What are the common causes of dog pain and how to resolve the issue?

We often encounter diseases that cause a numbing pain in our body that wrecks our physical endurance so much that speaking about the same scares us equally. Well, at least we have the option to speak. Our paw-ed buddies don’t have the same luck. Dogs cannot speak our language hence we cannot understand when they are going through crucial pain for common health conditions.

To understand if your dog is going through physical pain, it is very important to notice behavioral changes. Recognizing changes in behavior, eating, and sleeping patterns followed by immediate veterinary check-ups might help in managing your dog’s pain and prevent your dog from prolonged suffering. Here are few diseases in pets that cause severe pain in their body:

  1. Pancreatitis – Pancreatitis causes the pancreas to swell up in an odd way and disrupts its functioning. This results in the dog having abdominal pain. Similar to when humans have pain caused by food poisoning or gastric ulcer. Severe pancreatitis can also cause the untimely death of your pet. This mostly happens due to too much consumption of fatty food. Hence, managing your dog’s pain in the right way and keeping tabs on your beloved buddy’s body weight is also very important. Pancreatitis is a curable disease if diagnosed well within time.

Behavioral/Physical changes: Loss of appetite, continuous vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, loose motion, lack of will to move around is often noticed during the case of pancreatitis.

Treatment: The first step taken while treating pancreatitis is controlling or stopping diarrhea, loose motion and vomiting. Dehydration can be controlled by injecting IV fluids. Vets often inject antibiotics through IV channels as well. Even though it might seem painful, it is crucial for your dog. While treating pancreatitis, dogs are often given special diets with minimal fat consumption. Other than veterinary help, you can personally ward your dog from excess pain by stopping unnecessary movement.


  1. Intervertebral Disc Disease – IVDD is caused due to some sort of tissue rupture in the intervertebral disc of the spine, starting from the neck to the lower back (tail) of the dog. The dog might have IVDD as a result of physical trauma, strenuous training, or even improper leashing. It is an extremely painful condition that can also cause permanent spinal cord dysfunction and even paralysis. It can also happen because of excessive cartilage around the neck and spinal column. Many breeds like the Labrador Retriever, Bulldogs, Basset Hound, Beagles, Pekingese, Corgi, Shih Tzus, Dachshunds, Cocker Spaniels, Doberman pinscher, German Shepherd, Poodle, etc., are easily susceptible to this disease. Moreover, dogs who are a tad bit obese also stand a chance to get IVDD. 

Behavioral/Physical changes: Sudden stiffness around the neck region, difficulty in sitting up or moving, weakness, lack of will to move around, tremors, dragging the lower body while moving.

Treatment: There are two different types of IVDD that can affect your dog, i.e., Type I or Type I. Both of these require instant attention and treatment. Many vets prescribe painkillers to contain the extreme pain that the dog has to undergo due to IVDD. However, there are proper treatments and therapy to cure this disease.

  1. Arthritis – The breaking of cartilage around the bones causes extreme wear-and-tear around the joints and bones, leading to arthritis. It is a very common disease in older dogs. It is mainly caused as a result of old age. The cartilage erodes and makes two bones come in contact.

It is also caused due to trauma or ligament injuries, fractures, joint infections, low immunity, etc. Even though there is no permanent cure for arthritis, vets can easily recognize the disease and recommend solutions to reduce the pain. Walking and swimming are often suggested as a good solution to arthritis. However, weight management is the best solution.

Behavioral/Physical changes: Limping, problem in moving around, improper posture, muscle spasm, biting the area that is painful, lack of will to wake up, and loss of appetite.

Treatment: Even though there is no permanent solution to arthritis, immediate attention can help in controlling the pain. Arthritis, if not taken care of, often results in total immobility. An easy way to treat arthritis is regular walks because the ultimate motif is to prevent the dog from becoming immobile. An advanced therapy to treat arthritis is the use of underwater treadmills. Common painkillers and NSAIDs also help instant pain relief. Many vets also prescribe stem cell therapy and acupuncture.

