How Dog Breeds Differ in Their Sensitivity to Pain

You might have seen children pull dogs’ ears and the dogs sit still, so you wonder how come they are not reacting by biting or scratching as cats do. While to most people that means that the dogs are not susceptible to pain, studies have shown that dogs do feel pain, but their sensitivity depends on the breed. To understand more about this newfound information here is everything about the research.

It is more of an opinion than scientific research

For a long time, science has been used to bring some arguments to rest. Still, while laboratories play a considerable role in shedding some light is some disagreements no one wants to subject their dogs to pain for the sake of science. Therefore even though some research concluded that dog breeds differ in their sensitivity to pain, it was more of settling for the opinion of veterinarians rather than testing dog breeds. Veterinarians were the respondents due to their exposure and knowledge of when a dog is in pain. Thus, according to animal experts, different breeds feel pain differently. The public, on the other hand, felt that even the size of dogs matters, but veterinarians did not share the opinion reasoning that even big breeds like German shepherds are quite sensitive to pain.

The veterinarians opine that Chihuahuas, Huskies, German shepherd, whippets, dachshund, Pomeranians and Maltese top the list of dog breeds that are most sensitive to pain. Chow chows, Great Danes, Doberman pincher, Border collie are among those whose sensitivity is below average. In contrast, others like greyhounds, pugs, Boston terriers and Samoyed are the breeds that are above average in their pain sensitivity. Retrievers, pit bulls, bulldogs and boxers are, on the other hand, the least sensitive to pain.

What are the implications of different pain sensitivity?

According to Animal Law, the fact that pit bulls have very low sensitivity to pain have been to their disadvantage. As per the article, pit bulls for the past two decades have been subjected to cruelty. The animals have been used in dog fights and trained to withstand pain through cruel ways. As a result, although pit bulls have been said to be among the most dangerous animal breeds, they usually are only protecting themselves from the inhumane treatment that humans subject them to, all because of their low tolerance to pain.

In other instances, people conclude that their dogs do not feel pain yet just like humans, animals react differently to pain. While some humans wail, cry or wince, others do not show any reaction, and that is the same case with dogs. Due to the myth of some dogs not feeling any pain, children have been known to mishandle dogs. It is, therefore, the duty of parents to teach their children to handle dogs, regardless of their breeds, with respect.

Some dog breeds have however been used in certain professions due to their high tolerance to pain. While pit bulls are said to be perfect or guarding homes, golden retrievers have been known to go to greater extremes including withstanding unconducive weather conditions to retrieve something for their winners. Were they not sensitive to pain, then they would not be as useful in the various professions.

How do you tell if your dog is in pain?

According to VCA, dogs hide their pain as a survival mechanism hence the assumption that they do not feel pain. It would be great if animals could talk or maybe if we all had the amulet that Sophia the First has that enables her to speak to them. Well, since that is not happening, it is up to us to understand when our furry friends are in pain, and one of the many things you will observe is your dog continually grooming. Dogs like licking themselves but if they continually lick a particular spot, then that is one sign that they are in pain in that area, whether externally or internally.

Moreover, as much as they do not talk, animals make sounds, and once your dog suddenly cannot keep his mouth shut by constantly barking, whining or growling, then he is most likely in pain. Movement may also become limited because maybe he feels much more pain when he walks. If your canine likes regularly inspecting his surroundings and then suddenly does not care to know who is at the door, inspect him for some injury.

Additionally, your dog may no longer have a healthy appetite, probably because he is in pain when he eats. He can also go from being the friendliest dog to the most aggressive animal that growls even at his best friend. Excessive panting without any valid reason such as exercise should be cause for alarm. You can also notice behavioral changes like urinating in the house, yet he is well-trained could be because he is in so much pain to go outside. Others include changes in the sleeping pattern such that he sleeps more because he wants to rest, or sleeps less because the pain is too much to bear.

How to manage pain in all dog breeds

Now that we have established all dogs feel pain and the intensity depends on breed, it is crucial to know how to manage their pain. Before taking matters in your hands and giving your canine some drugs, it is best to consult with your veterinarian. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to treat mild pain and discomfort, and they should be used with caution because some thin the blood while others cause problems with the liver, kidneys and intestines. If your dog has severe pain, then you can use opioids that includes morphine, and other drugs used to treat chronic pain such as arthritis or pain associated with cancer. Corticosteroids, on the other hand, treat allergies and dermatological pain, but since they have long-term side effects on patients, they should be used with caution.

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