is your dog in pain?

is your dog in pain?

My dog might be in pain continued from last week…

Pain signs from parts 1 and 2 include reluctance to walk on slippery surfaces and negotiate stairs, becoming selective about what to jump up on or down from, and getting up from lying down using the front legs first.  

Once again since they cannot tell us look for these signs:

5)  The simple task of lying down may actually become difficult.  We have all seen dogs walk in a tight circle while they look for the right spot and angle to lie down. This is normal.  However, it might become more prolonged in the dog experiencing pain, who eventually may walk larger circles and eventually progresses to “false starts,” where they begins to lie down but then abandons the action and starts circling again.

6)  Running and jumping activities often become limited.  This can be directly due to pain, for example the impact of landing is now too much for them; or indirectly due to decreased muscle strength from a general decrease in physical activity due to chronic low grade pain. Either way, the fact your dog doesn’t run or jump like they used to is a flag you should schedule an examination with your veterinarian.

7)  Placing an abnormal amount of weight on the front legs.  This along the same line as pulling themselves up from lying down with their front legs.  It is a sign that your dog is having difficulty bearing weight on the back legs.  You may even notice that your dog’s front end is really muscling up.  The muscling is due to increased weight bearing on the front end for everyday activities like walking.  This is accentuated by the resultant muscle loss from the hind end due to disuse (a.k.a muscle atrophy) and can be due to a problem in the knee, hip, or lower back.   This forward-leaning stance can be difficult to see and only from a side profile.  Instead of the front legs standing straight up and down, they are tucked back under the chest and their back paws may be placed further back so it appears they are pushing their body over their front legs.

8)  Abnormal wear of their nails because they are scuffing their paws when they walk – this can be due to pain in moving the leg normally or due to abnormal nerve function.  Either way, they should be examined by your veterinarian


Keep reading this series for more signs of pain in your canine companion.  Not all painful dogs will show these eight physical signs of pain, so the series will continue by covering  changes in your dog’s behaviour that may indicate they are in pain..


Dr. Jeffrey Person practices in Edmonton at the Delton Veterinary Hospital and co-hosts the listener call-in show Pet Talk – Sunday mornings at 8a.m. on 630 CHED (AM dial).

To request an appointment call 7804759225 or email