  1. Bone cancer – One of the most common types of cancer in dogs, bone cancer or Osteosarcoma is extremely painful. It is most common in bigger dogs/large breeds. Bone cancer mostly begins from hind limbs and then spreads throughout the body, if not diagnosed in good time. It also affects the jaws and ribs. It results in fatality without proper treatment. Dogs often have to get amputated to stop the spread of the disease. Just like humans, even dogs have chemotherapy and radiotherapy to combat cancer.

 Behavioral/Physical changes: Limping, lethargy, weakness, swelling of body parts, lack of will to move around, problem in eating, swelling of ribs, loss of appetite, difficulty in breathing properly.

Treatment: As hard as it sounds, battling cancer is a very difficult process. Most dogs succumb to the disease and even if they recover, some sort of physical ailment remains as a backlash to the heavy treatment. In order to stop the spread of cancerous cells, amputation is often recommended, but that is always the last resort. By far, chemotherapy and radiation have given the best results.

  1. Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease is nothing but gum disease. It affects the mouth of the dog. It makes the gums lose and causes dysfunction in the condition of holding your dog’s teeth in place. It also often leads to bone decay and loss of teeth. It is often caused by bacterial accumulation in gums. It also causes inflammation and infection in the gum, plaque, and tartar. It causes the dog to undergo pain in the jaws but if diagnosed correctly and with the maintenance of regular hygiene, it can be treated easily.

Behavioral/Physical changes: Bad breath, yellow tartar, swollen gums, gum bleeding, drooling, swollen eyes, loosening of teeth, bone decay, excessive nasal oozing,  lack of will to eat even if the dog is hungry.

Treatment: Veterinarians usually prescribe different dental examinations in order to diagnose the disease at first. Followed by scaling and deep cleansing of the gum line. Plaque can be removed through polishing the teeth and removal of decaying teeth. However, the chances of getting periodontal disease reduces effectively if you keep your dog’s oral hygiene in mind and brush their teeth regularly. You can use canine gels and toothpastes for the same.

  1. Worm diseases – Another extremely common and irritating problem that dogs often face is worm diseases. There are many internal parasites in a dog’s body, that is, roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms and even hookworms. These pathogens not only make the dog uncomfortable but certain kinds of hookworms can also cause the death of your beloved pet.

Behavioral/Physical Changes: Diarrhea is the biggest symptom of worm infestation. Followed by unnatural loss of weight, stomach pain, loss of appetite, dry skin and rough coat, scooting, excessive vomiting, loose motion, blood along with stool, tapeworm that look like white thread-like structure along with stool, etc.

Treatment: Regular deworming is something every veterinarian prescribes to dogs because even in a healthy state, they tend to get infested by worms. However, specific treatment can only be prescribed after diagnosing the kind of worm the dog is infested with. It is always advisable to not provide medication to the dog without the expert’s opinion because what might treat a tapeworm might be ineffective in case of a roundworm.

  1. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) – Urinary tract problems are common in both humans and dogs. Especially in female dogs. It is caused when the dog urinates somewhere or comes in direct contact with some sort of bacterial or fungal entity that can cause them to get the disease. Urinary Tract Infections are very painful and cause much trouble to the dog. It requires treatment immediately. Negligence might result in the germs to spread throughout the body.

Behavioral/Physical changes: Few common symptoms of UTIs are frequent urination, losing control over urination, passing of blood through urine, continuous dribbling through genitalia, licking the genitals continuously, etc. Dogs often ache during urinating and hence they can cry or screech while urinating.

Treatment: Treating urinary tract infections is comparatively easy because there are a lot of medicines and remedies that can totally cure the dog. But immediate attention should be given in order to prevent the germ from spreading throughout the body. The vet might first require urine sampling to understand the cause and type of the infection and then give antibiotics that will heal the dog.

Being a good pet parent also means being responsible and attentive. If you notice such behavioral changes in your dog, it is extremely important for you to take him to the veterinarian without any further delay. That being said, all the above mentioned diseases have different reactions on different dogs and affect them on an individualistic level. Stating the correct way to treat a disease still remains vague because veterinarians prescribe suitable treatment only after diagnosing the stage of the disease and that might differ from one another.