September is Animal Pain Awareness Month | PetFirst
Pet Care & Health

September is Animal Pain Awareness Month

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
2 months ago

It’s September, and that means Animal Pain Awareness Month is upon us!  This month brings attention to a crucial topic for anyone who loves or has ever loved an animal.

The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) has dedicated the month of September to raising awareness about pain and pain management in pets6. September is also (human) Pain Awareness Month, which makes it a perfect time to reflect on the ways pain affects our animal companions and us.

Why animals suffer for prolonged periods

Unfortunately, animals often suffer for more extended periods than we do because they cannot tell us they are hurting. Many animals are also masters at hiding discomfort, a necessary behavior developed through evolution, to protect themselves from predators.

Pets also love to please their people and often muster the energy to get up and play or give affectionate greetings.  Unfortunately, this devotion to their human counterparts makes it even more challenging to recognize when they are genuinely suffering.

Even the best pet parents sometimes can’t pick up on subtle, gradual changes in a pet’s behavior, mood, or activity level over time.  Many pet parents will chalk subtle behavior changes to aging or an older pet just “slowing down.” However, aging is not an illness and should not be painful.  In fact, by the time a pet is visibly in pain, particularly if it is due to a chronic condition such as cancer or arthritis, he has already been in pain for quite some time.

It’s so important to keep a close eye on pets activities, eating habits, and personality changes so that you can seek veterinary treatment for possible problems as early as possible. Our pets are counting on us to be their voice. 

How will I know if my pet is in pain?

There are many common changes that may signal your pet needs medical intervention. Here are a few common changes you can look for7:

  • Decreased play and activity
  • Not going up or downstairs
  • Anxiety
  • Weight loss
  • Whimpering
  • Reluctance to jump (especially for cats)
  • Difficulty standing after lying down
  • Decreased appetite
  • Over-grooming or licking a specific area of the body
  • Growling or guarding behavior in dogs
  • Hissing or spitting in cats
  • Changes in urination or defecation habits
  • Lethargy/loss of interest in social interaction 

Managing your pet’s pain

The sooner you recognize changes in your pet, the sooner your veterinarian can assess the situation and determine an effective treatment plan.

There are several ways to manage pain in animals, including physical therapy, medications, acupuncture, massage, and laser therapy8. Be sure to speak with your vet frequently to learn about managing pain for your pets. 

Here at PetFirst1, we know accidents and illnesses happen to all pets. PetFirst Pet Insurance1 can help cover unexpected vet visits2 and can provide peace of mind. PetFirst Pet Insurance1  has cat and dog insurance policies2 to fit every budget.

Consider getting pet insurance for your furry friend today.


1PetFirst Healthcare, LLC (“PetFirst Pet Insurance” or “PetFirst”) is the program administrator authorized to offer and administer pet health insurance policies underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company, with its main office at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, or New Hampshire Insurance Company or The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, each with its main administrative office at 500 West Madison Street, Suite 3000 Chicago, IL 60661. For costs, complete details of coverage, and a listing of approved states, please contact PetFirst Healthcare, LLC.

2Like most insurance policies, insurance policies offered by PetFirst Healthcare, LLC contain certain exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force.

6The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM)

7Falls Village

8Face Foundation:Saving Pets and Helping Families 

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