What pet owner wouldn’t give anything to know what our companions are thinking and saying? Wouldn’t that answer so many questions about their behavior both good and bad?

But probably the most important benefit to this communication would be to know when they’re in pain and not feeling right.

Here are some signs that your pet is telling you they’re not feeling right:

1. LIMPING – This one seems obvious but not totally. Cats and dogs have a natural instinct to mask their pain which stems from tens of thousands of years ago. If they showed any impairment they would be accosted by a larger predator who could see they were easy prey. Today they don’t have that sense of going to the hospital but because of their instinctive sense, they are probably in more pain than they let on.

2. INVISIBLE LICKING – Just as your pet will instinctively hide a limp, they will instinctively lick a spot that hurts in private; out of your view. They may pretend everything is okay in your presence. I and most veterinarians might be able to tell when a pet has been licking a spot even if you deny that you haven’t seen it.

3. VISIBLE LICKING – If your pet is licking him or herself in front of you it means the pain or itch is so bad that they don’t care if you see it. Out natural inclination is to tell our pets to ”stop licking”. But this is their natural inclination. This to them is applying medicine to the wound. But when a veterinarian might put an Elizabethan collar (those funny lampshade looking plastic hoods) around your pet’s neck it is because the medicine or the need for them to stop irritating the area is more important than the pet’s saliva.

4. GETTING UP SLOWER (or going up or down stairs) – When it takes a few seconds more for your pet to stand up, he or she is probably hurting. This could be a sign of a possible onset of arthritis or other joint issues. In addition, if your dog is no longer able or is having difficulty going up or down stairs they may be hurting.

5. CRYING OUT (MEOWING) – This is the most blatant indication of pain. But if there is no crying out that doesn’t mean that some of these other symptoms don’t exist.

6. ROUGH LOOKING HAIR COAT – Because cats are so fanatically clean, when they don’t groom themselves it could be a sign that it hurts or something is wrong. In addition, don’t overlook that there could be a problem in their mouth or that they are overweight and just can’t physically bend because of all the extra poundage.

7. CHANGE IN PERSONALITY – We need to be vigilant when our cat or dog behaves in an uncommon manner. Your dog suddenly lunges at people and snaps or your cat knocks something over. This could be a sign of pain.

I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions, comments or would like to get in touch with us please don’t hesitate to call, post or send in a comment or note.

Robert Sidorsky DVM

Mobile Vet of Western MA. 413-625-9353

Veterinariny Service for Western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut including the following towns:

Springfieng, Chicopee, Holyoke, Wilbraham, Ludlow, Agawam, Longmeadow, Northampton, Easthampton, Amherst, Deerfield, Sunderland, Greenfield, Shelburne Falls, Conway, Turners Falls, Montague, Athol, Pittsfield, Adams, Willamstown, Sommers, Suffield, Windsor, Enfield,