Whenever your dog behaves in a way you don't understand, and during any trip to the vet, you probably wish your dog could talk - that way, you'd be sure of what's going on. However, while your pet can't chat the way humans can, his body language will often tell you what he's thinking. For instance, there are plenty of subtle but useful indicators that he may be in pain - and spotting these can help you catch problems early.
Behavioural changes are common among dogs in pain. Normally docile dogs can become aggressive, while others can attempt to avoid human contact - both because they want to avoid further pain. Others, meanwhile, might constantly seek affection in order to make themselves feel better.
Posture and sitting
If you notice your pooch sitting oddly, limping, or moving in an unusual way, that's another potential indicator of pain. After all, it may be uncomfortable for them to put weight on a certain part of their body.
Your pooch's eyes can tell you about pain anywhere in your dog's body. For instance, if his eyes hurt, he may well squint, or his pupils will be appear smaller, or his eyes might be bloodshot. If somewhere else in his body hurts, however, his pupils may dilate.
Eating and drinking habits
Just as in humans, eating and drinking habits can be affected by pain. Often if your pooch feels unwell, his appetite will drop, while if his mouth hurts he may drop food from his mouth as a result. It also could be painful for him to get up and visit food and water bowls.
Dogs often lick their wounds to help them heal and make themselves feel better, but did you know they do that with invisible sore spots too? So, for instance, if they have aching joints, they can sometimes lick them persistently to try to heal them, just as they would with a cut.
It's important to remember that these signs don't necessarily mean your dog is definitely in pain. But, if you notice one or more and you are concerned about your pet, always take him to the vet.
Written by: Hannah Dyball