Recognizing Signs of Pain in Senior Dogs
As dogs grow older, you can expect to notice some changes in their behavior. In many cases, the changes are simply part of the natural aging process. The dog slows down, and the former playful nature gives way to more napping. Old age is not an illness, but there are situations where the dog may be in pain.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish between natural aging and illness. As a pet parent, you need to know that a behavior change can be a sign of pain. It is important to recognize signs of pain in senior dogs.
Your Dog Is Limping
If your old dog is limping, it is a sign of a problem. This is one of the most noticeable signs as your dog favors a particular leg. Limping and avoiding movement could be a sign of a fracture or sprain. It could also be something in the dog’s paw. Take your pet to the vet for care as soon as you notice the limp.
Reduced stamina or fatigue while playing or on walks can often be associated with old age. However, increased fatigue can be due to metabolic diseases like heart disease or hypothyroidism.
The dog may also be experiencing pain due to conditions such as osteoarthritis. If your senior dog is looking increasingly tired, it is vital to visit a veterinarian. An examination will help determine the cause of the fatigue.
If your senior dog is showing reluctance to be groomed, it could be due to pain. Chronic pain can cause the dog to avoid things they might have enjoyed previously. Pain can become generalized such that the dog experiences discomfort and becomes more sensitive during brushing or combing sessions.
A dog in pain will also stop grooming himself and may end up developing other hygiene issues. It is necessary to visit a vet if your dog is reluctant to be groomed.
Avoiding Human Contact
If your dog resists your efforts to pick him up or even touch him, it may be due to pain. The pressure of the hands around the dog’s body can cause pain. This is especially an issue with small dogs.
If touching your dog in certain areas leads to resistance, it can be a sign of pain. A healthy dog will happily accept handling and should have no problem if you run your hands all over their body. If your touch is bothering the dog, take them to the vet as soon as possible.
Physical and Behavioral Changes
Other signs can indicate that your dog is unwell. The signs include excessive grooming, eye changes, weight loss, twitching or tight muscles, heavy panting, and extreme restlessness. Others are aggression, whining and whimpering, excessive vocalization, and difficulty walking and getting up the stairs.
If ever you are in doubt, it is better to be overcautious. As a pet parent, you know your pet better than anyone else. If you suspect that your pet may be suffering, take him to the vet for a checkup. Dogs will generally avoid exhibiting any signs of weakness.
For more signs of pain in senior dogs, visit Bergen County Veterinary Center at our office in Waldwick, New Jersey. You can call 201-205-2500 today to schedule an appointment.