By Brandi Lawson

Our pets are a part of our family and we do everything we can to make sure they’re safe and comfortable in their environment. It’s important to remember that they can also feel under the weather or in pain just the same as humans can.  However, pet health can be a little harder to read than ours.

September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, and although it might seem a little sad to think about our furry pals in pain, we want to give you some tips to recognize it right away so that you can get them the help they need and get them back to their normal selves. Here are some signs that your four-legged-friend might be hurting:

Excessive Panting/Changes in Breathing

Panting in dogs is pretty common, but there are subtle differences that you might notice about how they’re panting that can indicate something is off. Faster, shallow breaths, trembling as they inhale, or irregular amounts of time between each breath are all cautionary symptoms. Also be aware of why your dog is panting. Panting is ok in the heat or after a run, but he shouldn’t be panting for no reason.

Increase/Decrease in Activity/Sleep

One of the indications of changes in pet health is a sudden and dramatic change in their activity and sleep times. Monitor their daily activity with your Poof Pet Tracker, and check in with it every day to make sure they’re sleeping enough and getting a consistent amount of exercise. Just like humans, when pets aren’t feeling well, their daily routine is likely to change dramatically.

Biting/Change in Temperament

If your sweet little kitten is usually docile and friendly, but all of the sudden you notice her being standoffish and aggressive, she might be in pain. Again, just like you when you have a stomachache, you might be a bit more grumpy than usual. You might notice Fluffy acting “depressed” or uninterested in things she usually loves. Other pets are more clingy and attention seeking when they’re sick. So just be on the look out for an abrupt change.

Change in Posture

Whether while they’re walking, standing, sitting or lying down, if you notice a change in the way your pets position themselves this might be a sign that they’re experiencing pain in a specific region of their body. Try and notice if they’re leaning to one side while sitting, or limping to take the weight off of one paw.

Eating Habits

When you have the flu, you’re probably not inclined to eat a greasy slice of pizza as much as you usually are. Pets are the same way. One of the most telltale signs of discomfort in pet health is a lack of appetite. By now you know, animals love food. It’s the highlight of their day. So if you notice that your furry friend is suddenly not interested in lunch, or is having difficulty eating (dropping food or even water out of his mouth a lot), this is definitely something to look into right away. You don’t want him going too long without being able to eat. A good test is to give them a treat. If they’re not even willing or able to scarf that down, it’s time for a call to the vet.

Pet health is a little harder to monitor than human health since they can’t exactly tell you “Hey! I’ve got a cold! Call the vet, please.” But our pets have other ways of letting us know, so make sure you’re always alert and on the look out for these signals that your precious companions need a trip to the vet to get them feeling themselves again.


The information and health tips were compiled with information from the following sources:

International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management

Preventive Vet

Pet MD

Cesar’s Way