If only they could talk. Learning to identify when your pet is in pain.

Your dogs and cats are great at getting certain messages across to you! It’s very clear if they’re hungry, or bored, but it’s not always so easy to recognise pain.

It’s very easy to project our human emotions onto our pets, but the reality is that signs your pet is in pain are often very subtle. Dogs and cats don’t know they need to let us know that something is wrong, they’re hard-wired to hide their pain and put a brave face on! Take the time to familiarise yourself with these common clues that something might be wrong.

Dogs

Let’s start with the obvious signs. If your dog is whimpering, whining and crying then something is very wrong. In fact, by the time your dog is crying, chances are that the pain is already severe.  Avoiding using a leg or more limited activity is also an easy thing to look out for. If your normally bright and lively dog is taking things unusually slowly, it’s time to call your vet.

More easily missed clues could be excessive panting, trembling, decreased appetite, taking a longer time than usual to go to the toilet and being generally antisocial. You know your dog better than anyone, and if you notice any other changes in his normal behaviour or attitude, always consider what could be the cause.

Cats

Cats are experts at hiding their pain! You’re much more likely to notice a change in kitty’s mood and behaviour than you are to hear her crying and a bad temper is normally your first clue. Watch out for your cat flattening her ears or acting aggressively when touched or a crouching her body position, and if your cat is hiding that’s a very strong indicator that she’s experiencing pain.

As with dogs, if your cat is taking longer than normal to go to the toilet, is less active than usual or has a decreased appetite, then contact your vet. In addition, cats love to be clean, so if she’s not grooming herself, you can be sure something is wrong.

We hope these tips help you to feel more confident in spotting anything unusual in your pet, however, this information is not a substitute for veterinary care. It’s important to schedule regular appointments with us, so we can help keep your pet happy and healthy!