Our pets often hide their pain. Cats, especially are experts at masking pain. As a pet parent, it is important that you are aware of changes in your pets behavior that may indicate pain.
Subtle signs may include pets who no longer want to jump up, or are reluctant to go up or down stairs. Pets who suddenly become aggressive, or who no longer wish to be petted may be experiencing pain. A pet who starts to hide, or act depressed may also be in pain.
Other signs may include crying out for no apparent reason, pacing, agitation, inability to get comfortable, self-mutilation, and anorexia.
Once your veterinarian has uncovered the source of pain, he or she will advise you on a pain management plan. This may be short term, or long term depending on the cause. There are many different medications, and ways to administer medications. Some human medications, while safe for us, are toxic for our pets. Always ask your veterinarian before giving your pet whatever lurks in your medicine cabinet.
Other things that may help your pet are maintaining a healthy weight. Our older pets, who are bound to develop arthritis need to be at a healthy weight to help manage pain, and maintain mobility. There are also ramps available for helping a pet in and out of your vehicle, or up and down stairs. There are raised food and water dishes, and litter boxes with lowered sides.
Your veterinarian can help sort through all of the options available to your pet, but remember, the first step is to be aware of your pets habits.