How To Tell If Your Boston Terrier Is in Pain (10 Signs)


How To Tell If Your Boston Terrier Is in Pain (10 Signs)

Are you worried that your Boston Terrier might be in pain?

Dogs are very good at hiding their pain, and often, it can be difficult to tell if your dog is in pain. 

This article will review the most common signs of pain in Boston Terriers and what to do if you think your Boston is in pain.

Symptoms Of Boston Terrier Pain & What To Do

The most common signs of pain in Bostons include behavioral changes that may be subtle at first. Your Boston might sleep more, eat less, be restless, or become aggressive.

More obvious signs of pain include yelping out, excessive vocalization, or limping.

If you suspect your Boston Terrier is in pain, the best thing to do is visit a veterinarian. They will assess your pet to determine the underlying cause of the pain and administer appropriate treatments to help decrease the pain.

How To Tell If Your Boston Terrier Is in Pain (10 Signs)

10 Signs Your Boston Terrier Is in Pain

Symptoms of pain can sometimes be subtle and hard to notice. Other times, it may be pretty obvious that your Boston is in pain. 

The following are 10 of the most common signs that your Boston Terrier is in pain.

1. Behavior Changes

Any change in your dog’s normal behavior could indicate that they are in pain. 

For example, if your Boston usually greets you happily at the door, but now they are reluctant to even get off their bed, this could indicate that they are in pain.

You may notice that they are restless, pacing, and can’t seem to get comfortable. If your Boston is in pain, they may keep you up at night because they can’t seem to get comfortable. Alternatively, they may sleep much more than usual.

Some Boston Terriers in pain may avoid playing or interacting with other pets or members of your household. 

It is essential to pay attention to your Boston’s behavior. If you notice anything different, this could be a sign that your pup is painful.  

Read: 10 Common Boston Terrier Health Issues

2. Vocalizing

Another more obvious symptom of pain is vocalizing. Boston Terriers that have back or neck pain may yelp out suddenly when touched or picked up. 

If they are in extreme pain, your Boston may even cry out when they turn their head or try to lay down.


You may notice that your Boston is whining more than normal, or they may bark or growl at people when they come near.

3. Aggression

Signs of aggression in an otherwise gentle dog could indicate pain. Some painful Boston Terriers may bite or snap at you when you touch them or try to pick them up.

If your Boston is growling at you when you approach, this could be a sign that they are uncomfortable and don’t want to be bothered. 

Aggression occurs because they are hurting and are trying to protect themselves from getting hurt more.

How To Tell If Your Boston Terrier Is in Pain (10 Signs)

4. Decreased Appetite

Has your Boston Terrier been eating less? A decreased appetite could be a sign that your dog is unpleasant. Dogs in distress may not want to eat as much or may skip meals altogether.

Your Boston may not want to eat their favorite treat when you offer it to them. 

Anytime your dog has changes in their appetite, this could be a sign of pain.

Wondering why your Boston Terrier is not eating? Read this, 5 Common Reasons Your Boston Is NOT Eating.

5. Lethargy

Boston Terriers that sleep excessively may be in pain. You may notice that your Boston is lying around more than before or that they are reluctant to go for walks or get off their bed.

Lethargy is a vague symptom that can sometimes be easy to miss if you are not looking for it. 

If you think your Boston has had less energy than expected, this could be a sign that they are in pain.

6. Panting

Some panting can be normal. Panting is a way that your Boston cools themselves down. If the panting becomes excessive or is occurring at strange times, this could be a sign that your Boston is in pain.

When my dog had a slipped disc in his neck, I noticed that he started panting in the middle of the night and couldn’t seem to get comfortable. The panting tipped me off that he was in pain.

7. Shaking or Trembling

Boston Terriers in pain will sometimes shake or tremble. If your Boston is suddenly shaking or trembling more than normal, this could be a sign that they are in pain.

Is your Boston shaking? Read this, Why Is My Boston Shaking? Should I Be Concerned?

Video Covering Why Your Boston Terrier Might Be Shaking

YouTube Video From Boston Terrier Society – 7 Reasons For Boston Shaking

8. Limping

One of the more apparent signs of pain is limping. If your Boston Terrier is limping on any of their legs, this could be a sign that they are painful.


You may notice that they don’t want to put any weight on one of the legs, which denotes a high pain level in that leg. Sudden limping means that there is likely an injury to the leg or paw.

How To Tell If Your Boston Terrier Is in Pain (10 Signs)

9. Strange Body Postures

Pain in the back or neck can result in your dog having strange body postures.

If your Boston’s back hurts, they might keep their spine arched. With a hurt neck, your Boston may hold their head low to the ground.

Boston Terriers exhibiting any strange body postures could be in pain.

