How to Know If Your Senior Dog Is in Pain

Aging isn’t easy. That’s as true for pets as people. It’s the nature of animals to hide pain as much as possible. That might protect them from predators, but it could mean you don’t realize your dog is hurting until the condition progresses. Here are ways to recognize if your senior dog is in pain.

Behavioral Changes

Any behavioral change in your dog is a red flag. Something is wrong, and it may prove pain-related. Sometimes, behavioral changes are obvious, such as limping or difficulty getting up or lying down. A dog who suddenly becomes aggressive is trying to tell you something. Other times, such changes are subtle, so it is crucial to pay close attention to your old friend.

For instance, was your dog formerly your shadow but now he keeps more to himself? Is he becoming disobedient when he was normally well-behaved? Does he seem nervous or restless? These changes are often pain-related.

Small dogs may resent being picked up if they are hurting. For any dog, a reluctance to have parts of their body touched is a frequent pain signifier.

Sleep Pattern Changes

Sleep pattern changes may indicate medical problems. Some older dogs may start pacing at night, perhaps accompanied by vocalization. Any strange vocalizing is a potential pain indicator. Whining is your dog’s way of telling you he hurts.

Jumping Reluctance

Did your dog formerly leap into the car to go for a ride? Did he bound up and down the stairs? Is he no longer trying to jump onto your bed or sofa? Reluctance to jump is a classic sign of arthritis in canines.

Localized Grooming

Dogs aren’t cats. They have little innate urge to groom themselves. If your dog starts licking any part of his body excessively, he’s likely trying to relieve discomfort.

Eating and Drinking

Is your dog’s appetite not what it once was? Has he suddenly become voracious? Unexpected weight loss is always a red alert.

Is he drinking a lot more than normal, or does he rarely touch the water bowl? Changes in eating and drinking habits may result from pain, including dental disease.

Accidents in the House

Nothing gets an owner’s attention quite like inappropriate elimination. If your older dog starts having accidents in the house, it may not only relate to gastrointestinal upset. Pain is another factor.

Note changes in the way your dog moves or walks while urinating or defecating.

Help for Your Dog

If your senior dog exhibits signs of pain, take him to the vet as soon as possible. Write down all of the changes in your pet’s attitude or movement. If possible, provide video evidence, such as issues he has getting up and down.

The good news is that there are many treatments to relieve pain and put the spring back in your dog’s step. Your vet will conduct a thorough examination to get to the root of your pet’s pain problem.

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