Since our animals can’t verbally communicate with us, it can be difficult to tell if they are in pain or discomfort. Cats and dogs are experts at hiding subtle signs of pain and can suffer for up to months without complaining! In order to help pet owners detect pain in their pets, the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) deemed September as Animal Pain Awareness Month. Our team is here to help and we’ve put together seven signs to look out for that could indicate if your pet is in pain.

 

#1: Decreased activity

Uncomfortable pets are less likely to participate in their favorite activities. Your senior pooch perhaps will not walk quite as far, or your elderly kitty shows little interest in batting around the robotic mouse. 

 

#2: Reluctance to use stairs

Stairs are challenging for painful pets, especially those who have stiff elbows, hips, and knees. Your pet will be reluctant to use slick, slippery stairs, since their failure to gain traction often leads to an unpleasant fall. 


#3: Difficulty standing after lying down

A common osteoarthritis sign is difficulty standing after a period of rest. Most arthritic pets “warm up” out of their discomfort, and will move more easily with low impact activity.

 

#4: Reluctance to jump

If your pet can’t jump onto their favorite cozy chair, or their usual spot on your bed, they’re likely suffering from pain. Cats, in particular, will be unable to jump onto their favored high perches if they’re uncomfortable. 

 

#5: Decreased appetite

When you don’t feel well, you don’t eat, and the same goes for your furry pal. Plus, dental disease is common in pets, which can lead to sore gums, painful oral infections, or loose teeth.

 

#6: Over-grooming or licking a particular area

Pets who constantly lick a particular area may be trying to soothe a painful joint or bony prominence. Lick granulomas often form on wrists and hip bones, two commonly painful areas. 

 

#7: Decreased socialization with the family

If your furry friend feels less than their best, they may avoid spending quality time with the family, and may growl, hiss, or nip when petted or groomed. 

 

Fortunately, there are many options to treat your pet’s acute or chronic pain. If your pet appears uncomfortable, contact us to schedule an appointment, and we can help alleviate any pain.