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How do you know when your dog is in pain?

Dog not keen on seeing vet, veterinarian. Refusing, resisting.


It is often difficult for pet parents to know when their dog is in pain. It is not when they complain or ask, “Why me?” Your dog will never do that. Most dogs just do their best to get from point A to point B.  They don’t care if it is awkward, on 3 legs, or involves hopping. Your dog will do what they can to get there in spite of difficulties. Your dog’s life is defined by movement. If they are not moving as they usually do it is not because they are in a bad mood! If your dog isn’t so crazy to go on a walk, something is wrong and they need your help.

Limping, favoring, or holding up a leg, means they are in Pain.  Below is a list of other common signs that your dog is in pain.

  • Difficulty or Avoiding going up or downstairs
  • Difficulty holding posture when going to the bathroom/walking while going to the bathroom
  • Slow to get up or lay down
  • Restless at night or not sleeping well
  • Increased panting
  • Less eager to go on walks
  • Stopping in the middle of a walk
  • Difficulty getting into the car
  • Change in personality-getting cranky with other dogs or people
  • Unusual vocalization such as whining or whimpering

The sooner you identify that your dog is having pain the sooner you can do something to help them. Often it is easier to help a problem when it first starts. In other words, you as the pet parent have the power to identify that your dog is experiencing pain so that you can take action to relieve their pain.

In Summary

Changes in your dog’s ability to move around tell you something is wrong. The problem may have just started or has been progressing over time, such as with arthritis. At Canine Rehabilitation & Integrative Veterinary Center we are here to work with you to find the best solutions for your dog’s pain. We want to help your dog to move better, feel better, and live longer.

If you think your dog may be in pain or you have any questions, we are here to help. Please contact us.


Dr. Christin Finn, D.V.M.