Do dogs have a high tolerance for pain?

The other day, my Tiffy fell face first down our front porch stairs (4 stairs). I instantly went to baby her and make sure she was okay. She got right up, and didn't think twice about it like she never fell. When we are in the house playing, and she jumps up to get her toy out of my hand, sometimes she lands the wrong way when she jumps too high. Is she feeling this pain and just brushing it off or does she feel it at all.

Asked by ♥Tiffy♥ on Feb 13th 2008 Tagged pain in Other Health & Wellness
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I'd say yes. We were having some construction done on our house and I told the team to be sure to pick up all debris as we have dogs (they were in a friends yard while the construction was going on). Well, they didn't quite pick up everything - there were some construction staples left in the yard (much larger than standard staples). I came home from work and found my GSD barely limping - just kinda walking funny. He had a staple embedded in his front paw and had been walking/running on it all day. I yanked it out, he yelped, and it was done. He was fine. Now, imagine that happening to you. I would have been screaming like crazy. One thing I have learned is to not 'baby' my guys when they get hurt. If they get up and 'shake it off' then they're good. I watch them very carefully to ensure they aren't 'faking' being OK. I will call them over to me a few minutes later to check them. But I try not to make a big deal out of it. This works with my guys - every dog is different.

Beau answered on Feb 14th.

Other Answers


Marlowe, CGC

Dogs tend to not show pain unless it is very serious. For most animals, showing pain is a sign of weakness and in the wild that's to be avoided at all costs. Both dogs and cats, even though they are domesticated, tend to be very stoic and not show pain. That's why it's so important to get regular preventative vet care, because often our pets don't show us that something is wrong until it's too late and they are in so much pain they can no longer hide it.

There are also some structural things about dogs that allow them to not feel as much pain for certain things. For instance, they're a lot lower to the ground so falling is not such a big deal. They have a lower center of gravity. They also have thicker skin, so it takes a lot more for them to actually get cut or punctured.

Marlowe, CGC answered on 2/13/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


My vet told me that dogs have a very high pain tolerance, and if they are showing pain they are in a lot of it, because of the whole pack issue. If a dog in a pack shows pain he is seen as weak by the rest of the pack, which can be dangerous for him/her. As for if they feel it or not, I am guessing that they do..they just don't show it for their own safety. I ate something when I was a puppy and almost had to have surgery to get rid of it cause I couldn't digest it. My parents didn't even realize it til I started throwing up and not eating. I had to spend the whole weekend at the vet - YUCK! Hope this helps.

Abby NPC ~ CGC, TDI answered on 2/13/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Not sure but I do know that both of our pups are like Tiffy most of the time in that they dont seem to notice when they slip and fall or do a strange contortion. However, I have had them jump off the couch or try to jump on the couch, misjudge, and whack themselves pretty hard on their heads on the coffee table. It's so sad to see them cower and run to you just like a little kid would do in the same instance. Poor pups! Thankfully neither time were they seriously injured and they are as good as new in a few minutes.

Layla answered on 2/13/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Probably depends on the dog. Most of my dogs here have a high pain tolerance or at least don't show any distress. Saxony was such a baby that she would scream bloody murder when she got shots, and then she learned to start crying if she saw the needle. Lennox has a very LOW pain tolerance and although he won't cry, if something barely hurts him, he'll start biting at the spot and he'll gimp around sometimes when seemingly nothing happened. I have some dogs that will run into the hotwire where the horses are and just flinch, then I have some that will initially cry for a second because it scared them, then I have Kona who will scream and cry for several minutes straight. And, I've touched the stuff, it doesn't hurt, it just gives you a weird feeling, but not necessarily "pain." My guess is Tiffy feels discomfort but brushes it off. Humans are the same way, I have a very high pain tolerance and my husband is a baby. We still feel the same amount of pain but handle it differently.

Lennox answered on 2/13/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


That's what they say! I was never convinced though, how do you "measure pain"? But, I soon change my opinion when my terrier mix ran full speed off the curb and her front leg gave out. When she landed her dog tag what straight up between her shoulder and the ground. She literally bent the metal (not quit in half). Her tag was in the shape of a bone and one corner was completely bent upright. She made a small cry and limped for about 5 minutes. After that, it was like it never happened. The Vet said there was no damage to her shoulder at all, not even bruised and that dogs are just built different. Could you imagine falling on a piece of metal so hard that your shoulder bent it? OUCH!

Roxy answered on 2/13/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Clay R.I.P. my handsome boy!!

These are the times that I wish dogs could talk.That way they could let us know to help with the pain!

Clay R.I.P. my handsome boy!! answered on 2/13/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer