Is My Pet in Pain?

Animals do not always express pain in ways that we expect, and most animals will innately hide their pain.  Your pet sees keeping you happy as their #1 job, and so they will often be responsive to you, wag their tail, and continue to eat through significant pain.  Below are some symptoms your pet may show if they are experiencing pain:


  • Lameness on one or more limbs

  • Decreased activity, less willing to participate in play

  • Changes in posture when moving, standing, or sitting

  • Anxious or restless, especially at night

  • Tail down or tucked in between hindlimbs

  • Weight gain

  • Avoiding stairs, litter box, or jumping

  • Difficulty standing or lying down

  • Licking or chewing around and affected joint

  • Eyes dull +/- furrowed brow

  • Poor appetitie

  • Muscle loss

  • Panting (dogs), increased respiratory rate

  • Accidents

  • Vocalizing

  • Decreased interest in surroundings

  • Anti-social behavior – hiding or seeking out unusual spots away from the family

  • Fearful or reactive to being touched, especially in areas in pain


Is it time to euthanize my pet?

For anyone who has loved a pet, considering whether or not to euthanize is an agonizing decision.  You may avoid it altogether.  But we have this choice, this amazing gift, to end their suffering and to help them pass peacefully.  It is important that we use this opportunity wisely.   You may not realize it, but you are the best judge of when your pet’s condition is declining.  You are the one who sees them every day, who knows what they love and what is important to them.  Some things you can do on your own to start assessing your pet’s quality of life can include the following:

  • List five of your pet’s favorite activities. Can they still do at least three of those on a regular basis and enjoy themselves while doing so?

  • Consider the “Is My Pet in Pain?” signs listed above to think about if your pet is showing subtle signs of suffering

  • Is your pet having more bad days than good?  You can download a free app such as Grey Muzzle to easily track trends

If you would like to have Dr. Anderson visit your home to develop an individualized plan/treatment protocol for your dog or cat based on history, physical exam, and an in-home assessment of your pet and its environment, AND/OR to find out more about what an in home euthanasia is like, please contact us for more information about her Quality-of-Life assessment appointments.  It is important to note that sometimes consults reveal issues severe enough that the recommended treatment is humane euthanasia, whether in home or at a clinic.

What Can I Expect During the In Home Euthanasia? 

Dr. Anderson will help by offering her caring support, understanding, and expertise from start to finish.  She will do her best to get most of the information she needs (by email  or texting if a phone call is too difficult) beforehand so that we can focus on you and your pet during the appointment.  She will also answer any questions you have, going into as little or as much detail as you desire, during these pre-appointment communications. 

When Dr. Anderson arrives at your home, she will introduce herself to you and your pet and go over any preliminary concerns you have.  She will then spend as much time as needed going over aftercare options for your pet, memorial options, costs, and any additional questions.  She will go over the process with you in enough detail that everyone present is prepared and knows what to expect.  During this time you may decide you do not want to be present for any or for only part of the procedure – whatever you decide is okay, there is no right or wrong.

When you are ready, Dr. Anderson will administer a sedative injection to allow your pet to slip into a deep, painless sleep.  This gives you some final time to spend with your pet completely relaxed and anxiety-free.  When your pet is ready, she will give a final injection which will let him or her pass peacefully.  She will allow you, and your pet’s animal companions, as much time alone with your pet as needed to say your final goodbyes afterwards.  If you are planning on a home burial, if desired Dr. Anderson can help you gently move your pet to a specific area.  If Dr. Anderson will be handling aftercare (through cremation at St. Francis Pet Services), she will transport your pet when you are ready.