Cats and dogs are incredibly skilled at hiding subtle signs of discomfort and pain, often suffering for weeks, months, or sometimes years without complaint. To help pet owners identify pain in their four-legged friends, the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) has proclaimed September as Animal Pain Awareness Month. Our team at Wills Animal Hospital wants you to keep an eye out for these seven signs of pain in your pet, so you can get them relief at the first hint of discomfort.
#1: Decreased activity
Uncomfortable pets are less likely to participate in their favorite activities. Your senior pooch perhaps will not walk quite as far, or your elderly kitty shows little interest in batting around the robotic mouse.
#2: Reluctance to use stairs
Stairs are challenging for painful pets, especially those who have stiff elbows, hips, and knees. Your pet will be reluctant to use slick, slippery stairs, since their failure to gain traction often leads to an unpleasant fall.
#3: Difficulty standing after lying down
A common osteoarthritis sign is a difficulty standing after a period of rest. Most arthritic pets “warm-up” out of their discomfort, and will move more easily with low impact activity.
#4: Reluctance to jump
If your pet can’t jump onto their favorite cozy chair, or their usual spot on your bed, they’re likely suffering from pain. Cats, in particular, will be unable to jump onto their favored high perches if they’re uncomfortable.
#5: Decreased appetite
When you don’t feel well, you don’t eat, and the same goes for your furry pal. Plus, dental disease is common in pets, which can lead to sore gums, painful oral infections, or loose teeth.
#6: Over-grooming or licking a particular area
Pets who constantly lick a particular area may be trying to soothe a painful joint or bony prominence. Lick granulomas often form on wrists and hip bones, two commonly painful areas.
#7: Decreased socialization with the family
If your furry friend feels less than their best, they may avoid spending quality time with the family, and may growl, hiss, or nip when petted or groomed.
Fortunately, a wide variety of options are available to treat your pet’s acute or chronic pain. If your beloved companion appears uncomfortable, contact us to schedule an appointment, and we can help alleviate any pain.