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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

How to Tell if Your Pet is in Pain

Dog laying on the couch.

No one likes being in pain, including our pets. Fortunately, veterinary medicine has come a long way in regards to understanding and managing pain in animals. It’s well known that pets feel pain in much the same way as humans, and that chronic pain can impede healing and affect their quality of life.

Our pets may not have the words to express how they’re feeling, but there are plenty of ways an astute pet owner can tell if their pet is in pain. 

Is My Pet in Pain?

Animals (especially cats!) are hardwired to hide signs of illness and pain, which can make it difficult to tell when a pet is in pain. It’s important to remember that you know your pet better than anyone else so your observation is key when it comes to identifying pet pain. Take note of any changes in behavior such as:

  • Sudden limping
  • Pacing
  • Yelping or growling when touched
  • Excessive licking
  • Hiding or other antisocial behavior
  • Lagging behind on walks
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty or refusal to get up off the floor or go up/down stairs
  • Changes in sleeping habits

If you suspect your pet is in pain, please contact your veterinarian right away.

Pet Pain Management

Improving your pet’s quality of life is our top priority at The Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic. Depending on the cause and severity of your pet’s pain, we offer a variety of strategies for managing it.

Medication – Medications can play an important role in pain management and can be tailored to your pet’s specific needs. Never give your pet human pain medication, as these can be highly toxic to pets. Your veterinarian will recommend the right medication and dosage for your pet, depending on the type of pain and its underlying condition.

Physical therapy – Exercises recommended by your veterinarian can help a pet feel better in cases where regaining strength, range of motion, and mobility are the goals.

Laser therapy – Cold laser therapy can be an effective, pain-free modality that promotes healing by reducing inflammation, stimulating cell regeneration, and increasing blood flow to the affected area.

Weight management – Certain types of pain, such as arthritis, can be exacerbated by excess weight. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight can reduce or prevent this type of pain.

Nutrition – A high quality diet formulated for your pet’s life stage can help your pet avoid a variety of painful issues. Prescription diets are available to treat specific problems ranging from kidney issues to dental problems.

Acupuncture – Acupuncture is a gentle and often very effective pain management tool that is well supported by research. Acupuncture is not only helpful for acute but also chronic pain as well as some behavioral issues.

We often recommend a combination of the above modalities to treat and manage pet pain. Your veterinarian will work closely with you to develop a plan of care to help your furry friend feel better as quickly as possible.

For more information on pet pain, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your team at The Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic. We are always here for you and your pet!