Recognizing Pain In Dogs

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A dog cannot tell you when they are in pain.  They cannot come up to you and tell you where it hurts.  Wouldn’t life be easier if they could.

Our dogs are a part of the family.  They listen to our tears and wag their tales to express their joy in our return.  If we pay close attention to them, we can tell when they hurt.  There are clues to watch for.

Expressions of a Diabetic Dog in Pain

A dog in pain may grimace or stare blankly into space.  They may appear to be constantly sleepy or drowsy.

It may appear that their eyes don’t focus well and their pupils are larger than normal.

A dog in pain may pant when at rest and sleep more on their side than did before.

A diabetic dog in pain may hunch their shoulder.

Grooming and Appearance

A diabetic dog in pain may flatten their ears against their head.  This may be very subtle in dog whose ears are not normally upright.

The coat on a dog in pain may lack shine or luster.  The hair may stand up in clumpy areas.

They may lick excessively or bite themselves.  They may continually scratch themselves (often till they bleed or pull out hair).

Behavior Changes

A normally peaceful and friendly dog may behave differently when they are in pain.  They may growl or hiss. When the pain is unrelieved, they may even bite.

A dog in pain may eat or drink less than normal.  They may withdraw from normal activities.  A diabetic dog in pain may sleep more than normal.

A dog in pain even have lapses in housebreaking.


It may not always be easy to recognize a dog in pain.  But if you watch for the symptoms in this the other article and other articles in this series, you will soon be a master at recognizing pain in your dog.

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