Is Your Dog in Pain? The Signs and Symptoms to Look For

Doggie lovers hate it when their animal is in pain. Your dog can’t tell you, obviously, but there are signs and symptoms you will notice that give clues.

Here are some of them.

The noise 

Yes, dogs can’t talk, but they can express themselves in other ways. A dog that is suffering may make more noise than usual, such as whining, yelping, snarling or growling. If he’s noisier than normal, you should check this out.

Localised grooming 

Does your dog keep licking a specific area of his body? That might mean there is something wrong. It might be obvious, such as a cut or open wound but it can also relate to an internal injury. Dogs will also lick their paws and wipe them over the eyes if their eyes hurt.

Super sleepy 

Yes, dogs and especially older dogs do sleep more than humans do, but if you notice your pet is zonking out more than usual, this might mean there’s a problem. Animals that aren’t well or in pain try to sleep to heal themselves.

Changes to drinking or eating habits 

Is your dog drinking more than usual or does she seem to be off her food? Again, this change might indicate she is in pain or ill.


This is a visible sign of pain. If your dog limps, then that is a sign that he or she has joint problems or arthritis. You might notice your dog is slow to get up, or finds going up or down stairs and steps tricky.

Barking or yelping when touched 

Again, if your dog barks or yelps when touched somewhere, this usually means it hurts.

Scooting along on his bottom 

If your pet suddenly starts scooting along on his backside, this can mean he has blocked anal glands. A dog has two pea-sized anal sacs on each side of the anus. They contain a secretion which is emitted when your dog poos or becomes excited. Sometimes they can become clogged, and this can make the glands swollen, leading to infection. The process is irritating or painful to your dog. According to WebMD, the problem is more common in small breeds and overweight dogs.

Grouchy behaviour 

Just as is the case with humans, pain makes dogs bad-tempered. If your usually placid pet starts snapping and whining, pain might be the cause.

Excessive drooling 

If your dog is producing more saliva than usual, this might be a sign of dental problems. It could also be caused by a sore tummy.


Dogs pant a lot anyway, but if the pattern changes or he is doing it at odd times, and it seems excessive, this can indicate he’s suffering.

If you suspect your dog is in pain, then take your pet to the vet as soon as you can. No-one likes the thought of an animal suffering, and the treatment is often straightforward and fast-acting.