What Would You Have To See To Believe That Your Dog Was In Pain?

When we, humans, are in pain, everybody knows it. We grumble, whine and complain. We go and take an aspirin. We might go to see a doctor. Most importantly, we want everybody to feel sorry for us.

But what if a dog was in pain?

Would they complain and not rest until everybody knew and felt bad for them? Can they pop an aspirin every time they are in pain? Can they hop in a car and see a vet?

How would you know?

And if you were told your dog was in pain, would you believe it?

Our vet asked me to post a survey, hoping to gain a better insight into what would convince YOU that your dog was in pain.

He just recently saw a dog with a definite abnormality to his hind leg. There was pain on palpation of the myofascial trigger points and muscles along the spine. The dog was grumpy about having his butt touched.

He got the clients to agree to try to get some weight off and start a treatment trial for chronic pain meds. But it was quite obvious that they likely will not follow through, as they remain in denial about the presence of pain.

What would this dog's parents need to see to believe there was a problem? What were they expecting to see?

What would you have to see to believe your dog is in pain?

I know you guys are an educated crowd, and likely have signs of pain in dogs down pat. I have prepared this poll for you to participate, and ideally, people you know who might not be as well versed as you are.

Will you help?

I know this is a tricky subject. And it is not a question of how much one loves their dog. It is a question of understanding. Even hubby had to learn that limping doesn't mean "just stiff." It appears that short of the dog crying, people are having a hard time getting the possibility of their dog being in pain into their heads.

How many dogs are out there, right now, suffering, because their loving parents have no idea they're in pain?

And what can we do about it?

Please, take the poll and get your friends and family members to do so as well. Please feel free to comment with your observation of pain in your dog(s).

Please check all answers that you feel apply.

Related articles:
A Word on Pain


  1. I wasn't sure if the question was more "how many of these symptoms do you need to see TOGETHER" or "how many of these symptoms would make you think that they're in pain"? which are a bit different to me. I checked off a lot of those but I think any one or few of those together would be pain.

    1. Thank you for pointing out that it isn't clear, I'll see how I can adjust that.

  2. Any one of these alone or in combination can signify pain. As a former tech in a veterinary rehab & pain management clinic, it was at times very difficult to convince owners their dog was in pain.

    1. Yes, that is exactly true. Do you have suggestion on HOW to convince owners their dog is in pain?

  3. I think I would try to convince owners that their dog may be in pain by telling them to watch how your dog behaves. Dogs are a creature of habit and if you see a change you should be aware that your furry friend is trying to tell you something.

    1. Great idea. Unfortunately, too many things get written off as "aging". Too many people don't realize that aging on its own does not come with symptoms.

  4. When my old Staffie named Vegas suddenly stopped eating and did not seem to want to move much I knew the end was near. He was 15 years and 2 months old, mostly deaf and half blind (cataracts) I mistakenly tried to let him soldier on a while longer, but it became rapidly obvious that this was not an option. I took him to the vet who told me the tumour that he had been operated for 18 months earlier had come back and when I asked if he was in pain, the vet said, "yes, very much so". I knew I had no choice but to let Vegas go to sleep peacefully and it was the worst decision I have ever had to make in my life.

    1. That was a blessed age.

      Yes, unfortunately eventually the time to make such decision comes, and it is the kind thing to do. It's never easy, we had to make such decision in April and it still stings.


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