How do you know if your dog is in pain? Sometimes it will be obvious; they will cry or whimper when moving or being touched, they might limp, or pick up a limb when moving. Dogs are amazing at hiding pain, it is part of their nature, so there are many subtle signs they can give you to hint that something is not right, you just have to know what to look for. Constant licking or chewing of a body part, reluctance to go for a walk or do their 'normal things' such as going upstairs, lip smacking or yawning when a sore area is touched, avoidance behaviours including flirting to distract you from touching a certain area and sleeping more are all things your dog may do to indicate they have pain.
How can physio help?
Obviously if your dog is in pain they will need to see your vet; they can diagnose the problem and if appropriate give medications and other necessary treatments.
Physiotherapy can support your vet in managing your dog's pain. Treatment will vary depending on the cause of the pain; if it is joint pain a low level laser therapy may be used along with work to strengthen the muscles around that joint. It may be necessary to mobilise other joints near the pain which have stiffened up, or to release tight muscles which have tensed up in attempts to support the affected joint. If the pain is muscular more soft tissue work will be involved, and stretches and soft tissue massage may be used. Specific exercises and advice will always be given on activities to avoid to help prevent the problem from getting worse.
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