Dogs can be incredibly resilient and brave beings, but undoubtedly there are many dogs that require pain relief to improve their quality of life. So, in order to help them, how can we recognise their pain and discomfort?
As vets, we are trained to assess three factors when determining pain in dogs. These include body language, behaviour and physiological parameters found during our examination. The combination of these results can be combined to produce a ‘pain score’, which we can then monitor to see if our treatment plan is working well. At Beacon View Vets we assess the pain score of all of our inpatients so that we can ensure they are comfortable and detect any changes objectively.
Knowing what is normal for your dog is essential so that you can then tell when something becomes abnormal. If you think your dog is experiencing pain or discomfort then please do not give them any medication without our advice as it is possible for there to be serious consequences from giving the wrong dose or type of drug. Please never give your dog human medication unless directed by your vet.
Here are the main clues to look out for;
- Limping or not wanting to exercise. Limping is sure sign of pain and discomfort. Whilst there are videos on social media of dogs ‘faking it’, this is incredibly rare and any dog displaying lameness should be investigated promptly. If your dog limps intermittently then it may be useful to take a video of what they are doing so that you can show us during a veterinary appointment. If your dog has started limping then we recommend stopping exercise until they have been assessed.
- Changes in posture or sleeping position, as well as sensitivity when certain areas are touched, are a sign of discomfort. An arched back or stretching into a praying position can be a sign of abdominal or spinal pain.
- Changes in behaviour such as becoming withdrawn, not wanting to go for walks, or becoming aggressive. Some dogs will also appear unsettled and be unable to get comfortable and pace around the house.
- Changes in eating habits, vomiting, lip smacking or dribbling can all be indicators of discomfort.
- Licking or chewing at an area more than usual. An example of this re dogs that chew and lick aching, arthritic joints.
- Dogs may become more vocal; groaning or yelping when they are uncomfortable.
At Beacon View Vets near Sandwich and Deal, we are here for you 7 days a week so please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns about your pet.