Why would my dog do something that hurts?
It is a common belief that dogs would not do something if it hurt them. Surely it would be illogical to continue to perform a movement if it caused discomfort – so wouldn’t they stop and indicate their pain to us? Unfortunately it’s not that simple.
Just as humans will work through their pain and carry on, so do dogs. They get on with it because they have to. They need to eat, drink and toilet. Often it is not obvious they are finding it difficult. This makes it hard for us to detect there is a problem.
Most dogs are also loyal and obedient. If asked to walk, they will try to. If asked to get into the car, or climb the stairs they will.
It could also be that dogs do not identify arthritic pain like humans do. We would act on the unpleasant sensation and take measures to protect ourselves and reduce it. A dog does not necessarily realise there is an alternative; they will carry on walking and running through the discomfort.
It is often hard for owners to understand a behaviour that is so far removed from their own. Because we have options we may find it hard to imagine how we would behave if we had no pain-relieving resources. If we didn’t, we too would cope, and carry on, inadvertently hiding the signs of pain from those around us.