He cannot tell you he is in pain, how can you tell if your dog is suffering?

Imagine that your dog is suffering constantly, and you don’t even know about it. Pretty scary, huh? For a start, do not blame yourself–recognizing that something isn’t right with your dog is not always an easy task. 

Not many people know that dogs are “eroes by nature”, meaning they hide their pain as part of their behavioral norm. But, most of the time, serious pain is something that can be detected with just a closer look and a dash of awareness.

Starting from the base...

Pain is a very common, uncomfortable feeling that tells you that something may be wrong. But it also means you’re alive, so that’s good. Pain can be steady, stabbing, aching, throbbing, or pinching, or it can be described in many other ways. The more “medical” description would be: The activation of the nervous system from the peripheral nerves to the brain. Pain can also bring about other physical symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, or even general weakness or drowsiness.

Different kinds of pain

Pain is classified in two groups: acute and chronic.

Acute pain is generally intense and relatively short lasting. It is the body’s way of pointing to an injury or localized tissue damage.

Chronic pain, on the other hand, lasts far longer. It often cannot be resolved, or perhaps only after a long process. It can be mild or severe, and either continuous, as in arthritis, or intermittent, as in migraines.

How can I recognize pain in my dog if he’s hiding it?

Great question! In this section we will give you a few quick tips and pointers regarding how to recognize pain and we’ll present some options of treatment.

Lack of energy

This could be a strong indication of pain or some other health issue. If your dog is usually a loaded energy bomb and now he seems more like an empty balloon, there is a considerable chance that he is in pain.


You don’t need to be a vet to notice any kind of swelling or inflammation on your pet’s body. If you recognize an abnormal color on your dog’s skin or a strange large shape at her joints it is most probably a major source of pain.

Biting and aggressive behavior

Biting the ones around them or even themselves could be a sign of pain or discomfort. When a dog is suffering, it is very likely that he won’t let you come near him and will act rather aggressively.

Eyes don’t lie

Very often when a dog experiences pain, his eyes get bloodshot and his pupils dilated. Look deep inside his eyes to detect tracks of pain and to figure out what he really feels.

Let the tail tell

This widely-known and popular indication of a dog’s well-being can also be very effective. If your dog’s tail is folded between his legs, he is likely hiding important information about the state of his health.

What to do?

There are generally five classes of pain-reducing alternatives you can provide to your furry friend. Steroids, NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), opioids, nutraceuticals, and, of course, holistic alternatives. However, as with any medication (and especially with NSAIDS such as many of the pain-relieving “arthritis medications”) there can be occasional adverse reactions. These reactions variate from subtle ones to more severe or even unusual.


Another option, that is becoming more and more popular these days, is homeopathic remedies.And more precisely–CBD. If your dog suffers from chronic pain, such as inflammatory or neuropathic pain, it is very likely that it’s not only his physical well-being that is being damaged; it usually also comes with a great emotional cost. Several clinical studies conducted in recent years have demonstrated the analgesic effects of cannabinoids (compounds of CBD) in human conditions, and these may be also highly effective for dogs. These conditions include  pain associated with diabetes, chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. Moreover, these remedies are relatively safe, completely natural, and rarely have side effects (if they do occur, side effects will disappear once the use is stopped).

However, in cases of acute pain (dental pain, postoperative pain, etc.) cannabinoids have shown lack of effectiveness and therefore will not provide a good solution.

What NOT to do?

Do not, in any case, give your dog over-the-counter medications for humans. It will do more damage than good.


Now that you have the tools and the knowledge to act, it is only up to you. Will you be a good parent to another happy dog?

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