Sometimes our pets aren’t feeling too good, and they can’t exactly tell us how they feel. It’s our responsibility as pet owners to look out for the signs they can give us. Keep reading to find out some common signs of pain in pets so you can know when they may need your help!

Heavy Breathing

Our pets usually breathe somewhere between eighteen and twenty breaths every minute. If you hear your dog or cat breathing very deep or shallow for an extended period of time, they may be in pain. It’s a normal body response to breathe during exercise, but if your pets are out of breath after minimal effort activities, then it may be time to consult a vet.

Trouble Eating

Your pets are probably used to their daily feeding times. If your pets lose interest in eating or seem to struggle with eating, they may be in pain. Sometimes dental issues can require softer foods, which is more common in elderly dogs and cats. Your pet may need special food to help reduce bloating or stomach pain. Make sure to keep your pet extra hydrated if they aren’t eating as much and talk to your vet


Is your pet usually very energetic? Do they normally spend a lot of time playing or trying to get your attention? If so, you may be more likely to notice when they aren’t feeling too good. Lethargic pets will spend a lot of time sleeping and laying around, much more than usual. If your pet doesn’t have the energy to go outside or walk to their food and water bowls, you should definitely reach out to your veterinarian.


We all have met pets that aren’t too fond of too much attention, but if your pet usually loves it, this is a big sign to look out for. Sometimes when our pets aren’t feeling good, they may feel the need to protect themselves more. If your usually sweet pet doesn’t want pets or attention, they may be in pain.

Abnormal Walking & Trembling

If you notice that your pet is walking funny, either limping or unable to walk straight, this may be a sign that they have pain causing their unusual walking pattern. Another sign that they may be in pain is if they are often trembling, if your pet has either of these symptoms you should contact a vet as soon as possible.

 Excessive Grooming

Sometimes our pets have pain somewhere on their skin. This will usually lead to excessive cleaning or biting. When this happens, your pet will lick or bite an area until it is raw and needs medical attention. This can also be a sign of anxiety or stress, so make sure to keep an eye out for this sign. If the area is raw, you’ll need to see a vet about treatment.

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Additional Reading:


Behavioral Signs of Pain in Dogs from Bark Magazine

Dog Pain Symptoms from

Treating Pain in Your Dog from the U.S. FDA



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