September is Animal Pain Awareness Month. This is an important topic for pet owners. Pets can’t tell us when something is hurting them. In some cases, such as a visible wound or a limp, it’s easy to tell that something is off. However, many of our furry companions instinctively try to hide signs of illness or weakness, which can make it harder to tell if something is off. In this article, a Springville, UT vet goes over some of the major red flags to be aware of.
Some signs of pain are common in all of our animal friends. These include visible limping, trembling, lack of appetite, withdrawal, grumpiness, unusual posture or stride, stiffness, and reduced interest in play. Vomiting and diarrhea are red flags as well. You may also notice changes in your pet’s usual behavior, routine, or vocalizations. Normally-friendly dogs may whine or whimper, or may snarl or growl if touched. Cats may meow more, less, or differently than usual. For instance, a kitty that is usually quiet may suddenly start yowling a lot, while one that is usually a furry little chatterbox may become quiet. Your four-legged friend may also be less affectionate than usual, and may spend more time sleeping than they normally would.
One warning sign to watch for in dogs is heavy, unexplained panting. It’s normal for Fido to be a little out of breath if it’s really hot out or if he just spent the last 15 minutes playing Fetch or chasing a squirrel around the yard. However, if he’s just relaxing in his bed, he should be breathing easily and quietly. Your canine pal may seem like he’s having a hard time getting comfortable, and he may not feel much like playing. Dogs also sometimes incessantly lick or bite at sore spots.
Cats are usually pretty good about grooming themselves, but they don’t always keep up with their beauty rituals when they aren’t feeling well. Before long, this will result in a dull, unkempt-looking coat. Fluffy may also overgroom herself and/or bite or scratch uncharacteristically. Litterbox issues can be warning signs: a sick or hurt cat may stop using her litterbox, and/or may have trouble relieving herself.
If you know or suspect that your furry pal is in pain, please contact us right away. As your local Springville, UT pet clinic, we’re here to help!