It is not always easy to tell when a dog is in pain. If only our pets could talk! Often times they don’t show that they are suffering, but a few symptoms are clear signs of pain. You should watch out for changes in behavior and certain postures that may indicate that the dog is physically or mentally uncomfortable.
Recognizing acute pain in a dog is not always easy, because dogs display pain differently than humans. If your dog goes into any of the following three positions, you should take him to the vet as soon as possible because he could be sick.
The Dog Raises One Paw While Running
Actually, this seems to be a pretty clear case, but still, you get this question very often: “My dog raises its paw when it runs – is it in pain? But he doesn’t complain … ”
Hobbling can come in many different forms, each different depending on the intensity of the pain.
It can be the occasional limp where the paw is still in use, but it can also be a constant limp where one paw no longer touches the ground. This will vary depending on the level of pain (a dog that has stopped using a paw will need an X-ray to see if there is a break) and the dog’s sensitivity (a dog may also howl as soon as you walk touching him and not allowing his paw to be approached because he has a thorn between the balls of his feet). It is very difficult for the owners to realistically assess the animal’s pain.
Oftentimes, they will analyze the dog’s reactions against the measure of their own pain sensation, although most dogs are generally better at handling long-term or chronic pain than humans. In this article, you will find out what other reasons could be behind your dog’s lame condition.
Of course, one should not confuse the posture shown in this picture with the demand for attention: if the dog is in pain, it will remain in this posture for a long time. It may be less noticeable or even go away if the dog is focused and playing, but in this case, the injury is not too severe (this is often the case with osteoarthritis limp, where there is pain that is relieved by movement). If the limp does not stop when the dog changes position either, it is a matter of concern.
The Dog Presses Its Head Against the Wall
If your dog is pressing his head against a wall for no reason, he may have a neurological condition. This clinical symptom is also referred to as “head straining” and it is often related to a cortical disease: it is often associated with mechanical walking in circles, wailing, and/or reduced alertness. The possible causes for this are numerous: trauma, tumor, stroke, increased intracranial pressure, … A visit to the vet is essential and you have to expect additional examinations.
A few months ago, veterinarians from a Dutch association informed dog and cat owners in a message on Facebook: “The dog in this picture is pressing its head against the wall. It can look funny or cute at first glance. In reality, however, he is in danger. This dog is doing this because he has hepatic encephalopathy, ”the association warned.
The Dog Tilts Its Head Down
A dog with its head tilted repeatedly and down for a long period of time may experience severe spinal pain. One speaks here of a pain-relieving position. This category also includes the phobia of stairs: for a dog with spinal pain, every step is a challenge, especially when going down. Therefore, he may have a certain aversion to stairs.
If you see your dog walking with his head down, limbs stiff, and back stiff, and if you stop in that position, take him to a veterinarian quickly. Painkillers can provide relief from arthritic attacks. Never: aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen!