Stoic pets hide pain

By Susan Aiello • Published: May 1st, 2012
Category: Animal Airwaves

Limping, yowling and difficulty getting up tell us that our pets are in pain. But these obvious signs are only the tip of the iceberg.

Dogs and cats carry instincts from their wild ancestors, and these instincts tell them to hide discomfort. So we need to look for more subtle signs. These can be as simple as chewing or licking a sore spot, a decrease in self-grooming, weight loss or gain or any change in behavior.

Suffering pets may become restless, unusually quiet or needy. They may shun our touch or snap when handled. Panting or restless sleeping can also indicate pain.

Veterinarians are attuned to these signals and can help you find where your pet hurts. They can also draw on a modern armory of safe pain medications to help our furry friends feel better. So even if your special pal is stoic, you don’t have to be.