fact, dogs will rarely whine or cry unless they are in severe pain or distress. So, look for these signs to recognize when your dog may be experiencing discomfort, and contact us if you have any concerns.

  • A decrease in appetite.
  • Trembling, shaking shivering (they may look cold despite normal temperature).
  • Has a sad or tense look on his face.
  • Not using a leg, or limping.
  • Avoiding stairs.
  • Not greeting you as usual/ Change in behavior.
  • Standing with their head down and a slight arch to their back.
  • Taking a long time to urinate or defecate.
  • Excessive panting.

The Obscure Cat
Cats barely look up when you walk in your front door, they are masters of deception and are exceptional at hiding their pain. So if you notice your cat acting grouchy, flattening his ears, crouching up his body, or hiding, it may be a good indication that they may be in discomfort.

Here are some other signs:

• Not being able to jump on a bed or counter.
• Any issues with the litterbox, straining on defecation, or urination.
• Not grooming or wanting to be groomed.
• A decrease in appetite.
• Sudden aggressive behavior when touched.
• Salivation from the mouth (drooling).

So there you have it. The above signs are just some of the subtle ways our pet lets us know they are not feeling well. If you are ever in doubt bring them in for a veterinary check-up.

- Dr. Barrientos