Pain Management For Dogs and Cats

How You Can Help Your Pet Cope With Pain

By Madison Guthrie

Pain Management For Dogs

Here at Petsadena Animal Hospital, we know a thing or two about keeping your four-legged family members healthy and happy.

And since September is Animal Pain Awareness month, we wanted to share a few tips and tricks on how you as pet parents can help your pet manage and recover from pain as quickly and comfortably as possible.

Of course, unless you know your pet has suffered an injury or is recovering from surgery, it’s not always easy to tell if they are in pain.

Cats are especially notorious for hiding their discomforts, so how can you be sure if your favorite furry friend is hurting, or if they are just being a sour puss?

Let’s find out!

How To Tell If Your Pet Is In Pain.

As we mentioned above, it can be difficult to read your pet. Both dogs and cats have been known to try and hide their pain from us, but why?

Don’t take it personally.

Your dog or cat has an instinctual drive to hide when they are in pain to make themselves appear less vulnerable. This is a trait carried through generations and dates back to your pet’s earliest ancestors who had to be tough to survive in the wild.

So, aside from an obvious yelp, limping, or the scary sight of blood, how else might you be able to tell if your dog or cat is in pain?

Let’s take a look and learn about some of the obvious – and perhaps not so obvious – symptoms of pain in dogs and cats.

Symptoms of Pain In Dogs

While dogs are more likely to come to us for comfort than their feline counterparts, they have been known to hide their pain or even show it in unusual, or not very obvious ways.

Some signs your dog may be in pain include:

  • Changes in behavior such as agitation, isolation, and aggression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleeping more often than usual
  • Growling, yelping, or whimpering
  • Excessive grooming, chewing or licking
  • Panting, heavy, or labored breathing
  • Difficulty walking or walking with a limp
  • Noticeable changes in posture or body movement, (for example, with an ear infection, they may tilt their head to one side and hold it there)
  • Trembling or shivering
  • Bathroom accidents

Symptoms of Pain In Cats

Cats sometimes put a bit more effort into hiding their discomforts and may attempt to isolate themselves all together when in pain.

Signs of pain in your cat may include:

  • Hiding or anti-social behavior
  • Sitting very still or curling up
  • Excessively grooming one particular area
  • Excessive vocalization including purrs, meows, or unusual sounds
  • Agitation, aggression, and restless behavior
  • Potty accidents outside of the litter box

Managing Your Pet’s Pain

If you notice any of the symptoms above in your dog or cat and there is no obvious reason as to why they are in pain, contact your veterinarian and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Your veterinarian will be able to help diagnose the reason for the pain in your pet and offer you medications, advice, and other various resources as to how you can help your pet heal.

Of course, if your pet is recovering from surgery or an injury, there are ways you can help them recover comfortably at home.

For both dogs and cats that are in pain, we suggest making them a comfortable space where they can easily reach their food and water and use the bathroom.

Always speak with your veterinarian about pain medications for your dog or cat and never self medicate without knowing the correct dosage and that the medication you are offering your pet is safe for them.

Try and keep stresses away from pets who are healing from something painful. For example, if you have small children in the home, remind them to be gentle and quiet, and try and keep your pet still and rested.

Don’t allow healthy pets to play too roughly with your sick or injured pet until you know they are healed and ready.

How Else Can You Help Prevent and Manage Your Pet’s Pain?

Petsadena Animal Hospital suggests scheduling routine veterinarian checkups for your four-legged family members.

Preventative care is one of the best ways you can help keep your pet happy and healthy and living a long and happy life with you.

For more on animal pain management, visit us at

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