Think of the last time you were in pain (toothache, pulled muscle, stomach ache, etc). How much did it affect your daily life? What if you couldn’t voice your concerns about being in pain? What if you didn’t have access to pain medication and just had to deal with the discomfort? This is true for many pets, but you don’t have to let it be the case for yours.. keep reading!

Is my pet in pain?

Pain can be hard to detect in pets because they, unfortunately, can’t tell us if something hurts. It can also slip past owners if it comes on gradually. Here are some signs to look out for that may indicate your pet is in pain:

  • Mild pain: less active than normal (or than they used to be when they were younger), less interactive with family members, decreased appetite, possibly no signs at all
  • Moderate pain: (in addition to the signs of mild pain listed above), hard time getting up or getting around, limping, doesn’t want to play or interact as much, tender around the affected area, not as friendly as normal with other animals in the household
  • Severe pain: (in addition to the signs of mild and moderate pain listed above), snapping or biting when touched, not placing weight on a leg, standing in a hunched position, crying/whining, avoids moving around if not necessary, cats may hide


DO NOT give any human pain medications to your pet! Medications like ASPIRIN and TYLENOL can be toxic to your pet and may prevent us from using safer medications. Please call us before giving any medications to your pet!

What is causing my pet’s pain?

There are many disease processes that can go unnoticed by owners. Read below for the most common things that we see at Country Hills Pet Hospital in terms of underlying pain in pets.

  • Mouth: The mouth is the biggest problem in terms of pets being in pain and not showing it. Even if pets are in moderate to severe pain due to their mouth, they may still eat and act normally! Dental disease may include a broken tooth with pulp (nerve cavity) exposure, severe inflammation of the gums, infection, or resorptive lesions (especially in cats). Can you imagine if you needed a root canal but just had to live with the pain? This is one of the reasons yearly wellness exams are so important so we can check your pet’s mouth for anything that might be causing pain!
  • Abdomen: Does your pet have an appetite that comes and goes? Does your cat vomit regularly (excluding hairballs)? Chronic pancreatitis and other inflammation in the abdomen can cause discomfort and pain that may go unnoticed for years.
  • Joints: Underlying arthritis in old or overweight animals is a very common source of discomfort. Owners may notice their older pet is “slowing down a bit”, “having more trouble with stairs”, or “doesn’t jump up on the couch anymore”. All of these things can be a sign that your pet is experiencing discomfort from osteoarthritis.

What pain control options are there?

Depending on what the source of your pet’s pain is, there are many different options available to make him or her more comfortable including addressing the underlying disease, prescription pain medications, physical therapy modalities, and supplements. Please make an appointment with one of our doctors or give us a call to discuss the best course of treatment tailored to your pet to keep him or her as comfortable as possible. Check out our video from last week or contact our Physical Therapist (Sarah Zurmond CVT) for more in-depth information on Physical Therapy options!


Please contact Country Hills Pet Hospital if you think your pet is in pain or would like an evaluation by one of our doctors. We want your furry family members to be pain-free!