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There’s nothing worse for a pet owner than knowing that your pet is in pain—except, maybe, not knowing. Because they can’t communicate verbally, sometimes it can be a bit of a guessing game. Here are some things to look out for.

 

BITING AND LICKING

Dogs in pain are more likely to bite—especially if this is out of character for them. Dogs who are in pain will often even bite their owners or people they know, especially when the specific area that’s in pain is touched or moved.

 

BREATHING, POSTURE, ENERGY AND MOBILITY CHANGES

If your dog or cat is breathing faster and shallower than normal, they could be in pain. Panting is also a tell-tale sign. Some animals will be less active, while some may seem more antsy and have difficulty lying down for any amount of time. Other changes include walking with a limp, walking more slowly, or sudden change in posture, like hunched backs.

 

CHANGE IN HEART RATE

Increases in heart rate is usually a sign that your dog or cat is experiencing discomfort. This will be especially noticeable when the affected area is touched or moved. If you don’t know how to check your pet’s pulse, ask your vet or vet tech to show you how.

 

FOOD

Is your dog or cat eating less (or not at all)? Are they showing less interest in their food and water? Loss of appetite can be a sign that they’re in pain.

 

GENERAL CHANGES IN TEMPERAMENT OR PERSONALITY

Your normally social and loving pet wants to be left alone. He or she growls and hisses at you when you stroke or touch them, and is generally irritable. He or she has suddenly started to shy away from you and familiar people, without warning. This could be a warning sign that they’re in pain.

The first step to identifying whether or not your pet may need medical treatment is to monitor them. If you start to notice any of these sudden changes, make sure you call your vet or vet tech immediately.

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