What do you do when you are in pain? Crying, screaming and then describing to our doctor where is the pain, what is the degree of pain, how exactly does the pain manifest and whether there is some underlying cause for the pain such as falling down, hitting a wall etc.
This begs the question – how do dogs communicate if they are in pain? We certainly do not understand doggy language, so how do we get to understand that they are in pain, require medical assistance and how did they get hurt?
Here Are Some Physical Signs To Keep An Eye Out Of Our Dog
Since we are incapable of understanding them, we may miss out on signs indicating our pet is in pain. The longer the duration we remain ignorant of our pet’s pain, the worse their condition will be. Canines have also inherited an instinct to hide any pain caused by injuries or infirmity. So, unless that particular area is touched, our dogs may not even act as if they are in pain.
Humans and dogs may not speak the same language; but this does not mean they cannot communicate. As long as we remain observant and vigilant to certain physical and behavioural patterns and actions, we will be able to determine whether or not our dog is in pain and what to do about it.
Here are some physical signs to keep an eye out for to understand when your precious dog is in pain:
- Excessive yelling, growling, snarling and howling
- Excessive grooming i.e licking their paws constantly
- Heavy panting or altered breathing
- Obvious mobility issues like limping, stiffness, dragging their legs around
- Reluctance to climb stairs, taking too much time to stand up
- Changes in body posture – rigid and hunched stance, prayer stance etc.
- Shaking or trembling
Some behavioural changes to look out for are:
- Suddenly exhibiting aggressive behaviour especially by dogs above four years of age
- Not willing to play/ engage in play activities
- Avoiding other dogs and pets
- Loss of appetite
- Negatively reacting to your touch can indicate the place of pain
Why are my dog’s legs hurting?
Here’s a list of some common ailments which could be causing pain in your dog’s legs:
- Broken legs: Signs include swelling in and around the leg, bruising, limping, crying/ whining in pain.
- Torn ACL: It is commonly experienced by medium to large dogs. Dogs with a torn ACL will limp, not wish to put weight on that leg at all.
- Something stuck in the paws: Perhaps a thorn or a stone or stick is stuck on their paws causing them to limp or hesitate before putting pressure on that paw.
- Hip Dysplasia: Signs include pain and difficulty when trying to sit or stand, limping, pain when touching hips, abnormal gait
- Arthritis: Most often seen in old dogs
You must take your dog to the nearest veterinarian as soon as possible to diagnose the cause of pain and find relief. Now that we know how to find out when our dogs are in pain and what could be the cause of pain, let’s move on to the final part – pain relief.
Home remedies that could help your doggy companion feel better and reduce pain levels:
- Arnica montana: Stiffness, soreness and muscle pain
- Calendula: Skin irritation and infection
- Glucosamine: Relief from arthritis symptoms
- Ledum: Puncture wounds and insect bites
- Ruta: Injuries to tendons and ligaments
- Silicea: Removing foreign bodies such as splinters
- Ice pack/ Heat pad: This should help with inflammation and swelling
- Physical therapy: If your dog is recovering from a broken leg, an accident or surgery
- Massage: To help with blood circulation, better mobility and flexibility and general relief from stiffness and pain
Regular exercise and check-ups are critical to ensure that your dog is within the normal weight range and does not place additional pressure on its joints and knees. Keep an eye on calcium, vitamins and other nutrient levels and ensure everything is in the normal range.
Sometimes, complementary treatments may be recommended such as acupuncture, hydrotherapy and chiropractic intervention. These treatments are increasing in popularity. However, please ensure you consult your vet before going for any such alternative/ complementary treatment methods to ensure you find the perfect professional and also to check whether these treatments will actually benefit your dog.