Identifying pain in animals can be quite tricky! Some of them are stoic and mask their pain very well. The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management has declared September as Animal Pain Awareness Month so we thought it would be a great month to talk about how to tell if your pet is in pain.
- Change in activity. If your pet stops enjoying tasks he usually enjoys, that can be a sign of pain. Pacing and restlessness can also be a sign of pain. Therefore if something about your pet’s activity seems off to you, you should have your pet evaluated for pain.
- Jumping on counters or in the car. One of the changes we see frequently in arthritic cats, is a decrease in the amount of jumping – particularly on the counter or tall furniture. Dogs also can display this sign, but it’s usually a decrease in the ability to jump into the car.
- Slow to rise and get moving. If your pet seems stiff and slow moving after sleeping or lying down, this is a sign of arthritis. Arthritis causes painful joints and difficulty moving.
- Grumpiness or change in personality. One sign of pain that can be very subtle is a change in personality. If your pet has been extra grumpy, clingy, or aloof lately, it could be a sign of pain.
- Some animals, especially dogs, will pant when painful.
- Whining, barking, or other vocalizations can be an indication of discomfort
- Change in potty habits. If your housetrained pet is suddenly having accidents, they could be in pain. If you notice your pet taking longer than usual or taking an abnormal posture to urinate/defecate, this is another sign of pain.