Dog Pain Symptom Diagnosis

A pain symptom can point to different health problems a dog is affected by. It can be relieved by administering some pain medication or NSAIDs, but the source of pain should be identified. The pain symptom diagnosis can be made judging by the area that is painful and recognizing other symptoms displayed by the dog. Auxiliary tests should be performed to have a clear diagnosis.

Signs and Symptoms of Canine Pain

A dog in pain may display a few signs and symptoms which shouldn't be ignored. These include:

  • Whining, howling, groaning or whimpering
  • Hiding behavior
  • Unusually quiet
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Irritability, especially when touched
  • Staring
  • Dilated pupils
  • Flattened ears
  • Panting while resting
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Lack of appetite

In addition to these signs, the dog may also display different symptoms which can point to the actual health problem causing the pain.


The dog may experience pain all over his body, or the pain may be localized in a single spot. This can be an indicator of what the dog may be suffering from. For instance, if the pain is located in the dog's feet, he may limp or avoid performing certain activities. The pain may be due to arthritis, hip problems, fractures or a tumor that affects the bones. 

Possible Causes of Pain

There are numerous problems that can cause pain in canines. The most common causes may include:

  • Arthritis, which can be genetic or due to old age, and may cause limping and difficulty performing certain movements.
  • Muscle problems such as a pulled muscle, which will also prevent the dog from moving.
  • Bone fractures or sprains.
  • Ear infections, which will cause the dog to scratch his ears or shake his head.
  • Eye problems such as infections, ulcerations or glaucoma, which will cause the dog to scratch his eyes and face, or rub his face against furniture or other surfaces.
  • Dental problems which will cause excessive drooling, halitosis and lack of appetite.
  • Digestive problems which can be caused by a change in diet or the ingestion of something that is inedible and may cause intestinal obstruction that will lead to abdominal pain. The dog will lick his abdominal and rectal area.
  • Migraines which will cause the dog to stare or keep his eyes shut or shake his head.
  • Anal sac problems which will make the dog lick his anal area, and frequently look backwards.
  • Urinary or bladder infections which can cause pain, especially when urinating, and the dog may whine or howl due to pain. He may also urinate in the home.

Auxiliary Tests

To have a clear diagnosis, the vet will perform auxiliary tests. These will be dictated by the symptoms displayed by the dog and may include a complete blood count, urinalysis, radiographs, ultrasounds or other specific tests.