Tip 88 – My dog or cat is in pain – pets in pain
When our pets act in unusual fashions, it is often because they are sick or they are in pain. Our pets cannot verbally tell us when they are in pain, so unless they are crying or communicating in a loud unusual way, we may well be unaware that they are suffering. The level of pain and an individual pet’s tolerance to it will also determine how a pet will react to it. When the pain is less severe, or chronic but bearable, we must become more vigilant observers of our pets’ body language. Cats, as a survival instinct (not to alert other predators that they are weak) can become unusually quiet when they are in pain. Dogs will sometimes exhibit this same ‘extra quiet’ behaviour when they are in pain, or they may avoid normal activities like walking up the stairs when they are suffering. This is especially true of older dogs that may be suffering with arthritis. As mentioned, the unusual behaviour itself is a sign that there is a problem.
Sometimes there is pretty clear evidence that something is not right with your pet. The repetitive licking or repetitive scratching of a particular area is often a good sign that there is a problem that indicates pain. If you suspect that your pet is in pain or has suffered a trauma somewhere on its body, you can attempt to verify this by GENTLY running your hands along your entire pet’s body. Any sudden cries, sounds, twitches or even instinctual attempts to bite you, can be good indicators.
There are times when you just know your pet is in pain. After any type of surgery for example, your pet will be in pain. If your pet is visibly and badly scratched up after a fight with another pet it will be in pain. There are terrific pain medications that your veterinarian can prescribe. Definitely ask your vet about pain relief for your pet and of course, bring your pet to see a veterinarian if you suspect your pet is in pain.
Note: If you suspect your pet is in pain, you must take it to the veterinarian. Never give human medications to a pet that is in pain. Many human medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) are poisonous or deadly to pets.