September is Animal Pain Awareness Month
To celebrate Animal Pain Awareness Month, our Chandler vet would like to share some tips about recognizing pain in pets. Identifying discomfort in pets can be difficult because it can be hard for pets to communicate with owners. Cats especially can be very elusive when it comes to communicating with owners, so it’s important that you keep a close eye on their behavior. Our pets may experience pain and discomfort for a long time before owners realize that there may be an issue. Here at Pet Doctor X, we are passionate about educating our clients on how to take the best possible care of their pets, and part of that is knowing when your pet is in pain. Here are some common signs that your pet is in distress:
Reluctancy to Eat
If your pet is refusing food, ignoring their food bowl, or if they don’t seem to care about treats, they might be having some pain. Decreased appetite is a common and early sign that your pet is in distress. If your pet refuses or reluctantly eats one of their favorite treats, don’t force them to eat it. There is always a reason your pet doesn’t want their food, even if it is just as simple as them being full from their last meal. If your pet hasn’t eaten in a while or if they refuse food for long periods of time, call our Chandler vet. This could be a sign that your pet is having a health issue, and should be taken very seriously. Call our office so that we can ask some questions about your pet and recommend further instructions for your pet. We may advise that you bring them in for an exam to make sure nothing is wrong.
Trouble Walking or Sitting
A change in gait can be one of the more obvious signs that your pet is in pain. Many animals develop joint pain and arthritis as they get older, but that doesn’t mean you need to accept their pain. There are plenty of treatments available to help manage your pet’s discomfort so that they can live a long and comfortable life. Some pain when walking or a change in posture can be attributed to other health issues, especially if your pet is still very young. If you notice that they have a mobility issue, or if they are favoring one side over the other, they may have an underlying health issue or an injury. Talk to our team about any sudden change in your pet’s gait or posture.
If your pet has suddenly exhibited a change in behavior, or if they seem more antisocial than usual, they may be experiencing underlying pain. Behavioral changes can be your pet’s way of trying to communicate with you, so it is important to take note of any sudden changes in patterns. Cats will most likely become withdrawn or they may urinate in unusual areas to help let their human know that something is wrong. A cat with arthritis may be less inclined to go down the stairs to their litter box, or they may become more aggressive in an attempt to protect their body from further discomfort. Dogs will most likely be more forward with their pain, and they may even try to communicate it to you. Dogs that have sudden behavior changes could whine, whimper, or even become aggressive. An animal in pain will not know how to soothe themselves, and they could develop some behavioral issues. Some animals may become anti-social if they are uncomfortable, and they may shy away from family members, other animals, and guests. If you notice your pet acting out of the ordinary, call our Chandler vet to schedule a visit.
Lethargy & Low Energy
It is totally normal for our pets to take frequent naps throughout the day, but excessive sleeping or laziness could be a sign of a sick pet. Lethargic pets will be uninterested in activity, they may be uninterested in toys or companionship, or they may just lay around the house all day. This condition is frequently related to an underlying health issue, and can often be accompanied by other signs of discomfort. If your pet is frequently lethargic, bring them in for a physical examination and diagnostic testing. They may have an underlying condition that makes it difficult to stay energized without proper health management.
Chewing, Licking, and Grooming
Excessive grooming could be your pet’s way of trying to manage their discomfort. Frequently chewing on their skin and licking themselves could be an indicator that your pet is in pain. Grooming constantly can usually be a sign that your pet has an allergy or skin condition. This can be due to things like diet, environment, other animals, or a wide range of factors. Skin irritation can be incredibly uncomfortable for your pet, but it can often be managed through simple changes or medication. Neglecting a skin issue can be potentially dangerous for your pet because they may scratch and chew until they break skin, which could then lead to an infection. Excessive licking may also be a sign of a UTI or infection, which can only be treated with medication. Help manage your pet’s discomfort by bringing them in for a visit when you notice them frequently grooming.
Be your pet’s best advocate by being proactive with their veterinary care. If you think your pet may be experiencing discomfort or pain, a visit to our Chandler vet can provide you with some clarity. It is always safer to overreact than to neglect an underlying issue, so make sure that you call our office to express your concerns. We can offer some advice on what may be triggering your pet’s discomfort and recommend the appropriate treatment to help relieve or reduce their discomfort. Pain and discomfort can be managed depending on the severity and the source, so talk to our team about your pet’s behavior.