Signs That Your Dog is Hurting - Salt Lake Animal Physical Therapy
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Signs That Your Dog is Hurting

In this article, we have highlighted the not-so-obvious dog behaviors that indicate they are suffering an internal injury and are in immense pain.

Watching your usually playful, upbeat doggo retreat to one quiet corner of the house is not at all a pleasant sight. And even though this sudden shift in your dog’s behavior may be due to a hormonal change or mood swing, prolonged grumpiness or reluctance to participate in usual activities may have a much more critical angle to it that may need medical intervention.

Dogs with physical discomfort or in pain exhibit all kinds of behavior. From snarling aggressively to showing fearfulness or yelping. So, if you are here looking for answers to why your dog is behaving weirdly, then sit tight and read through.

Let’s start by looking at subtle to more prominent signs that your dog is in physical stress or likely, pain.

Behavioral Symptoms of Pain in Dogs

  • Drastic Change in Dog’s Behavior

    If your usually cheerful dog who loves running around, greets you with excitement when you come back home, is suddenly subdued and cut off, it may be due to physical discomfort or pain that is causing the change in the behavior.
  • Reacting Poorly to Touch
    Honestly, there is nothing more refreshing than to
    have your pet cuddle you. Dogs love it too! But if your four-legged buddy has been avoiding any physical contact lately or becomes aggressive upon being touched, then take it as a sign of possible injury. Some of the common reactions would be whining and stiffening. Upon touching some specific areas of the body, especially the affected area, they may yelp, bark or growl back as well.
  • Not Interested in Playing
    If your dog, who on another day would not cease to stop playing, is suddenly reluctant to go out or is not excited about the usual play-time ritual, then you should probably see a vet if the pattern is reoccurring. The onset of painful ailments may be causing this change in desire to participate in activities.

Talk to a dog PT on the phone about your dog’s pain:

  • Grows Cranky as Day Ends
    It is a common phenomenon that dogs with underlying physical ailments or injuries act normal in the daytime, but as the day starts receding, they grow grumpy. This happens because the toll of the day’s activities starts surfacing as the body goes into the rest mode. This is common with dogs with primitive stage arthritis.
  • Inconsistent Behavior
    When physical health conditions such as arthritis are still in their early stages, they may trouble your dog on some days, while other days may not affect your dog at all. This inconsistency in pain directly impacts the dog’s behavior. On the pain-free days they may be their usual self, while on other not-so-good days, they may show aggressive behavior, disconnect, or disinterest.
  • Lost Appetite
    A dog may refuse to eat for many reasons. But pain or severe physical discomfort can be one of the many factors causing the lack of appetite.
  • Post-Activity Grumpiness
    Physical injuries in dogs tend to worsen after exercise or running. Especially dogs that do not get a regular workout rather occasional bouts of strenuous exercise. They go through immense discomfort as their body cools down when resting after exercise.
  • Sudden Aggressive Behavior
    Pain brings the worst out of us. And dogs are no different. Pain can trigger aggressive behavior in dogs. It is easy to recognize this in more friendly dogs who rarely show aggression. But unfortunately, for dogs branded hot-headed; Pit Bulls, and Rottweilers, the aggressive behavior is mistaken for their natural tendencies, and the real problem goes uninvestigated.
  • Avoids Socializing with Other Pets
    If your dog is keeping distance from other pets or dogs lately, they may be doing it to avoid aggravating their already painful injury. Some younger dogs are relentless in their playful pursuits. So, your dog might be avoiding the hyper dog’s company to keep themselves safe.

What are some common conditions that cause pain?


  1. Apart from a fracture from a fall or accident, Arthritis in dogs is one of the most prominent issues that causes joint pain in larger breeds such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, German shepherds, and so on.
  2. Another common issue is CCL injury or Cranial Cruciate Ligament injuries. It can happen due to genetics, aging, overexertions, injuries, lack of a good diet, etc.
  3. Finally, IVDD is another severe concern that causes issues with the spine and is very painful.

What can you do about the dog’s pain?


First Aid
These behaviors range from subtle to prominent. But in all cases, you should be vigilant of your dog’s movement and behavior patterns. If these behaviors persist, seeing an expert Vet should be the priority, ensuring the underlying issues do not spiral out of control.

At Home Care
Apart from starting with the first aid, which is to see a vet, limit or avoid the physical movement, and make sure your dog stays hydrated at all times. Bring home a padded, comfortable sleeping bed to provide the necessary cushion for avoiding friction of the bones against the floor. Friction against hard surfaces can worsen painful conditions.

See a Pet Physical Therapists
As much as these home tips can help you reduce the chances of aggravating the injury, nonetheless, you need to seek a professional physical therapist for dogs. Whether it is a fractured bone, spine-related issues, CCL, or dog arthritis, timely physical therapy can help your canines recover from these issues in a more wholesome manner and live a pain-free life.