Dogs feel pain for many of the same reasons as humans: infections, dental problems, arthritis, bone disease, and cancer. They also feel discomfort following surgical procedures.

Unfortunately, unlike humans, they are unable to speak to us about when and where they hurt.


Whining, howling, whimpering, yelping, groaning, grunting

Daily Habits:

Decreased appetite, withdraws from social interaction, changes in sleeping or drinking, lapses in housetraining, sleeps more


Licking, biting, scratching a particular part of its body

Activity Level:

Restless, reluctant to move, difficulty getting up from a laying position, repetitively gets up and lies down, trembling, circling or lying very still, seeks more affection than usual

Facial Expression:

Grimaces, vacant stare, glazed, wide-eyed or looks sleepy, enlarged pupils, flattened ears, pants excessively when at rest


Coat lacks normal shine, hair stands up in places


Protects a body part, doesn’t put weight on a limb, limps, doesn’t want to be held or picked up, hides

Aggressive: (especially a previously friendly dog)

Acts out of character, growls, hisses, bites, pins ears back, a normally aggressive dog may act quiet, docile


Hunched, with hindquarters raised and front end down on the ground, lays on its side.

As with cats, never administer pain medication without consulting your veterinarian. After diagnosing the problem, your veterinarian will explain the benefits, risks and costs associated with various treatment options. That way, you and your veterinarian can choose the approach that best meets the needs of you and your dog.