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Trust Your Instincts. If you think your dog is in pain, it probably is. Minimizing animal pain, wherever possible, is important both ethically and legally. Consult your vet as appropriate.

Signs to look for:

Some Changes in Appearance and Behavior

  • Stiff body movements
  • Unwillingness to move
  • Lying still or adopting an unusual posture
  • Biting, scratching, or guarding certain regions of the body
  • Lack of appetite
  • Shivering
  • Increased panting

Some Changes in Alertness

  • Appearing less alert (more common in more severe pain)
  • Restlessness or appearing more alert (more common in less severe pain)

Some Changes in Response to People

  • Abnormal aggressiveness or apprehensiveness when handled
  • A change in the way your dog responds to you, such as a lack of tail wagging

Changes in Vocalization*

  • Quieter than normal
  • Whimpering or howling, especially when unattended
  • Growling without apparent provocation

*These are only guidelines: lack of vocalization or excessive vocalization are not always reliable indicators of pain.

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