Dog Pain Symptoms

Dogs can suffer from a wide range of diseases, and pain accompanies many of these. It's essential to be able to identify dog pain, so as to be able to apply treatment and relieve the pain. Monitor the dog's behavior and note the symptoms to help the vet detect the disease. The most common signs of pain in dogs include behavior changes, trembling, whining or licking and biting the affected area.

Behavior Changes

Your dog's behavior may change when he is in pain.

  • He may start chewing excessively and may bark or become aggressive. A dog in pain may even bite his owner.
  • A dog that is in pain may be suffering from anxiety and stress. He will be restless and display uncontrollable behavior.
  • Your dog may be depressed due to pain. This will manifest through refusal to eat, sleepiness, lethargy, slow movements and lack of interest in games or activities.

Please note that dogs may have bad days too, so if your dog is aggressive or depressed and his mood improves the next day, this is normal.


A dog in pain may be trembling. A dog that is experiencing fear or has been exposed to extreme temperatures (both high and low) can be trembling as well. If you rule out these reasons, you should visit the vet to determine why your dog is in pain.

Excessive Licking or Biting

Excessive licking or biting of a certain area may indicate dog pain. He tries to relieve the pain by licking the affected area. The dog may give you a clue regarding the location of the pain, which can help in diagnosing the problem.

Whining or Vocalization

When a dog is in pain, he may be whining. However, this may not occur in all dogs, as certain dogs have a higher pain threshold and will suffer without whining.

Sudden Collapse

A dog in pain may fall or stumble around the house. You should visit the vet as soon as you notice any of these symptoms.

Lack of Appetite

When in pain, a dog will refuse to eat and may even lose weight. If you notice that your dog refuses to eat for more than 48 hours, you should get some tests done.

Breathing Abnormalities

Pain can be signaled by an abnormal breathing rate. An adult dog has a rate of 18 to 20 breaths per minute. A dog in pain may have a more superficial breathing, and he may be panting or experiencing shortness of breath.

If you notice any of these signs you should consult the vet. Don't exercise the dog and avoid any stress factors. Try to identify the time when the first symptoms occurred. Some symptoms may be intermittent, while others may be continuous. Watch out for any other symptoms such as discharges from the eyes, nose and ears, swelling, rashes, coughing, sneezing, hair loss, foul odor coming from the mouth or foul smelling urine and feces.