Believe it or not, dogs feel pain to a similar extent that humans do. In fact, dogs can handle similar intensities of all types of pain to humans. For example, stomach-related pain and tooth-related pain in a dog are perceived much the same way that we would perceive this type of pain. The canine nervous system functions just like that of people. Just like for people, pain is a part of life for our dogs as well, unfortunately.
How Do Dogs Indicate Pain?
There are a number of signs that point to your dog experiencing pain. However, oftentimes, dogs do not understand how to communicate the pain they’re experiencing to their owner. A few indicators of pain to keep an eye out for include:
- Whimpering and moaning
- Hesitation to move or be touched
- Crouching or hiding
- Widened pupils
- Decrease in desire to socialize
- Biting or chewing at a specific region of their body
- Loss of appetite
- Change in general temperament
- Unexpected growing and aggression
The History of Pain in Dogs:
Previously, humans believed that dogs couldn’t understand or interpret pain on the same level as us, and then pain medications weren’t necessary. However, it’s been proven that dogs are able to experience and feel pain. Today, veterinarians are well aware that dogs do indeed experience pain even if they aren’t able to communicate in the same way that humans are able to.
How Do Dogs Experience Pain?
Similar to humans, pain in dogs is an emotional response. The dog’s body sends a message to the brain through the nervous system. Their brain interprets this and creates the emotional experience of pain. The purpose of this message is to protect the dog from the present threat and avoid it in the future. The veterinary field has reported that it can be more difficult to detect pain in some animals compared to others.
Tips for Handling a Dog in Pain:
If your dog is experiencing pain, be sure to take extra precautions as they may communicate this in an aggressive or fearful manner. Once they’re given a proper diagnosis and any medications from the vet, follow close directions to ensure you keep yourself and your dog safe.
It’s also important to set up yourself and your dog for success prior to any emergencies. Train your dog to allow you to check in on their different body parts. The more comfortable your dog becomes with touching their paws, ears, etc. the easier it will be to assess their pain and any issues in the future.