The most common sign that your pet is in pain is changes in their behavior. Daily observation of your pet is important simply because it increases the likelihood that you will notice potentially alarming behavior. Pets only pick up behavior changes gradually. Therefore, it is important not only to observe the mood and behavior of our pets, but also to follow the observations and see how they change over time. In this article, we talk about why you should pay attention to your pet's emotions.
pain and aggression
Diseases affecting the ears, anal sacs, teeth and gums, bones, joints and/or back are among the most common causes of pain and discomfort. When your pet is in pain, they may adopt aggressive behaviors as a way to protect themselves from further pain. In order to detect an increase in aggressive behavior, you should know your pet's natural level of aggression. Dogs that are normally aggressive become less aggressive when, for example, they are in pain. In other animals, as already mentioned, this can be exactly the opposite. By observing your pet's emotions more closely, you will get to know their natural level of aggression and you will already notice minor changes in their behavior.
pain and fear
Pain can trigger anxiety in our pets. When animals are in pain, they often try to make a connection between the pain and their environment. This causes them to fear those around them as they try to avoid suffering any more pain. When animals suffer from chronic pain, they are also prone to anxiety. For example, a study conducted by VetSci Front in 2018 showed that there is a link between pain and sensitivity to sounds (how jumpy your pet is or how afraid they are of sudden noises). It's important to reiterate that some pets are naturally more anxious than others or may suffer from other forms of anxiety, such as separation anxiety. Tracking helps you understand your pet and helps you spot changes in their behavior.
Pain and inappropriate toilet habits
If your pet is doing its business in an unusual spot, it may be a sign that it is in severe pain that is limiting its mobility. Diseases that affect internal organs like the kidneys or liver also increase the likelihood that your pet won't be able to control their bowel movements as usual and will need to urinate much more frequently. Organ degeneration is often associated with older pets.
There are numerous studies on how diseases that affect the nervous system ultimately lead to behavioral changes as well. Examples are tumours, epilepsy, brain injuries etc. The effects of these diseases are varied and depend on the species of animal and the nature of the disease. However, we know that being able to take a history of your pet's behavior is helpful in diagnosing and treating such neurological conditions.
In summary, pets don't speak our language and can't tell us when they're feeling down. What we can do is learn to better understand their behavior. By paying more attention to our pets' behavior, we get to know them better and can potentially save them a lot of suffering by identifying health issues early.