How to Recognize When Your Pet is in Pain

dog lying down with cover

As caring and compassionate owners, we want to ensure that we are doing everything that we can to keep our pets looking and feeling fantastic. Unfortunately, our pet’s bodies are just as fragile as our own, and this means that they too can experience a range of different types of pain – from mild discomfort to acute stinging to chronic throbbing.

Recognizing when your pet is in pain is essential if you are to get him the help that he needs, but this is often easier said than done.

Symptoms that your pet is in pain

One of the most difficult things about identifying that our pet is in pain is the fact that they are naturally inclined to hide it. This is an instinct that harks back to when they lived in the wild, where any sign of weakness could make them vulnerable to predators. Although predators don’t really pose a threat to domestic animals, the habit is so ingrained in our pets that it is virtually impossible to break.

If and when symptoms of pain in your pet do make themselves known, they might include:

- Increased vocalization, such as whimpering, yelping, groaning and howling.

- Changes in behavior patterns, such as becoming aggressive or withdrawn.

- Loss of appetite and possible weight loss.

- Changes in sleeping patterns.

- Excessive or decreased thirst.

- Excessive grooming.

- Biting or scratching a particular part of his body.

- Refusal to participate in exercise.

- Limited mobility.

- Loss of housetraining capability.

By reading his body language and paying close attention to his behaviors, you may well be able to identify that he is in some pain – and you may even manage to have an idea why.

Why is my pet in pain?

There can be many different reasons why an animal is experiencing pain, many of them the same as our own causes of discomfort. Common reasons behind pet pain reported by veterinarians include: dental problems, infections, injuries, diseases such as arthritis, cancer and post-surgical pain. Just like us, some animals also suffer from pain for no determinable reason at all.

Treating pet pain

Exactly how to best treat your pet’s pain is largely dependent on what is causing it in the first place. If there is a determinable cause, it is normally best to treat this first as often this causes the symptoms of the underlying problem, including pain, to improve of their own accord.

When it comes to treating the pain itself, our vet may prescribe your furbaby some analgesic medications. However, there is an effective solution that doesn’t involve giving your pet drugs – laser therapy.

Pet laser therapy is a fairly new, but very successful non-invasive alternative to pain medications. Using a high-energy beam of light, the laser focuses specific wavelengths on to your pet’s body in order to stimulate the cells to repair themselves. In doing so, it is possible to treat both the underlying cause of your pet’s discomfort as well as dealing with the pain itself.

Laser therapy has been shown to be highly effective in treating pet pain caused by a variety of health problems including:

- Anal gland infections

- Arthritis

- Cystitis

- Degenerative disc disease

- Dental problems

- Ear infections

- Gingivitis

- Hip dysplasia

- Muscle, ligament and tendon damage

- Non-specific pain

- Post-operative pain

- Wound healing

Exactly how many sessions your pet will need will depend on the extent of his pain and how well he responds to the laser treatment. Our vet will be delighted to give you an approximate treatment timeline.

If you are concerned that your pet may be experiencing pain and you would like the advice of a professional, please contact our offices as soon as possible to arrange an appointment with our skilled, experienced veterinary team.

Providing the very best in veterinary care, and the ability to establish innovated programs.


Parkland Animal Clinic & Big Bear Pet Lodge​​​​​​​
8017 N. University Dr
Parkland, FL 33067

Fax: 954-757-3990