How to Identify Pet Pain
Our pets may not walk, talk, or behave like us, but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel pain in much the same way as humans. Over the past few decades, veterinary science has made tremendous strides in the areas of pet pain prevention and management.
At Animal Medical Hospital, we believe the best way to empower pet owners is through education. September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, so now is the perfect opportunity to delve deeper into the issue of pet pain.
Signs of Pet Pain
Unfortunately, our pets can’t tell us when they’re hurting. Combine this with the fact that dogs and cats are hardwired to hide signs of illness or injury, it can sometimes be extremely difficult to tell when a pet is in pain. Your pet’s regular wellness exams are a good opportunity for us to assess your pet for signs of trouble, but your observations at home are just as important.
Common signs of pet pain include:
- Panting (more than usual)
- Increased vocalization (crying, yelping, whining, or yowling)
- Obsessive licking or grooming of a specific area
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Loss of appetite
- Snapping or growling when touched
- Seeming unsettled or uncomfortable
- Limping or favoring one side
You know your pet better than anyone else, and paying close attention to their daily habits, routines, and quirks can help you detect minor changes that may indicate your pet is struggling.
A Focus on Pain Management
Pain is not only uncomfortable for a pet, it can actually impair the healing process by lowering immunity and decreasing appetite. The sooner your pet’s pain is diagnosed, the sooner your pet can get the relief they deserve, which is why it’s important to call us if you notice anything “off” with your pet.
As an AAHA-accredited hospital, we’re highly skilled in recognizing and treating pet pain. We can help develop a tailored plan that utilizes a combination of treatment modalities, such as medication, laser therapy, rehabilitation, and nutritional therapy.
A Cozy Respite
Just like with humans, an animal’s successful recovery depends largely on the pain management care they receive at home. Create a comfortable, low-stress environment by making sure your pet has the following:
- A soft, warm bed set up in a quiet spot
- Easy access to the essentials (food, water, litter box, etc.)
- Situate your pet so they don’t have to navigate stairs or other difficult terrain in order to relieve themselves outside
- Make sure your pet has plenty of opportunities for rest and recuperation
- Follow your veterinarian’s instructions for pain relief