How to Tell If Your Dog’s in Pain

Our little dogs are good at hiding signs of pain. That may be an instinct developed when they lived in the wild and needed to hide any weakness from predators.

Since they won’t tell us they’re in pain, how does an owner know when his dog needs medical care?

If your dog is having trouble eating and/or hides from and avoids contact with his family, those are ominous signs that your dog needs medical care.

Other signs of pain include

  • Unusually quiet, lethargic or unresponsive
  • Reluctant to rise or walk
  • Biting at or pulling at a body part such as an ear
  • Unable to sleep
  • Acting out of character such as snapping at people or animals he used to like
  • Constantly licking one part of his body
  • Whining, whimpering or howling

The most reliable way to verify that your dog is in pain is through medical tests such as blood pressure which may be difficult to perform at home. Easier medical checks for owners are to measure your dog’s heart rate or pulse.

An increase in your dog’s heart rate/pulse or respiration from his normal baseline may be an indicator of pain.

The short video below shows you how to check your dog’s heart rate.

If you’re concerned about your dog or he has any of the signs above, get him to a vet!