Canine Pain Scale

At Advanced Pet Care of Parker we use a canine acute pain scale to score the level of discomfort by comparing your dog?s behavioral and psychological responses, their responses to palpation and their body tension.  It is a scale that ranges 0-4 with different definitions of pain for each. 

If your dog has a pain score of 0 its signs may be happy, content and comfortable when resting.  It is interested in or curious about its surroundings.  Your pet will be nontender to palpation of the wound or surgery site, or to palpation elsewhere. 

If your dog has a pain score of 1 its signs may be content to slightly unsettled or even restless.  Your pet will seem easily distracted by surroundings.  And will react to palpation of wound, surgery site or other body part by looking around, flinching or whimpering.

If your dog has a pain score of 2 its signs may be uncomfortable looking while resting, whimper or cry and may lick or rub the wound or surgery site when unattended.  Your pet may have a worried facial expression (droopy ears, arched eye brows darting eyes).  It may be reluctant to respond when beckoned and not eager to interact with people or surroundings but will look around to see what is going on.  Reaction to palpation would usually be flinches, whimpers, cries or guards/pulls away.

If your dog has a pain score of 3 its signs may be unsettled, crying, groaning, biting or chewing the wound while unattended.  It may also guard or protect the wound or surgery site by altering weight distribution (i.e. limping, shifting body position).  Your pet may be unwilling to move all or a certain part of the body. Reactions to palpation may be subtle (shifting eyes or increased respiratory rate). Your dog may be dramatic, such as a sharp cry, growl, bite or a bite threat, and/or pulling away.

If your dog has a pain score of 4 its signs may be constantly groaning when unattended, may bite or chew at the wound, but is unlikely to move.  It may me potentially unresponsive to its surroundings and difficult to distract from pain.  When palpated your pet may cry at any non-painful palpation and may possibly act aggressively.