6 Signs Your Dog is Secretly Living with Pain
In a life dwindling between sorrow and joy, dogs have seldom contributed to sorrows. Dogs have been psychologically proven to be an effective source of therapy for depression-stricken people all across the world. But, have you ever stood still and paid attention for a while that these ever so happy souls, bundles of joy; sprinkling happiness everywhere, could be in pain too? Of course not, for, unlike humans, dogs have not known to fabricate their feelings in innumerable modes of speech. They are simple, mute, but expressive creatures. They expect the same attention and understandability from you, as they give you on your hard days. All it ever takes is that undivided attention, to follow those subtle changes; for they would never make any weakness apparent to you as you do!!
“Puppy faces” have been deceiving humans since a long time now. Dogs do know how to persuade their parents; they know how to put up a show. Dogs are descendants of the wild wolves, and long before they were domesticated by homo sapiens, they acquired and imbibed the ‘law of the jungle’. Anything that makes them weak or vulnerable for the perpetrator will never be showcased in front of the world, and our dogs take pride in this evolved trait in them over the years. They would rather live with the pain than make it apparent to their enemy. So, secretly living with pain is a way of life for them.
But, does that make them deserving of the pain? OR does that mean a pet parent has to let the doggo be, in pain?
No, like your infant knows no language, but to cry at every little obstacle in life, your domesticated dogs would be hinting here and there for help! They consider you family, more than you’d ever do! In this materialistic world, all they need is patience and attention, and if you look closely, everything will be right in front of you.
Pains are essentially of two types; Acute and Chronic. Acute pain is a result of observed trauma faced by the dog. The symptoms showcased are progressive, it is not very dangerous, from a pet parent’s point of view, for it is physically visible to the eyes... For eg, a car hitting the dog; would result in some physical injury, that would take days or months to heal either by surgery or medications.
Chronic pain is an underlying pain, this is part of the unobserved trauma of a dog’s life. The symptoms of such pain are subtle; thus, this is a more dangerous kind since it would be gradually developing and a pet parent would never know until it has become too big of a deal to handle. Such as, arthritis or cancer.
Thus, nobody but you, can figure out and keep a tap on these subtle psychological, physical or behavioural changes. Vets can provide you with the required tailor-made medication or solution to the problem, but the responsibility of identifying, informing and communicating that problem is yours. Thus, it is extremely important to look for changes, subtle or crude!
Ever heard of the phrase “like a wounded animal” !? When a sports player or anybody in general, shows aggression when deeply hurt, it echoes the same sense of aggression an animal showcases when it is hurt. The reflex reaction of any animal in case of a crisis is to safeguard oneself and hide it from the world, or that part of its body that is hurt. They use aggression as an important tool to keep the perpetrator at bay from them. Sometimes, they even do it with their pet parents. If you feel that they are suddenly snapping on touching a particular body part or as a whole, it is a sign. There can be instances when they even go on to scare and bite the pet parent or others if provoked more than necessary. Thus, it should be considered a sign for the pet parent, that their pooch is wounded.
Only dog lovers will agree that dogs can talk. Have you ever heard aged street dogs howling? The howling is their expression of pain.They use a mix of varied tones and vocalisations, intensity and vibrations to communicate their mood. Not just the normative bark, they whine, yelp, growl and snarl in the presence of their pet parent. They will try to make more assertive sounds, to grab your attention. Keep a keen observation on these voices and if you find something fishy, contact your pet for a full-body check-up immediately.
Dogs have borrowed this tip from hoomans! Like humans, dogs tend to make themselves distant too, if they are not feeling too well.
On the surface level, their body is already too exhausted to fight the wound or disease, so they feel more enervated than usual. On the interior level, particularly if the disease is chronic, dogs tend to sense the depleted sense of capabilities, thus their mood drops, they do not even like to roam around.
It also is a way to grab the attention of their hoomans. Dogs become more and more lazy and immobile as if mobility is a pain for them.
As a pet parent, you need to keep your pet’s spirits high, but it is also important to respect when their body is not allowing them to exert. It is futile to force them and aggravate them even more. If this state of lethargy is becoming a habit, contact your Vet on an urgent basis.
LOSS OF APPETITE
Again a trait not new to human beings. Food and water are the only sources of energy for an organism, but the body uses some energy to ingest that food too. Thus, even ingesting that food becomes an issue, if the body of an animal is already occupied with combating diseases.
If there is an oral issue that the dog is dealing with, then they would not just eat less, but drop food from the mouth completely. All of their energy source is lost. The joy of eating is lost in pain.
Only a Vet can be a good judge and suggest the appropriate cure for the issue.
The sleep cycle would be deeply affected making the dog all the more prone to diseases. They either sleep more than usual, or not sleep as much as they usually do.
EXCESSIVE SELF GROOMING
The dog’s body would use its inbuilt defense mechanism, like any instinctual being, the first reflex would be to clean the wound, and that is what they do by licking it. However, if the pain is internal, they would increasingly pet, or lick their paws to pacify themselves of the pain they have been dealing with. They use it as a way to calm their nerves, as opposed to an ailing body.
Particularly when there is any Chronic disease, the dog would switch to breathing and panting heavily. It draws extra energy in the form of oxygen to provide for the diseased body. You may even notice a change in the movement of the abdominal muscles and/or those of the chest, which makes for the most important muscles for breathing.
This deeply affects the heart and pulse rate, making the body tremble and shake too. These symptoms cannot be ignored by a pet parent, and the pet should be immediately rushed to a Vet.
“It is all in the eyes, Chico!”
Hide as much as they wish to, they cannot remove it from those eyes. A dog in pain shows physical changes in the shape of pupil and eye that could be seen as communicators for the pet parent.
Pain in the eye calls for larger or smaller (constricted pupils) while pain in any other part of the body would call for a larger (dilated) pupil.
Dogs in pain will also frequently squint, and may also paw at their eye(s) or drag them along the carpet or furniture. If their eyes are in pain, the affected eye(s) may also appear bloodshot.
Body Posture or Body contour changes
Swelling, be it on your dog’s legs, body, or face, can be an indication of a painful situation. It could be anything like, infection, inflammation, cancer, or others.For example, a swelling on the top of your dog's muzzle or underside of their jaw, or even swelling around one of their eyes, can be an indication of a tooth root abscess. In such a painful condition, many dogs will still eat normally though, but still need veterinary care to address.
BATHROOM CHANGESDogs who have back pain, for any reason, make it apparent with the posture needed to defecate. So, they may struggle to go to the bathroom. Sometimes dogs with back pain can even become constipated in the process, though pain itself can also lead to slowed motility of the intestines, and thus lead directly to constipation, too. Male dogs with back pain may also change their "peeing posture" due to either back or back leg pain, as it can be more difficult or painful for them to lift their leg to assume the typical male dog peeing posture.
PAIN MANAGEMENT APPROACH
As is evidenced, it is extremely important to look for early signs, if at all, in your pooches. As a dog parent, you must be well aware and observant when it comes to your furries, and only then can you be an instrumental communicator for your dogs. The type of pain, it’s duration and any comorbidity should be effectively communicated to the Vet.The signs could be feigning in the beginning, but it only aggravates with time. So, any kind of casualty can lead to fatal results. Multiple fatal diseases are borne out of these ordinary symptoms or signs. Even Canine depression has the same roots. Being there for pets solve n number of problems, this rounds to emotional wellness and physical well being. You can look for the best products from pet store online to keep them active and motivated.