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21 points that tell you if your dog is in pain!

Daran erkennst du, ob dein Hund Schmerzen hat! Dein Hund kann dir nicht sagen, wenn er Schmerzen hat. So erkennst du es auf jeden Fall und kannst handeln!

How can you tell if your dog is in pain?

Not sure if your dog is in pain or uncomfortable? Your dog cannot speak. Therefore, it is important that you know exactly how your dog shows you that he is in pain. Expressions of pain in dogs are also influenced by character. However, there are quite a few signs of pain and I’ll tell you about them!

Your dog is not faking!

To say this is a special concern for me, because too often I have heard from owners whose dog is obviously in pain: “He’s just faking, he just wants to go home”. Dogs would rather try to hide pain and discomfort than show it openly. Pain is a sign of weakness.

How does your dog perceive pain?

Like us humans, dogs have an individual perception of pain and an individual tolerance of pain. In addition, our dog feels the same pain sometimes stronger and sometimes weaker. Recognizing chronic pain is often even more difficult because the behavioral changes are gradual. All this does not make it easier for us dog owners. By the way, it has been proven that the dog’s perception of pain is very similar to that of humans. So a dog feels the pain of osteoarthritis in much the same way a human does.

Difference acute and chronic pain

There are two types of pain that manifest themselves differently: Acute pain is pain that lasts a short time and the cause is usually known. It is limited in location and time. Examples of acute pain include bruises, strains, broken bones, and headaches. Behavioral changes in your dog occur immediately when pain is acute and are obvious.

Acute pain signals are:

  • Panting
  • Whimper and yelp
  • Trembling
  • Spare a limb
  • Avoiding a movement

Acute pain is a very good warning and protective function of the body, as it leads to pain-avoiding and healing behavior. Your dog is taking it easy. A cure leads to the elimination of pain. Eliminating the cause that triggers the pain also ends the pain. You should never ignore an acute pain in your dog, as it can also develop into a chronic pain.

Chronic pain lasts for an extended period of time. Pain that lasts longer than 3 months is usually referred to as chronic pain. This type of pain creeps slowly and is often difficult to detect and goes undiagnosed for a long time. The pain is often difficult to localize. Chronic pain occurs, for example, in progressive joint diseases or diseases of the spine. Rheumatic diseases, nerve pain, e.g. after a slipped disc, and pain caused by cancer are also chronic. The pain itself becomes a clinical picture and no longer has an alarm function. If left untreated, chronic pain can significantly reduce the quality of life for your dog.

21 points that help you to recognize if your dog is in pain

  • Your dog shows an increased need for rest and sleeps more than usual.
  • Your dog wants to walk less and tires more quickly.
  • Your dog’s gait spindly or stiff.
  • Your dog sometimes or permanently shows lameness.
  • Does your dog avoid certain movements or is the mobility of a joint limited?
  • Your dog is dragging his paws and his claws are unevenly worn.
  • Does he walk uncoordinated, wobbly, or have trouble lifting his legs or drying his paws?
  • Does your dog avoid things like climbing stairs, getting in the car or jumping on the sofa?
  • Your dog sits down conspicuously fast or leans quickly when standing.
  • Your dog has difficulty getting up after a rest or changes of position are difficult for him. Often these changes of position are also associated with moaning or sighing.

But these can also be signs of pain:

  • Does your dog show restlessness and frequently change his lying position?
  • Does your dog regularly nibble one or more joints?
  • Your dog’s back or certain joints are sensitive to touch or heating can be felt.
  • The musculature of your dog has become less.
  • Tension and hardening of the muscles can be felt.
  • Your dog’s coat is flaky, lackluster, shaggy or greasy.
  • The smell of your dog has changed.
  • Your dog’s facial expression is changed, his face looks strained. Dogs can also have rims under their eyes, in the form of distinct depressions.
  • Your dog is panting, smacking and yawning more often.
  • Your dog’s social behavior is altered, he avoids contact with other dogs or shows fear, insecurity or even aggression.
  • Does your dog have less or no more fun doing things that previously gave him great pleasure?

You see, your dog can show you that he is in pain in many ways. Often it is changes in behavior and habits, but also physical changes. It is our job to watch our dogs very closely in order to recognize as early as possible that something is wrong and to take action. Please always keep in mind that every dog shows pain in its own and individual way. The pain signs mentioned can occur individually and in very individually different combinations.

You should take every expression of pain from your dog seriously, THOUGH: Your dog never fakes!

Would you like to learn more about pain in dogs and how to reliably recognize signs of pain? Then sign up for my free mini course “Recognizing signs of pain in dogs – incl. Checklist” on!

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