Is Your Pet in Pain?

By Aliza Adar Levine

Can you imagine that your pet may be in pain and you might not know it? Unbelievable as it sounds it is all too common. Learning to detect the signs of pet pain is really crucial to your pet’s health care and well being. And pets don’t always act like people do when they are suffering.

Animals can suffer with toothaches, joint pain, infections, just like people. Unfortunately, because they can’t tell you about it you might be neglecting a serious or painful condition. One of the main things to look for is a change. That can mean change in behavior, temperament, eating or sleeping patterns. It can be very subtle.

One sharp cat owner noticed that her cat was simply meowing more than usual for a few days. Not crying, just more meowing. She took "Max" took the Vet and a horribly infected tooth was discovered and treated. No more meowing.

A typical cat reaction to pain is to hide. If you notice your cat is gone most of the time, check it out.

With dogs, less interest in eating, eating less or even slower than usual, can signal a toothache. Food falling from the dog’s mouth is also typical. It may hurt to chew.

When "Doobie", usually a frisky boxer pup, was just lying in a corner quietly, something was wrong. A visit to the vet revealed a painful abscess that needed treatment.

If your pet is suddenly hyperactive or listless, pay attention. Both are possible signs of pet pain.

Older pets can suffer from chronic conditions like arthritis, hip pain, and other age related problems. Symptoms can be slow movement, limping, balance problems, subdued or nervous disposition. Pain can make a calm animal irritable or even aggressive.

There is no reason your pet has to suffer. Your vet can prescribe pain medication that can bring relief. Never give a pet human medications, though. This is very dangerous and can even kill. Cats especially, because their liver is different than a person, can be poisoned easily.

Often an animal will lick a painful area, or even rub it against a surface. A sign of this is can be a flattened or wet area on your pet’s coat. Try to separate the hair to see if you can detect anything. The appearance of redness, swelling, an open wound, or even local heat all are best checked by a vet.

If you notice your dog scratching constantly, check out and treat for fleas if needed. If Poochie scratched herself raw and is bleeding, keep your eye on the wounds and get help if it’s not healing up quickly.

So, if your pet seems to be acting different,it could be pain that’s behind the change. When in doubt, go to your local pet clinic for security. You never know. When it comes to pain, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

You may end up saving your beloved pet’s life!

Aliza Levine RNMH runs a busy Clinic, Pharmacy. Learn more about Dog health care at

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  1. Brent Harte
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