15 Indicators Your Dog Is Hurting and Should Visit the Veterinarian

Updated on: Apr 28, 2023
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15 Indicators Your Dog Is Hurting and Should Visit the Veterinarian

Hey there, fellow canine owners! 

Do you know the signs when your pup is hurting?

Untreated discomfort in our dogs can lead to more serious health issues, so it is vital to detect severe symptoms and consult a vet immediately. 

Here are 15 signs to look out for when your dog is in pain and needs immediate attention!

Your dog is whining or barking when touched or moved.

A dog in pain may cry out in various ways, including whining or barking. In the case of a dog with joint pain, the simple act of being lifted or forced to get up from a prone position may cause them a whimper or bark. 

This is the dog's way of telling you it hurts, and it is an obvious sign that they need to see a vet to be given prompt attention. Your vet can help pinpoint the source of the dog's distress and discomfort.

Some of the causes are the following: 

  • injury
  • infection
  • neurological disorder
  • spinal injury
  • nerve problem
  • abdominal injury or internal organ problem

When you observe that your dog losses its appetite.

A lack of appetite in dogs is a worrying symptom for us owners because it might indicate several health issues. Discomfort and pain can make eating unpleasant or even painful for a dog, causing it to lose its appetite.  

Loss of appetite may result from illness because the body's natural response to illness is to save energy. 

The following are some other causes a dog to lose its appetite: 

  • tooth decay
  • upset stomach
  • arthritis
  • medications
  • a shift in their regular pattern
  • change in their diet
  • change of environment
  • age

You should take your dog to the vet if it suddenly stops eating. Substantial health risks are associated with ignoring a loss of appetite, such as the following: 

  •  malnutrition
  • muscular wasting,
  • and other complications.

Your dog exhibits an abrupt behavior change.

Dogs in pain or discomfort may exhibit altered behaviors like extreme aggression or even lethargy. The body's natural response to illness is to conserve energy, so a sick or infected dog may be more lethargic than usual.

It's common for a dog in pain to become more hostile as it tries to defend itself. In addition, some drugs might alter a dog's behavior and activity level making it more agitated. 

When a dog's surroundings undergo significant change, the dog may get anxious and exhibit abnormal behavior. Treating the issue as soon as possible is crucial because extended behavior change might lead to other health problems that are more difficult to treat. 

When your dog is limping or having difficulty walking.

When your dog has difficulty walking or limping, it might be a sign that they need to see a vet. Several causes for these conditions include:

  • sprains
  • strains
  • fractured bones
  • wounds
  • nerve damage
  • Infections
  • arthritis, or other joint issues

In the event that you observe your dog limping or having trouble walking, you must take it to the doctor so that the problem may be properly diagnosed and treated and not complicate into a more severe health concern.

Your dog is constantly panting or breathing heavily. 

When a dog is panting or breathing heavily, it could be a sign of various health issues. Dogs who have become too warm may pant or breathe heavily to cool off, while some dogs may pant or breathe more heavily when exercising, as their bodies require more oxygen.

Other causes of panting and heavy breathing include: 

  • anxiety
  • high metabolic rate or respiratory issues
  • heart disorders

The problem of increased panting or breathing should be dealt with as soon as possible, as it can lead to more significant health issues.

When your dog is restless all the time. 

Several medical conditions, such as restlessness, can manifest in dogs when they are in pain, making it difficult to lie down comfortably. Some other causes include:

  • arthritis
  • pain
  • swelling
  • body stiffness 
  • digestive tract infections
  • urinary incontinence
  • bladder infections
  • stress and anxiety

A visit to the vet can help you figure out why your dog isn't sleeping soundly and what to do about it. Addressing the issue as soon as possible is crucial because persistent restlessness or reluctance to lie down can lead to more significant problems.

When the dog shows reluctance to play or go for walks.

Dogs who show no interest in playing or going for walks may be experiencing one of the several health issues listed below: 

  • arthritis
  • pain, swelling, and stiffness
  • exhaustion
  • infection
  • anxiety

It's essential to take your dog to the vet as soon as you discover it so that the problem can be diagnosed and treated.

