What are the signs that a dog is in pain: owners often ignore them

Yulia LoseynkoLife
The way your dog yawns and scratches can be a warning sign

Animals cannot tell us when and what hurts them, so it is important to clearly understand their body language - it is in this language that important signals can appear that should not be missed. In particular, this applies to dog owners, because a well-mannered animal can hide from a person that something is wrong with it until the last moment.

The Mirror asked animal behaviourist Hannah Webb about these signals. Her conclusion is disturbing - most owners do not notice when their dog is giving alarms. Meanwhile, they are not so difficult to recognise.


Unlike humans, yawning in dogs is not a sign of fatigue, but of discomfort. Your dog may start yawning when he doesn't feel well. If you notice him yawning while you're out for a walk, it may indicate that he's feeling down, in pain, or stressed.

Paw chewing and licking

This behaviour is compulsive and can be caused by stress or anxiety. It can also be a sign that your dog is trying to relieve the aching pain of arthritis or scratch small, painful abrasions on the pads of his feet. Dogs may also chew or lick their paws when they are exposed to harmful substances or develop signs of allergies.

Mobility issues

This is no longer just a warning bell, but a whole alarm bell. If you notice that your dog is struggling to walk normally, can't climb stairs or jump as easily as he used to, it could be a sign that he is in pain.


A hunched back, tail down, ears pressed to the head, dilated eyes - all of these can be a sign that your dog is suffering from pain due to arthritis. Other causes of such symptoms include muscle tears, soft tissue damage, or infected wounds. All of these problems are accompanied by pain.

Facial expressions

If your dog often licks his lips after eating or shivers when it's not cold, it could be a sign that he's in pain. A similar signal can be shortness of breath in hot weather, which also indicates stress.

Has the dog stopped holding your gaze and is turning his face away? This is also a clear signal that something is wrong.

Change in behaviour

Any change in the animal's usual behaviour is a reason to take a closer look at it. The dog has become irritable or constantly demonstrates a desire for solitude, has become more picky about food, sleeps a lot, reacts poorly to loud noises, and is no longer as willing to communicate with you - any of these signs can hide a sense of pain. If they occur regularly, it's best to take your pet to the vet for an examination.

Earlier, OBOZREVATEL told why dogs lick their owners' faces and hands.

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