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10 Signs Your Pet is in Pain

Our furbabies, obviously, can’t tell you when they are hurting. So, it might be hard for us to know when they are in pain. But, there are some signs your pet is in pain that you can watch for.

You are the one that knows your pet the best and it will be up to you to figure it out.

10 Signs Your Pet is in Pain

10 Signs Your Pet is in Pain

Acute Pain

Acute pain isn’t hard to figure out.

If your pet has had an accident or been hit by a car, it may be limping or bleeding.

Obviously, you can see that your pet is in pain and needs immediate help!

Chronic Pain

On the other hand, can sometimes be hard for us to figure out.

It can also build up slowly in older pets, especially arthritis.

You have heard me talk about my senior girl, Sallie, and her arthritis. Between her back hips and her knees, sometimes the pain takes a toll on her.

However, you are the best judge of your pet.

If they are acting differently or strangely, it’s time to do some investigating!

Dogs and cats are good at hiding pain.

It is their natural instinct to NOT let others know when they are hurting.

When pets are out on their own, it makes them seem weak to other animals which might hurt them.

Some pets will hide it, but others maybe not.

I think my dogs are in the latter group. They are very good at telling me when they are in pain!

Subtle Signs my Dogs Use

Sallie is a mama’s girl so, when she doesn’t feel good or is in pain, she hovers close to me all day.

She becomes very clingy!

When her hips are being extra painful, I can see her struggling to get up and down.

She also gets cranky, or should I say crankier, with the other dogs.

Vet looking into a Collie's ear

Ozzy struggles with ear infections.

When his ears are bothering him, he will come to me and lay his head on my lap or rubs his ear on my lap.

My big boy Seager seems to hurt his front legs a lot while running and playing.

He has had more sprains than any of the others put together. Go figure!

Anyway, he will come to me and wave his paw at me like – look, Mom, it’s hurt! Do something!

Just to stress – these are all subtle signs that others may not pick up on.

They may think my dogs are just being cute, but to me as their dog Mom, they are all signs something is wrong and they are telling me about it.

Be Aware of these Signs your Pet is in Pain

  • Some pets may act withdrawn and may be unusually quiet.
  • They may sleep a lot.
  • Others may act agitated and restless and/or they can’t get comfortable.
  • Is your pet having trouble getting up or down? Are they not jumping on the furniture? Have they quit climbing the stairs? (Sallie can no longer jump up on the couch or climb stairs because of her arthritis). We have adjusted with ramps for her.
  • Some pets might whine or whimper. Dogs may even howl. Cats may meow constantly.
  • Furbabies may also lick and chew at the spot that is hurting.
  • They may lose their appetite and quit eating.
  • They might not want to run and play no more 🙁
  • Some may want a lot more attention than usual (like Sallie)
  • Some may behave in a way they usually don’t – like snapping or showing unusual aggression (furbabies get crabby when they are ill just like we do).
White cat with eyes closed sitting by window

You Know your Pet Best!

Since you live daily with your pet, you are the best judge of them!

You know how they usually act or don’t act.

So, if you believe your pet is in pain, you need to schedule a trip to the vet!

You wouldn’t want to lay around hurting and they need you to help them.

The vet can thoroughly examine them and possibly prescribe medication to help them feel better.

And, if they find nothing – well, it is always better to be safe than sorry!


Be careful when transporting a hurt pet!

Even pets that are not tragically hurt, but just feeling bad, can lash out.

Pain can make even the best-natured dogs act aggressively!

If your pet is seriously hurt or acting up, you may want to create a muzzle out of a strip of cloth just to be safe.

Have you ever wondered if your pet is in pain or feeling bad?

Molli Taylor

Wednesday 9th of March 2022

It is so hard with pets because we don't want to see them suffer but they cannot talk to us!

Marisela Zuniga

Wednesday 10th of June 2020

This is really important information to know about, thanks for sharing

ellen beck

Wednesday 23rd of August 2017

Good tips. Pets hide things so well at times. Unless you really pay attention the minor pain is easy to miss. I do cat rescue and even find it tough at times unless it is obvious distress.


Monday 2nd of January 2017

It is especially hard with cats because they hide their discomfort and can withdraw to be by themselves. Need to watch for behavioral changes.


Wednesday 8th of August 2012

some pets may act withdrawn and may be unusually quite...I think you meant quiet?


Friday 10th of August 2012

Thank you for letting me know LOL!

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