A dog yelping or crying in pain can be a distressing experience for any dog parent. Naturally, we want to do everything we can to alleviate their discomfort. Understanding the reasons behind your dog's yelping is crucial in providing the appropriate care and support.

Key Takeaways:
  • Dogs may yelp or cry in pain to communicate distress caused by acute or chronic pain.
  • Identifying the source of pain is important, and veterinary attention is necessary to diagnose and treat underlying conditions.
  • Discuss ongoing pain management with your veterinarian to adjust medication or explore additional therapies like laser therapy.

Why Is My Dog Yelping in Pain?

Pain in dogs can stem from various causes, and yelping is their way of communicating distress. Dogs, like humans, experience pain as a physical sensation that travels through their nervous system to the brain. This prompts them to vocalize, seeking assistance from their attentive human companions.

Pain can be categorized into two types: acute and chronic. Acute pain typically arises suddenly, such as when a dog falls or gets bitten by another dog. On the other hand, chronic pain persists over an extended period, albeit at a lower intensity. Dental disease and osteoarthritis are common sources of chronic pain in dogs.

In addition to injuries, frequent yelping may indicate an underlying illness contributing to your dog's discomfort. Chronic pain in dogs can be caused by conditions such as arthritis or other medical ailments. Veterinary attention is needed to make the right diagnosis and provide the appropriate treatment.

It's important to note that pain perception is not solely determined by the physical sensation. Factors such as stress and emotions can influence how the brain processes pain signals. High stress and emotional distress can make pain worse in dogs. It is essential to create a calming atmosphere in order to reduce the intensity of their discomfort.

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 check-up 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 giving 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 yelps in pain, or if you have concerns about pain management, it's important to seek veterinary advice. You can schedule an in-person appointment or seek online veterinary advice. This will ensure your dog receives the appropriate care and support they need.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 your dog human medication such as Aspirin or Panadol. These drugs can be toxic to dogs and may limit what type of medication your vet can safely give your dog.

What does it mean if my dog is yelping for no reason?

When a dog yelps for no apparent reason, it may be due to neck or back pain, which is common in canines. These issues could be a result of degenerative diseases, injuries, or infections. Dogs with neck or back pain may yelp when jumping, walking, or lying down. 

What does it mean if my dog is yelping in pain at night?

If your dog is yelping in pain at night, it could be due to joint pain or some other problem relating to its position. The majority of cases have neck or back pain, but they may also have arthritis or another medical condition that contributes to chronic pain. 

What does it mean if my dog keeps yelping in pain randomly and shaking?

If your dog is yelping in pain randomly and shaking, it could be due to joint or muscle problems. This could be a sign of arthritis, a slipped disc, or other issues. 

Why does my dog yelp when touched?

If your dog yelps when touched, it could indicate pain or discomfort. Dogs may yelp due to various reasons, including injuries, joint problems, or underlying health conditions.