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Animal Pain Awareness Month 2023: What It Is & When It’s Celebrated

September is an important month for our furry and feathered friends. September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about the pain and discomfort that animals may experience, and how we can help alleviate their suffering. As pet owners, it’s our responsibility to ensure that our pets are healthy and happy, and that includes recognizing when they are in pain.

But how do we know if our pets are in pain? What signs should we look for? And why is it so important to understand animal pain awareness? In this article, we’ll dive deep into these questions and more, so you can be better equipped to care for your beloved pets.


Why Animal Pain Awareness Month Is Important

Understanding animal pain is crucial for every pet owner. Pain, if left untreated, can lead to a decline in an animal’s quality of life. Additionally, animals have a natural tendency to hide their pain, making it difficult for owners to recognize when their pets are in pain. So, understanding animal pain means that owners can take the necessary steps to ensure that their pets are comfortable and happy. That’s why Animal Pain Awareness Month was created: to make owners aware of what causes pain in animals and how to tell if an animal is in pain.

But recognizing when an animal is in pain isn’t just important in September. It’s important year-round. Recognizing the signs of pain in animals is imperative for early detection of health problems. Pain is often a symptom of underlying health issues, and early detection can lead to prompt treatment, which can improve the chances of a positive outcome. Understanding animal pain can also help pet owners make informed decisions about their pet’s medical care.

And lastly, animal pain awareness is important because it allows us to empathize with our pets. Our furry friends experience pain just like humans, and it is our responsibility as pet owners to alleviate their suffering. By understanding animal pain, we can provide better care for our pets and ensure that they live a happy and pain-free life.

Let’s look at the ins and outs of pain in animals so that you can be aware no matter what month it is, but so you can also be prepared to educate your family and friends when September rolls around.

Beagle dog in pain
Image Credit: yangtak, Shutterstock

The 4 Most Common Causes of Pain in Animals

Animals can experience pain for various reasons. Here are some common causes of animal pain:

1. Injury

Animals can suffer from injuries due to accidents, falls, and fights with other animals. Injuries can cause pain, inflammation, and general discomfort. It helps to recognize the signs of injury in animals and seek prompt medical attention.

2. Illness

Various illnesses can also cause your pet to be in pain. For example, arthritis is a common condition in older pets that causes joint pain and stiffness. Cancer can also cause pain in pets, particularly in the advanced stages or after radiation treatments.

3. Dental Problems

Dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and oral tumors can cause pain in pets. This is why vets recommend having your pet’s teeth checked regularly to prevent dental problems. You can also help prevent dental issues by brushing your pet’s teeth every week as well as using treats that help curb plaque buildup.

4. Aging

As pet’s age, they can develop various health problems that can cause pain. But this is why it’s essential to monitor your pet’s health and seek prompt medical attention if you notice any signs of pain or discomfort. For example, if you notice that your pet is limping, having trouble breathing, panting heavily, eating significantly less, or showing signs of immobility – these may be all age-related signs of general discomfort.

shorthair cat lying on table, looking sad
Image Credit: 9lnw, Shutterstock

Recognizing Signs That Your Pet Is In Pain

As mentioned earlier, animals have a natural tendency to hide their pain. However, there are some signs that can indicate that your pet is in pain. These signs can vary depending on the pet, the cause of the pain, and the severity of the pain.

Some common signs include the following:

  • Increased aggression
  • Seclusion/hiding
  • Lethargy
  • Displaying less affection
  • Increased anxiety
  • Whining or whimpering, especially when certain areas are touched


The Impact of Pain on Animal Behavior and Quality of Life

Pain can have a significant impact on an animal’s behavior and quality of life. For example, they may become withdrawn, aggressive, or depressed. They may also have difficulty sleeping, eating, or performing other activities that they enjoy.

Chronic pain can also lead to long-term health problems, such as muscle atrophy, decreased mobility, and decreased immune function. Additionally, pain can also affect an animal’s social behavior. Animals in pain may become less social and interact less with other animals and humans.

obese cat at the veterinary clinic in the metallic cage
Image Credit: Todorean-Gabriel, Shutterstock

Top 3 Treatment Options for Animal Pain

There are various treatment options available for animals that are suffering from conditions that cause them pain. The treatment option that is best for your pet will depend on the cause and severity of the discomfort. Some common treatment options for animal pain are:

1. Medications

There are various medications available to relieve pain in animals. These medications are often prescribed by a veterinarian and may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opioids, and corticosteroids. The type of medication will depend on the health condition and the overall health of your pet.

2. Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage can also be used to relieve pain in animals. You may be surprised to find that many of these options may be covered by pet insurance, so it’s worth inquiring if you have it. And then in some cases, if your pet is suffering from a debilitating condition, your vet may recommend surgery to help improve the animals quality of life.

3. Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, exercise, and diet changes can also help alleviate pain in animals. This is why it helps to work with a good vet to determine the best treatment option for your pet.

Cat is crying, the sad gray cat
Image Credit: Ketochka1990, Shutterstock


How to Support Animal Pain Awareness Month

Now that you know more about recognizing pain in animals and the purpose of Animal Pain Awareness Month, how can you offer support and share awareness? There are various ways to support Animal Pain Awareness Month. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to do it.

1. Share Information

Share information about Animal Pain Awareness Month on social media and with your friends and family. You can help the cause by simply spreading the word about the importance of understanding animal pain. This can include sharing flyers at your job or even hosting seminars in your area.

2. Donate

Consider donating to organizations that work towards animal pain awareness and research. Donations are always welcome to the cause, and they go directly to various programs for animal care, public education, and events.

3. Attend Events

Attend events related to Animal Pain Awareness Month in your area. You can also host events in your home, at your job, or at other local businesses. These events help to bring awareness and raise money for the cause. And they can be fun and a great way to socialize with other local pet lovers.

Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock

divider-multiprintOrganizations Working Towards Animal Pain Awareness

There are various organizations working toward animal pain awareness and research. Some of these organizations include:

1. International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management

The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management is an organization dedicated to promoting animal pain management and raising awareness about the importance of recognizing and treating animal pain. They provide numerous resources for animal pain management and different types of education on how to raise awareness. They also have a list of local vets.

2. American Animal Hospital Association

The American Animal Hospital Association is an organization that provides resources and education to veterinarians and pet owners about animal pain management. This non-profit organization has been around since 1933 and they are an accrediting body for small veterinary hospitals in the US as well as Canada. They have a ton of resources on their site for local hospitals, general animal education, and local events.

3. Morris Animal Foundation

The Morris Animal Foundation is a nonprofit organization that funds research projects aimed at improving animal health. They’ve been around since 1948 and were originally founded by a veterinarian who wanted to create an organization for science-driven research on animal welfare and health.


The Importance of Finding a Good Vet

If you have a pet or are planning to get one, it is absolutely crucial to find a good vet in your area. Vets play a crucial role in managing animal pain. They’re trained to recognize and diagnose pain in animals and to develop treatment plans to alleviate pain. For example, they may use a combination of medications, alternative therapies, and lifestyle changes to manage an animal’s pain. Working closely with a veterinarian can help ensure that your pet receives the best possible care if they are suffering from a painful health condition or issue.


Wrapping Things Up

So, there you have it; Animal Pain Awareness Month is a great and important initiative that aims to raise awareness about the pain and discomfort that animals may experience. If you have any pets or you’re planning to get any in the future, it helps to save the date and mark it on your calendar. This way you can help to spread the word each year.

Featured image Credit: Anagarcia, Shutterstock

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