There are many parts of being a pet parent that we cherish and enjoy above everything else. One of the most difficult parts of the being a pet parent is when we know there is something wrong with our pet and cannot pinpoint what it is or how we can help. One of the most common issues veterinarians and veterinary nurses face in clinic, is fur-parents having trouble identifying when their pet is in pain or discomfort, especially if they are a senior pet. This is understandable as it can be difficult for trained professionals to assess an animal’s pain as well. In the clinic, vets will look for signs that an animal is in discomfort, however, one of the most important indicators is information from an owner that they have not noticed a change in their pets behaviour or activity. The information you provide your veterinary team is a key part of them identifying discomfort in your pet, so understanding the signs is very important!

Behavioural indicators

Our pets are experts at hiding their pain. Here are some behavioural indicators that you can look out for in your pet that might suggest pain.


  • Whimpering and howling
  • Anxious or submissive behaviour
  • Loss of appetite
  • Aggressive behaviour such as growling or biting
  • Refusal to move or guarding behaviour


  • Weight loss
  • Changes in defecation and urinary habits
  • Excessive grooming seen through licking of specific areas
  • Guarding behaviour
  • Loss of appetite
  • Quiet or lack of agility

Often the signs of pain and discomfort can be more subtle and require a keen eye to identify. In our feline friends, you may notice that they are sleeping more and reluctant to jump or use their cat door. Our canine companions may be more hesitant to go on a walk or just get out of bed in the morning. As fur-parents, it is best to stay observant and always look out for any changes in your pet.

Looking out for out senior pets

Keep in mind that it is most likely not just an issue of old age when it comes to our senior pets, and that they may actually be in discomfort that needs alleviating. To help combat joint pain that can be caused by osteoarthritis, your vet may recommend an anti-inflammatory pain reliever like Metacam. Through this prescription veterinary medicine, your pet can experience relief from any pain that is caused by their inflamed and swollen joints. Commonly, the bones and joints that are affected are hips, knees, spine, shoulders and elbows.

Our pets are innately driven to hide their pain; suffering in silence is something we all know too well when it comes to our pets and their pain management. If you believe that your furry companion is experiencing any pain then speak to your veterinarian and with a little help from medication like Metacam, they can get back to enjoying their day. Who doesn’t love rugging up and embarking on a nice, winter’s walk?