 Your dog has swollen or tender areas.

Swelling or tenderness in dogs may come from inflammation or infection. Dogs with injuries such as sprains, strains, or fractured bones may show swelling as a sign of discomfort at the site of the injury.

A dog experiencing an allergic reaction can also cause swelling and soreness in many areas of their body. Tumors are another concern you should consider when your dog shows abnormal swelling. 

You should take your dog to the doctor if you see any unusual swelling or tenderness so that more severe health concerns will be prevented.

Urinating or defecating uncontrollably outside of designated areas.

Dogs' inappropriate and uncontrolled elimination may indicate various medical issues. Infections in the urinary system can cause pain, discomfort, and an urgent desire to urinate anytime. 

Dogs with diarrhea, constipation, blockages, or infections may urinate or defecate outside their allotted bathroom places out of discomfort or a sense of urgency. In times of stress or anxiety, a dog's heart rate and breathing rate increase, which might lead to inappropriate elimination habits.

If your dog has started eliminating in inappropriate places, it's best to take him to the doctor to evaluate and treat him for his specific issue. 

When your dog shows abnormal posture or movement.

A number of medical conditions might manifest themselves in dogs with abnormal posture or movement. One reason is to alleviate pain or decrease pressure on sore spots.  They may display atypical postures or movements due to the pain or limited mobility they experience.

Dogs with neurological disorders, like: 


  • epilepsy
  • paralysis
  • vestibular sickness
  • arthritis
  • hip dysplasia
  • spinal problems

Your dog creates abnormal vocalization.

A dog in pain may try to communicate more frequently or louder than usual. For example, canines with epilepsy may make noises of fear or discomfort during and after an incident such as a seizure.

Dogs with breathing difficulties may bark more frequently or at a higher pitch than healthier dogs. When a dog is experiencing discomfort or distress from gastrointestinal disorders such as bloating or abdominal pain, it may also vocalize abnormally. 

When your dog exhibits increased licking or chewing of a specific body part.

An increase in the rate at which a dog licks or chews on a particular body part may indicate numerous medical issues. Dogs with skin irritation or allergies may lick the affected area more often to eradicate the itching, discomfort, or inflammation caused by the condition.

Dogs with dental issues, such as tooth or gum infections, may lick or chew an area more often than healthy dogs because of the discomfort or suffering they experience there. Parasite infestations such as ticks and fleas can also cause irritation and pain in dogs, leading them to lick themselves often.

If your dog is reluctant to climb the stairs or jump.

Reluctance to do things like climb stairs or jump in dogs might indicate several different health issues, including but not limited to:

  • arthritis or joint problems
  • muscle weakness
  • coordination problems
  • pain
  • neurological abnormalities
  • spinal cord injuries
  • heart disease
  • overweight

If your dog shows eye discoloration, such as redness or cloudiness.

Redness or cloudiness of your dog's eyes can indicate a number of underlying health issues in dogs that need to be addressed immediately. Infectious conjunctivitis is the most common dog eye infection and can cause the eyes to become red, swollen, and leak pus or blood.

When a dog's eye is injured, like from a cut or scrape, the eye may become red, swollen, and painful. 

Remember that cloudiness, redness, swelling, and eye pain are all symptoms of glaucoma or possible side effects of cataracts. A lack of tear production is the cause of dry eye, which can also make the dog's eye red and itchy. 

When the dog is shivering or trembling.

As a result of physical discomfort or heightened sensitivity to touch, dogs in pain may shudder. Anxiety and fear can also cause physical manifestations like shivering and trembling.

Shivering and trembling can also be symptoms of:

  •  epilepsy
  • hypothermia
  • liver and renal disease
  • and dog fever

If your dog is shaking or shivering, it's best to take it to the vet so that he can get to the bottom of what's wrong and start feeling better. 


In conclusion, injuries and illnesses can cause your dog pain and discomfort, so knowing the symptoms to look out for before taking them to the vet is vital. We don't want our fur babies to suffer, so early diagnosis and treatment are necessary to ensure they live their best lives. It would save you so much time and ensure you will have a happy and long life together!

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