One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “how do I know if my dog needs treatment?” The more obvious answer is a limp. However, it’s also important to recognize changes in your dogs behaviour and consider why that behaviour has changed? For sure it could be a training issue, but if your dogs environment hasn’t changed then could it also be that your dog is in pain.
If you’ve had your dog for a while, you generally know their behaviour pretty well. How quickly they get up in the mornings, how excited are they when it’s walk time, how far / long they want to walk, whether they get excited when you get home, are they generally a chill dog, are they a social dog – at home or in public?
The first signs of pain may be subtle changes in your dog’s temperament. They may be agitated more easily, less bouncy, or just less tolerant of other dogs or people. I know when I’m in pain I’m less social, less tolerant, less willing to exercise. I may not limp, I may not have any physical pain behaviors but it doesn’t mean I’m not hurting.
Changes in your dog’s behavior with no changes to their environment may be the first sign your dog is in pain. They can’t tell you. But they may show you.
If you’ve noticed a change in your dogs behaviour it’s important that you see your Vet or rehabilitation professional. If your Vet has given your dog a clean bill of health or told you that is likely arthritis pain or musculoskeletal then get in touch.