Signs that a dog is in pain vary depending on the dog and the cause of the pain, but they may include whining, unusually aggressive behavior and reluctance to move, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. The dog may lick the painful area or become uninterested in food and play.
Most dogs try to hide their pain, so the signs are often subtle, notes Assisi Animal Health. Dogs may breathe rapidly when they are in pain, or owners may notice them panting for no apparent reason. Even normally docile dogs may growl or even bite when people or animals approach them.
Slow movement is another common sign of pain, especially in older dogs, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Arthritis is a common cause. This may become apparent on walks when the dog starts dragging behind the owner. Dogs may be reluctant to stand or walk. The dog may start having trouble with stairs, either moving more slowly or not climbing them at all.
Small changes in body language can also indicate pain. Some dogs may hold their ears flat, as noted by VCA Animal Hospitals. Others may develop a stiff posture and gait, according to Assisi Animal Health. Some dogs may drool an unusual amount. In some cases, there may be an obvious limp. Frequent yawning can also be a sign of pain and stress.