Is Your Pet in Pain?

Dogs hide their tooth painAnimals naturally hide their pain to protect themselves from predators. Subtle changes in behavior may be the only clues that your pet is suffering.

Symptoms include:

  • Abnormal chewing, bad breath, or face rubbing
  • Excessive head shaking
  • Sudden weight change
  • Lack of grooming
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in posture
  • Lagging on walks
  • Difficulty getting up
  • Lethargy or restlessness
  • Excessive licking, especially at joints
  • Reluctance to be touched

If you notice these or other changes in your pet, have your pet examined by your family veterinarian.


There are many safe treatment options for reducing your pet’s pain. Traditionally, steroids have been used to decrease pain caused by inflammation, but because of possible side effects and the availability of much more effective options, they generally aren’t used for prolonged periods.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like aspirin are often used following surgery and to treat chronic, orthopedic-related pain with fewer side effects. Aspirin should not be used without specific instructions from your veterinarian.

Nutritional supplements and complementary therapies, such as acupuncture may also help, depending on the type of pain your pet is experiencing.

Never try to treat your pet yourself. Some painkillers, including acetaminophen (found in Tylenol and other brands), or combinations of medications can be toxic to pets in very small doses. Do not give your pet any medication without consulting your veterinarian.