How to tell if your dog is in pain

Dogs are playful animals. Whenever two dogs are playing, you can expect rough play between the two, which is just how dogs are wired to play. Their bodies are built in a way to tolerate a little rough play. Sometimes, however, your dog could suffer injuries from this or even develop internal injuries that could worsen if left untreated. Your dog might be in a lot of pain without you knowing. Therefore, it is vital to understand the signs of a dog in distress so that you know when to help your pup.

Dogs are more prone to getting injuries than cats. Most dogs get minor injuries all around the year, which usually heal on their own. Major injuries, however, require treatment. Educate yourself on how to detect your pup’s pain so you can help him.

Indications that your dog is in pain

Our experts at Pets Uniq have made your work easier by compiling everything for you. You just have to observe the things mentioned in the list made by our experts. If you notice more than three signs, take your dog to the vet immediately.

Here are the signs that your dog is in pain:

Change in behavior

Dogs who are in extreme pain either become antisocial or aggressive. Dogs in pain usually stop being affectionate towards their owners. They stop running towards you. They will try to avoid you as much as they can. They will stop participating in playtime. You will find them in hidden spaces and corners. They can also become extremely aggressive when you try to touch them or cuddle with them. They won’t let you pet them. Be careful when dealing with an aggressive dog.  


Change in routine

The routines of dogs in pain drastically shift. You can expect their eating and sleeping habits, in particular, to change. Dogs who are in pain become antisocial and opt to sleep more, allowing them to ignore everyone in the house peacefully. Additionally, a dog in pain will eat less. They are no longer excited about the food that once excited them. They will either stop drinking water entirely or drink excessive amounts of water. 


A dog in extreme pain will start vocalizing or yowling more, usually at night. Sometimes their howling will be similar to crying.



If your dog is grooming excessively, it is another sign that he is in pain. Dogs are designed to clean their wounds themselves. Licking their wounds soothes them and gives them relief. In the case of internal injuries, however, they cannot see the wound. Thus, they might lick the area where they are feeling pain. This also soothes them and relaxes their muscles. If you observe excessive grooming, it is a clear-cut sign that your dog has an internal injury.


All dogs love panting. We can see them panting after exercise or running. They pant whenever they are excited. But if you notice excessive panting without any apparent reason, it indicates that your dog is in pain. Another indicator of pain is trouble in breathing.


Trouble moving

Dogs who have internal injuries have trouble moving around. The pain doesn’t allow them to stay active. Your dog is likely to have a problem moving if he has a wound in his legs or paws. Thus, limping would be evident. Other than that, your dog will try to stay in one place to avoid aggravating the pain. He will avoid climbing the stairs as well. 

Note: This could also be a sign of arthritis. Therefore, take your dog to the vet to avoid any future issues.


Restlessness and agitation are significant indicators of pain. Dogs are usually unable to comprehend their own pain. They cannot express their pain to their fellow human beings. All this time, their injury will continue to bother them and will prevent them from functioning properly. This frustration and confusion manifests as restlessness. Your dog will stop sleeping and will roam around the house as if searching for something. They will stop cuddling and perpetually be in discomfort.



There will be noticeable changes in your dog’s body if he is in pain. You will notice swelling in different parts of their bodies, particularly the face. Pain can result in swollen legs and paws, which causes some dogs to change their posture entirely. A dog with abdominal pain will walk in a manner that reduces pain, perhaps bending their hind legs or raising their rear end. Although this relieves their pain temporarily, it can develop into a bigger problem, so it is best to visit the vet immediately if you notice this behavior.


Trembling isn’t always a sign of cold or fever. It is usually due to severe reasons, to indicate diseases such as pancreatitis or as a result of poisoning. Thus, if your dog is trembling, always treat it as an emergency. Your dog might have broken something inside, which is causing him immense pain. Talk to your vet and give him relaxants. Make sure that he is getting tested for all potential diseases and injuries.



Diagnosing a dog in pain is a difficult task for dog owners and vets. Dogs have the potential to become violent while they are undergoing pain. They may try to attack or bite you whenever you try to approach them. Isolate your dog in a cozy room if you notice that your dog is in pain. Keep him away from other animals and kids to keep them safe. An early diagnosis could help your dog. Therefore, try to understand the body language of your dog. A little extra effort and attentiveness can save your pup’s life, and your dog will be forever grateful for it.

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