Pain is surely one of the most unpleasant experiences that may affect any living creature. People can just use words to say when they are in pain, but things get much more complicated when it comes to animals.
First of all, pets are not able to express their pain with words and they cannot communicate directly to their owners and say what they feel. Secondly, pets usually hide their pain and may behave quite usual showing no signs of any ache. Animals hide their pain instinctively, as in the wild a sick or injured animal is quite vulnerable and they need to look strong to protect themselves from predators.
Causes of Pain
There are two common types of pain: acute (sudden onset) and chronic (ongoing). Acute pain is quite easy to identify and they include pains after surgical operations, blow-to-the-body traumas, inflammations from animal bite wounds or an abscessed tooth. Chronic pain is more difficult to identify. It can be caused by arthritis or cancer first of all, as well as some chronic wounds, chronic pancreatitis, long-term ear disease or some dental disease.
Signs of Pain
Our pets are not used to vocalize their pain, they don’t cry or whine about what they really feel. But it doesn’t mean that our cats and dogs don’t suffer from pain at all. On the contrary, it is now well known that animals feel the pain nearly exactly the same way as humans do, even though they may not display any obvious sign of distress. Animals show their pain in certain actions and behaviors that may seem subtle to us. So you need to be something like “detectives” to determine whether or not your pet is in pain.
Below are some signs showing that your pet might be in pain:
- Lack or excessive grooming
- Heavy panting
- Abnormal chewing habits
- Loss of appetite
- Drastic weight gain or loss
- Decreased activity
- Reluctance to move
- Hesitance to climb
- Shyness or aggression
- Changes in eye brightness
- Licking, biting or hiding a particular area of body
- Not using the litter box
- Fleas and skin lesions
- Reduced social interactions with the family
- Hiding or seeking isolation
These signs can help reveal serious diseases that your cat or dog may have and start proper treatment in time. You should not forget about regular wellness exams that allow evaluating your pet’s general health and discovering any health problems before they become serious illnesses. You are your pet’s caregiver and guardian who knows his furry friend better than anyone else. So if you noticed some changes in your pet’s behavior, do not ignore them because you can save your dog’s or cat’s life and relieve them from suffering. And by keeping our pets happy, we keep ourselves happy too.