Signs Your Pet May Be in Pain

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Image by Waldyano from Pixabay.

By Dr. Edward Schettino

Periods of pain and discomfort happen for all of us, it’s just a fact of life.

The same goes for our pets. However, our pets tend to hide their pain – it’s an innate behavior to help an animal in the wild protect itself from predators during times of injury or sickness.

It’s nothing none of us want to talk about, but the fact is, pain impacts our pets, no matter what stage of life they’re in. If your pet is experiencing pain or discomfort, it may be a simple illness or a larger underlying problem so it’s imperative to contact your veterinarian immediately to get to the root of the issue.

When it comes to pain in our pets, here are a few things to look for:

  1. Decreased appetite. It’s not uncommon for a pet to skip a meal here and there, but if you noticed a marked change in appetite, it may be an indicator of an underlying medical issue.
  2. Decreased activity. Just like us, a lack of energy can be a sign of something medical going on, again if you notice a change, take action.
  3. Difficulty Walking or Lying Down. Maybe your dog is hesitant going up or down stairs, your cat isn’t hopping up on the bed anymore, and it takes a while for your pet to lie down. This behavior may indicate issues such as osteoarthritis.
  4. Excessive grooming. If your pet is continuously licking a certain area, this may be a sign that something may be bothering them in that part of their body.
  5. Whining or unusually quiet. You know your pet better than anyone. If your pet is more vocal than usual or maybe more quiet than usual, it may be another indicator that they’re not feeling well.
Photo courtesy of Animal Rescue League of Boston.

While we can’t predict an illness or injury, keeping our pets at a healthy weight through a proper diet and exercise routine, as well as preventative care such as annual exams, are an important part of keeping our pets healthy and happy.

But despite regular exercise and a sound diet, unfortunately, illness, aging and injuries happen. If you suspect your pet is suffering from illness or injury, don’t wait or try and self-diagnose. Have your animal seen by your regular veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Dr. Edward Schettino is the President and CEO of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), and has a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Thanks to Dr. Schettino and ARL for contributing this article to Westwood Minute.


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