This month is Animal Pain Awareness Month. Its purpose is to increase awareness of the pain that animals feel, just like the pain that humans feel. If you have pets, recognizing when they might be in pain is vital for their health. Animals are very good at hiding pain. While we humans often moan and groan, animals often hide their pain because it's better for their survival. They don't know that they're most likely pretty safe from predators! However, even though animals can try to hide their pain, there are still some signs of pain in your pet that you can pick up on.
If your pet has started to move differently, it could be a sign that they're experiencing some pain. They might be walking strangely or holding up a paw, but you could also notice some slightly less obvious signs. Is your usually active dog or cat now reluctant to go up and down stairs? This could indicate that they are feeling some pain. Perhaps they are reluctant to jump up on surfaces that they were confident handling before. This especially applies to cats, but maybe your dog has suddenly stopped jumping onto the sofa. Another thing to look out for is difficulty standing after lying down.
Your pet might also move less than they used to. If their activity levels appear to have dropped or your dog is reluctant to go for a walk when they're usually enthusiastic, they could be in pain. Watch out for signs that your pet doesn't want to play as much as they used to or seems to have less energy than they previously had. It could be a sign that your pet's health isn't at its best.
Changes in Eating Habits
A loss of appetite could be a sign that your pet is in pain too. If your pet isn't eating or is perhaps eating less or eating slower than usual, it might indicate that they have mouth pain. They could have a dental issue or another oral problem, or pain in their jaw. It's possible they could also be experiencing stomach or intestinal pain. So watch out for any changes in your pet's eating habits.
Overgrooming and Licking
When your pet is in pain, they might start to lick at or groom the spot where they feel the pain. There could be a wound that you can see, but there are also many types of hidden pain. Animals might find it soothing to groom the area where they have pain, but they might not always be licking the place where the problem is. It can be a sign of referred pain, which is when a problem in one part of the body causes pain elsewhere.
If you see signs of pain in your pet, call Battletown Animal Clinic at (540) 955-2171. If you're ever in doubt, getting an opinion from our veterinary experts is the best thing to do.
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