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How to Help a Dog Yelping in Pain | BetterVet

A dog yelping or crying in pain will put fear into the heart of any dog parent, and we automatically want to do anything we can to soothe their pain.  

There are many causes of pain in dogs, and all dogs will yelp in pain at some point in their lives. 

All dogs feel pain, and they cry out or yelp to communicate that they have been hurt. The pain sensation travels from the point of pain through the nervous system directly to the brain. The brain’s response is to generate vocalization, a cry for help we as dog parents are tuned in to respond to. 

Pain is separated into two categories, acute and chronic pain. Acute pain is usually a sudden onset. For example, falling over when running or being bitten by another dog. Chronic pain is pain that has been around for a longer time and usually is lower grade but constant. Examples of this type of pain would be dental disease and osteoarthritis. 

Pain is a physical sensation but can also be made worse by how the body processes this signal. If your dog is very stressed or emotional, this can increase the perception of pain in the brain. 

 

What Do I Do If My Dog Starts to Yelp in Pain? 

First, remain calm. Your dog needs you to have a steady mind to help them cope with their pain. 

After recognizing your dog is in pain, the first thing to do is to scan the area to look for the source, e.g. broken glass or a nail, and remove the offending material to avoid further injury. 

If you are on a walk, put your dog on the lead so that you have some control over their movements, as sometimes scared and frightened animals in pain will try to escape the pain by running away. 

If you are at home, try to get your dog to sit on their bed and rest to see if the yelping is a temporary or ongoing problem. Run your hands along the body lightly to try and see if they react to a certain part of the body being touched. Be careful doing this and don’t be too rough as painful dogs may bite in response to pain. 

Your dog will appreciate comfort from you and soothing words. Your presence alone can be enough to have a calming effect on your pet. Even if it doesn’t take away the pain, it takes away a small portion of the fear of the pain which your dog will be feeling. 

 

If My Dog Doesn’t Cry Does That Mean It Doesn’t Hurt? 

Dogs are tough and sometimes will not vocalize their pain. It is thought that dogs don’t like to show their pain as before domestication, it would have singled them out as being ‘weak’ and a target for animals who may attack them. 

Pain that creeps up over time such as dental disease or tummy pain can go unnoticed for a long time because dogs just don’t tell us. Often each pet is individual and just like people some pets have a very high tolerance for pain. Some will not cry even if they have broken bones, and some sensitive souls will whimper after the slightest of injuries. 

Other subtle signs of pain in dogs include: 

  • Limping
  • Constant panting 
  • Change in behavior compared to normal, either becoming clingier or wanting to hide away by themselves
  • Changes in expression: Ears down, no tail wagging, hunched back or stretching out their front or back legs
  • Growling or biting 
  • Restlessness 
  • Licking or pawing at the painful part of their body 

If you see any of these signs, your pet is most likely in pain, and a veterinary visit is needed straight away to find the root cause of the problem. 

 

Are There Natural Pain Relief Remedies We Can Use in Dogs?  

Natural pain relief remedies in dogs include Tumeric and Devils Claw. While it is not detrimental to your pet’s health to supplement these natural pain relief remedies in small quantities, they are not going to have an instant strong pain-relieving effect. Prescription medication from the veterinarian is the most effective pain management for dogs, and should always be the first treatment to consider. 

It’s also important to consider the dosing of natural remedies, for example, too much turmeric can cause gastrointestinal issues. 

Natural pain relief in the form of a cold compress can be very soothing to sprains, strains, insect bites, and foot injuries. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply to the affected area for 5-10 minutes at a time.

 

What Types of Pain Management for Dogs Are There? 

Pain relief for dogs has advanced significantly in recent years. We have many treatments of varying strength allowing pain relief, anti-inflammatory relief, and if needed anesthesia to block out the pain your dog is experiencing. Multimodal (more than one type) pain management is becoming more common in dogs, and your vet will often prescribe multiple medications if needed to help soothe your pet’s pain. 

It can be tempting to give human medication at home when your dog starts yelping. We recommend not to give human medication such as Aspirin or Panadol as some doses can be toxic to dogs. It may also limit what type of medication your vet can give when you go to the vet, which can be detrimental to your pet’s recovery. 

It’s also important to consider pain management as an ongoing thing. If your dog was coping well on one medication, and you find that suddenly the pain has come back, we recommend talking to your veterinarian to see if there are additional medications or therapies such as laser therapy that may be helpful in managing your dog’s pain. 

If your pet starts to yelp in pain or you are concerned about pain management in your dog talk to a Bettervet Veterinarian for advice. 

 

FAQ

If my dog doesn’t cry does that mean it doesn’t hurt?

Dogs are tough and sometimes will not vocalize their pain. It is thought that dogs don’t like to show their pain as before domestication, it would have picked them out as being ‘weak’ and a target for animals who may attack them.

Pain that creeps up over time such as dental disease or tummy pain can go unnoticed for a long time because dogs just don’t tell us. Often each pet is individual and just like people some pets have a very high tolerance for pain and will not cry even if they have broken bones, and some sensitive souls will whimper after the slightest of injuries.

 

What are the signs my dog is in pain?

Dogs can give us many signs of pain in dogs including:

  •  Limping
  •  Constant panting
  • Change in behavior compared to normal, either becoming clingier or wanting to hide away by themselves
  • Changes in expression: ears down, no tail wagging, hunched back or stretching out their front or back legs
  • Growling or biting
  • Restlessness
  • Licking or pawing at the painful part of their body

If you see any of these signs, your pet is in pain, so visit a veterinarian straight away to find the cause of the problem.

 

Are there natural pain relief remedies we can use in dogs? 

Natural pain relief remedies in dogs include Tumeric and Devils Claw. Whilst not detrimental to your pet’s health to supplement these natural pain relief remedies in small quantities, they are not going to have an instant strong pain-relieving effect. Prescription medication from the veterinarian is the most effective pain management for dogs we have, and so should always be the first treatment tried.

It’s also important to consider the dosing of natural remedies — for example, too much turmeric can cause gastrointestinal issues.

Natural pain relief in the form of a cold compress can be very soothing to sprains, strains, insect bites, and foot injuries. Wrap an ice pack in a tea towel and apply to the affected area for 5-10 minutes at a time.

 

What types of pain management for dogs are there?

Pain relief for dogs has advanced significantly in recent years. We have many drugs of varying strength meaning we can offer pain relief, anti-inflammatory relief, and (if needed) even anesthesia to block out the pain your dog is experiencing. Using several types of pain relief together often gives better pain control, so your vet will often prescribe multiple medications to help soothe your pet’s pain.

 

Can I give Panadol to my dog?

It can be tempting to give human medication when your dog starts yelping. However, you should never give human medication such as Aspirin or Panadol to your dog. These drugs can be toxic to dogs, and may limit what type of medication your vet can safely give your dog.