When my 6-year old Shih-Tzu crossbreed had bandages around his belly, due to the fact that my mother stepped on him in the middle of the night and caused an abscess to swell on his abdomen, I was in pain. Physically. Every howl, whimper and whine that I got from him throughout the day (especially night), was pure torture.
Is Your Dog In Pain?
Who’d like to see their dog in pain? No one, I assume. The fact that dogs aren’t human, and all they can ever do is whine or look at us dolefully, we’ve gotta start speaking their language. The best thing you could ever do for your pup, is to start paying attention to these subtle (or no so subtle) cues.
1. Licking and biting excessively
I know this, because Quinn does this all the time. Licking his paws off still remains a huge hobby of his till today; he’d lick his paws as if they were made of bacon, only to stop after copious amounts of baby menthol oil is applied to his two paws. Quinn has eczema, and we never knew till he was about 3, because we simply thought he was being a dog!
Dogs tend to care for their wounded area in the hopes of treating it (through those bacterial licks, how ironic). Us humans have to be sure to keep an eye on them in the event that these open wounds become septic.
2. Panting incessantly
Belly aches, tummy troubles, back pain, twisted legs and painful paws. These are just a few examples to what may make your dog pant heavily (unless she’s pregnant or about to have a litter). These pants are usually stress-induced, and since it’s hard for dog owners in Singapore to differentiate between the heat-induced pants and those of pain, one has to watch very carefully.
If these pants start out of nowhere, then you should take caution and seek a vet for advice.
Instead of running to the door to greet you, your pet huddles up in a corner and shuns those belly rubs that he loves so much. Back when Quinn accidentally ingested an entire 7-cm pork bone a couple months back, he just lay on his side all afternoon without a single care in the world. He ignored the belly rubs and the proposals of treats and chicken skin (those are his favourite!). We figured out soon that he was suffering from extreme pain by standing up (due to the pork bone jutting painfully on his internal organs), especially when he squealed when he was held or turned the other way. Off to the vet we went!
4. Sudden aggression
What was once a friendly little bugger has turned T-Rex from Jurassic World. He’s snapping, biting and acting as if the world’s become his enemy. Being aggressive out of the blue (I’m not talking about those dogs who’s always been mean green machines) is a sign that your dog is in some pain and he needs to be checked out.
Remember that one scene from Snow Dogs where Cuba Gooding Jr. figured out that the pack’s most hostile pack leader, was actually suffering from a bad toothache? Yeah, I loved that scene, and it rings an element of truth to it too!
5. Sayonara, food
Akin to humans, dogs tend to lose their appetite when faced with some kind of bodily discomfort. Naturally, vomiting and regurgitating their food would be another way to expel the bacteria in their stomach and purging the illness. But what about other kinds of aches? A twisted paw for example, or just a bad headache? (Do dogs get headaches?)
If your dog is accustomed to 2 square meals a day and usually has a voracious appetite, but suddenly started to reject food, you should seek immediate vet attention.