10. Eye Squinting

If you notice that your Boston is squinting, this could be a sign that they are in pain. Eye issues are extremely common in Boston Terriers, and many eye issues can also cause pain.

Glaucoma, corneal ulcers, and dry eye are some of the most common eye issues among  Boston Terriers. 

Most eye issues require immediate veterinary attention, and so if you notice any issues with your Boston’s eye, I recommend contacting a veterinarian immediately.

Why is my Boston Terrier squinting? Read, 6 Common Reasons For Eye Squinting In Boston Terriers.

What Can Cause Pain In A Boston Terrier?

Many different issues can cause pain in dogs. Only your veterinarian will be able to determine the underlying cause of your Boston’s pain.

The most common causes for pain in Boston Terriers that I see as a veterinarian include:

  • Torn ACL
  • Patella Luxation
  • Soft Tissue Injuries Of The Legs
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Corneal Ulcer
  • Ear Infection
  • Arthritis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Anal Gland Infections
  • Cancer
  • Severe Dental Disease
How To Tell If Your Boston Terrier Is in Pain (10 Signs)

What Should Someone Do If They Think Their Boston Terrier Is In Pain?

If your Boston is in pain, you can do a few things, including contacting a veterinarian, allowing your dog to rest, staying safe, and recording any abnormal behavior.

Here are the four things you should do if you think your Boston is in pain…

#1 Consult With A Veterinarian

The most important step in treating pain in dogs is to make an appointment with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of the pain.


Many different issues can cause pain in dogs, and many of these issues require prompt veterinary care. For example, dogs with a slipped disk can go paralyzed if not treated promptly by a veterinarian.

If you think your Boston is in pain, don’t hesitate to contact a veterinarian.

#2 Avoid Physical Activity

While waiting for the veterinary appointment, avoid physical activity as much as possible. Rest is part of the treatment plan for most injuries that are associated with dog pain.


I recommend keeping your Boston quiet until you can figure out what is going on. Keeping them calm and quiet will hopefully keep the injury from getting worse before you can see the veterinarian.

#3 Stay Safe

If your Boston shows sudden signs of aggression, it is essential to avoid touching or manipulating them. Keep you and your family safe by giving your pet a quiet and safe place to lay.

Try not to manipulate your Boston much if they seem to be in extreme pain because they may bite you if they are hurting. You want to avoid the risk of injury or bites to you or other pets in your family.

Even the sweetest dogs may bite if they are in pain.

How To Tell If Your Boston Terrier Is in Pain (10 Signs)

#4 Record Any Abnormal Behavior

If your pet has been acting strange or exhibiting one of the symptoms described above, it may be a good idea to keep a record of these instances. 

If you can get a video on your phone of any strange behavior or abnormal symptom, this can help the veterinarian better diagnose the issue.

How To Comfort A Boston Terrier In Pain

If your Boston is in pain, there are a few things that you can do to comfort them. First and foremost, visiting a veterinarian will provide the quickest route to pain relief.

Here are two things about comfort…

#1 Veterinary Prescribed Pain Medication

Once your veterinarian has diagnosed the pain’s underlying cause, they may prescribe a pain medication for your Boston Terrier. These pain medications are specifically designed to be safe and effective for dogs.


I do not recommend giving any over the counter pain medications to your dog as they could do more harm than good. 

Never give a dog any medication without first consulting with your veterinarian.

Never give your dog Advil, Aspirin, or Tylenol as these medications can be extremely dangerous for dogs!

#2 Create A Safe And Comfortable Space

If your Boston is in pain, one of the best ways to comfort them is to provide them a safe and comfortable space to recover. 

You can put a soft bed and their favorite toys and blankets in this space to make them feel more comfortable.

If they are in extreme pain, they may prefer to have an area separate from your other pets and family members. Many dogs in discomfort just want to be left alone and may get agitated if other dogs or children bother them.

How To Tell If Your Boston Terrier Is in Pain (10 Signs)

Conclusions

Boston Terrier pain is a symptom that can be caused by many different issues. Some of the most common pain symptoms in Bostons include appetite, activity, and behavior changes, vocalizing, limping, trembling, and panting.

If you notice any of these symptoms, the best thing to do is to contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

The veterinarian will be able to diagnose what is causing the pain, so they can treat your Boston with appropriate treatments.

References

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Addie Reinhard, DVM

Addie Reinhard, DVM- Dr. Addie Reinhard is an experienced small animal veterinarian. She is a Boston Terrier lover and always enjoys caring for her Boston patients at the veterinary clinic. She is passionate about providing helpful educational resources to pet parents regarding animal diseases and preventative care. She lives in Lexington, KY with her husband, greyhound, and four cats.

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