5 Signs Your Pet May Be In Pain

Posted on: 7 Comments

Veterinarian in Potomac, MD
No one wants to find out that their pet is injured or ill. But when they are, owners want to know as soon as possible.

Because of natural instincts to protect themselves, many pets will not show obvious symptoms of injury or sickness. Luckily, if you know your animal and his habits, you should be able to spot one of these 5 warning signs your pet may be in pain and get him the treatment he needs.

Aggressive or Sensitive to Touch

If your dog or cat is a normally sweet animal (or at least not particularly aggressive) and all of a sudden starts nipping or shying away at your touch, that’s a red flag. Your pet may be especially sensitive around a particular area, which could signal where the injury or where the cause of the pain is located.


While some animals are naturally “talkative,” if your dog begins to bark, yelp, snarl, etc., or, for cats, meow or purr more than usual, this may mean they’re telling you something is not right.

Sleeping More

Sleep is as much as a healing process for animals as it is for humans. So if you see your pet sleeping more than usual, their body may be trying to recover from something. That, or they may be in too much pain or too weak to move.

Not Eating

Much like humans, animals may lose their appetite when they are sick. If your dog or cat seems to lose interest in their food, this could be an early sign of sickness. If they seem to be hungry but drop food or water out of their mouth, this may mean they have a dental issue.

Change in Breathing

Shallow breathing may mean breathing is difficult or painful for your pet. For dogs, this could be excessive panting without having exercised. Cats may pant, too.

Overall, any change in behavior by your animal is something you will want to be aware of. It could be caused by many things other than sickness, but your pet’s health is worth more than guesswork. When in doubt, make an appointment at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital or call 301-983-8400 to make sure your pet is pain-free and healthy!

7 Responses

  1. Millie Hue says:

    I never knew that the pet might have health problems when they make a noise that is louder than usual. I guess I have to bring my pet to a veterinarian already because it has been barking a lot, and our pet never barks. My husband thinks that it might be experiencing something in its legs because our pet has landed badly one time when it jumped over our fence.

  2. Dips says:

    I noticed strange things my cat is doing. He sleeps on my cat pillow and rubs my cat paw socks against him. He makes some strange sounds and has stopped eating since last night. I am not able to figure out what’s wrong with him. I was searching for some information about this behavior of his and came across your blog. Thank you so much. Now I know my cat is in pain and I need to give him relief as soon as possible.

  3. I appreciate it when you explained that sleeping is a sign that the pet is trying to recover from an illness or that they are too sick to move around. My pet does not seem to be getting better after sleeping for three days straight. I do think that his condition is getting worse. It might be best for the both of us if I take him to the vet for a checkup. At least, then I will know if there is something I need to do.

  4. I really liked it when you said that animals are naturally talkative, however, if they are more or less talkative than usual, that is an indication that something has gone terribly wrong. My pet dog is barky like it is part of his routine to bark on every single thing that comes his way. However, now he is less talkative and no matter how I try to approach him, he does not say anything. Because of this, I think it is for the best if I take him to the vet.

  5. Millie Hue says:

    Thanks for helping me understand that I should bring my pet to an expert already when he is panting without even exercising. I guess we need to find a veterinary clinic as soon as possible because my husband and I noticed this yesterday. We were in the living room with our dog when we heard fast heavy breathing when he is just lying down and not doing anything.

  6. Joy Butler says:

    Hi Michelle, it really helped when you said that once our pets become aggressive or sensitive, it means that they have an injury. I had no idea that this is their way of giving signals that there is something wrong with them. My kids to read this article so that they will also be guided in taking care of our pets. Cheers!

  7. Amy Winters says:

    I’m glad you mentioned that our pet might be showing early signs of illness if they stop showing interest in their food. One of my dogs hasn’t been eating as much as usual lately. I didn’t realize that could indicate a health issue, so thanks for sharing that info here.

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