MSD Manual

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Signs of Pain in Pets

Signs of Pain in Pets

You can play a central role in relieving your pet’s pain by learning to recognize some common indicators of pain and discomfort.

Physical Signs

  • Change in heart rate

  • Change in breathing pattern

  • Change in movement or posture

  • Slowed reflexes

Behavioral Signs

  • Reduced appetite

  • Reluctance to move or difficulty getting comfortable

  • Unusual restlessness or anxiety

  • Withdrawn behavior

  • Mood or personality changes

  • Licking, biting, or rubbing the site of pain

  • Irritability

Modified with permission from Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center website, “How will I know if my pet is in pain?