Our pets are like family. We share our lives with them and want them to feel their best. But if our pet is in pain, how would we know? After all, they experience pain like we do, but they don’t have the language to convey to us how they feel.
Luckily, you can learn to recognize the subtle signs of pain in your pet. This knowledge can allow you to take action to help them feel better, sooner. And that’s something we would all want for our beloved family members!
We all hope we’d know the moment our pet is in pain, but studies show that pet owners are not very good at recognizing signs of pain in their pets. Evolution has made sure that animals are good at hiding signs of discomfort, as showing pain makes them vulnerable to predators.
Over the last two decades, veterinary medicine has made giant strides in recognizing pain in animals, creating objective criteria for measuring pain, and implementing standards of pain management and anesthesia. Your veterinarian is a wonderful resource for learning how to recognize signs of pain, and we now have many options in medications and therapies to ease pain in our patients.
How to Recognize When Your Pet is in Pain
At home, you can learn to know when your pet is in pain by carefully observing behavior. Aside from the obvious – a broken bone, for example – a pet’s change in personality or everyday habits can be the best indicator of pain.
Some examples of a change in behavior that might indicate pain:
- Eliminating outside the litter box
- Stiffness upon rising; not wanting to rise
- Laying only on one side
- Hiding more frequently
- Becoming more social/ needier (looking for help)
- Whining or other vocalizing
- Less interest in enjoyable activities
- No longer jumps up to favorite resting spots
- Excessive or less-frequent grooming
- Glazed eyes
If you notice any change in behavior, or your pet seems to be slowing down, don’t hesitate to have her seen at the veterinarian. Even older pets can be helped by determining the causes of discomfort and treating problems. Age is not a disease!
The sooner your pet’s pain is diagnosed, the sooner we can treat them and get them back to feeling like themselves. Give the team at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center a call to have your pet’s pain evaluated, and get them on the right path to health and wellness.