Skip to content

Oct 17 2013

Signs Indicating Pain in Your Dogs and Cats

Is your pet in pain?

Make sure you can identify the signs that your pet may be in pain.

5192strayNormal – No Pain

  1. Comfort level:   Asleep or interested in surroundings
  2. Vocalization:  Quiet
  3. Heart rate: 0-15% above normal
  4. Respiratory rate:  0-15% above normal

2343sx2Mild to Moderate Pain

  1. Comfort level:  Depressed, restless, no interest in surroundings
  2. Vocalization:  Crying but responsive to voice
  3. Heart rate: 16-45% above normal
  4. Respiratory rate:  16-45% above normal

100_3311Severe Pain

  1. Comfort level:  Extreme agitation or thrashing
  2. Vocalization:  Continuous crying that is unusual for your pet
  3. Heart rate:  More than 45% above normal
  4. Respiratory rate:  More than 45% above normal

heartrate dogYour pet’s heart rate is determined by counting the number of pulse beats per minute. The pulse can be found by placing your hand over the heart or in the femoral artery in the groin.

Most adult dogs at rest maintain a rate of 60 to 160 beats per minute. (Young puppies is about 220 beats per minute.)  Most adult cats at rest maintain a rate of 160 to 240 beats per minute.


Your pet’s respiratory rate  can be identified when the pet is breathing and his chest is moving up and down. When your pet is lying down, and has not just been running around, measure the number of times the chest rises per minute.  Repeat the count 5 minutes later, to make sure your measurement is accurate.  *Your pet’s respiratory rate may be influenced by exercise, medications, age, weight, etc.

The average respiratory rate in dogs is 10 to 30 breaths per minute and 20 to 30 breaths per minute for cats. 


Other signs of pain include self-mutilation, hiding, pacing, a decrease in activity or change in routine, behavior changes, aggression.

If you think your pet is in pain, please see your veterinarian.

Neartown Animal Clinic in Houston uses a pain scale to make sure your pets are as comfortable as possible during their stay here and when they go home.

NeartownVet | pet health, Veterinary

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.