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10 Evident Signs That Your Pet is Unwell

Your pets could be “telling” you that they need help.


Can you tell if your cuddly cat or beloved dog is ill? Our pets cannot verbalize how they feel. They can’t specifically point out which part of their body hurts and why. Generally, we rely on their body language and occasionally, on the audible sounds they make to get an idea of how they’re feeling. These are like signals we can easily detect when they’re in pain.

It is our responsibility to observe their behaviors as they may be telling us that something is wrong and that they are unwell. Regardless of the cause, it’s very important to know these signs so they can be checked by a vet and be given the appropriate treatment as soon as possible.

#1. Hunching


Pet owners will notice an evident change in their dog’s posture and these postural changes depend on the type, location, and severity of pain.

According to Preventive Vet, some dogs may either “assume a very rigid, ‘sawhorse-type’ stance” or a “prayer position.” Other dogs will refuse to get up and just lie around more while others will have difficulty laying down and may appear fidgety.

The changes in the dog’s posture can also be more subtle, “taking the shape of an arched or sunken back, or even a dropped or tucked tail in a dog who normally has a perky tail.”

#2. Licking


Source: wallpaperlab

Licking is a normal habit dogs and cats do to clean themselves; however, if a specific part of their body is in pain, they tend to lick it repeatedly.

#3. Hiding


Some pets go under a chair or table when they’re sleepy and just don’t want to be disturbed. However, if your dog or cat is suddenly hiding from you for no apparent reason and refuses to leave its place, you might want to inspect its body for injuries and see if it is in pain.

#4. Straining


Source: petcha

Straining can be a sign that there’s something internally amiss in your dog or cat. It is vital that we are aware of our pet’s bathroom habits so we can address this problem immediately. In addition, if your pet is struggling to squat or lift its leg, it may be experiencing some other painful injury that requires attention.

#5. Panting


Source: petmd

Dogs pant to cool down; you’ll notice this after a bout of exercise or when the climate is hot. However, “if you notice heavy panting out of nowhere, it could be stress-induced. This stress could be caused by pain your pet is experiencing,” I Heart Dogs stated.

#6. Hobbling


Source: petmd

Like us human beings, a dog or a cat will walk or move differently when it is in pain.

“Limping, hobbling, or favoring one leg over another is a good indication that something is hurting your pet,” says Bark Post.

#7. Swelling


Source: petplace

Both cats and dogs can develop peripheral edema. Peripheral edema is “characterized by swelling secondary to an excessive accumulation of tissue fluid within the interstitium, which is a small space, or gap, in the substance of the body’s tissues or organs.”

According to PetMD, it may occur due to several reasons including injury; contact with toxic agents, e.g. snake bite or a bee sting; burns; and infections.

#8. Whining


Source: xokmax

It’s an unpleasant, heartbreaking sound that our pets make, and they could be telling us that they’re in some kind of pain.

#9. Growling


Even though they adore us, dogs will growl or hiss when they’re in pain.

#10. Loss of Appetite

Loss of Appetite

Source: topdogtips

“Dogs in pain often eat and drink less than normal,” states Preventive Vet.

“When they do eat and drink, if the cause of their pain is their teeth or some other part of the mouth, they may drop food and/or water from their mouth.”

Which of these signs have you observed on your pets? What other behaviors do they exhibit when they’re in pain? Let us know in the comments.


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