Study Shows that Dog Breeds Differ in Their Pain Sensitivity

Posted on
May 13, 2020
a tan and white dog laying on the floor under a table
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It is interesting to question whether or not dogs can feel pain the same way as humans, or whether or not some breeds are more sensitive than others. A recent study showed that it is indeed the case that some breeds are more sensitive than others, based on their genetic disposition. If you are curious about dogs’ sensitivity to pain, and are looking for a solution to heal your dog, you are in the right place. This article will cover:

  • How veterinarians helped discover dogs’ sensitivity to pain
  • Varying breeds and why they feel different pain
  • Wound healing spray and how dogs hide their pain
Smiing dog
Some research is surprising to see which types of dogs are more or less sensitive to pain, depending on their jobs.

How the study found that different dog breeds feel different amounts of pain

Both dog owners and veterinarians contributed to the study

At first, it was difficult to conduct a study on the pain sensitivity of dogs because it would involve inflicting pain unnecessarily on animals. Instead of going this route, researchers took the option of consulting experts in the field, including dog owners and veterinarians. While some of the information that the dogs’ owners shared was not considered to be completely reliable because they were not able to see a wide range of dogs and their response to different pain stimuli, it still gave interesting input and showed that there was a response from that group of people. Oftentimes, these dog owners thought that large dogs would be less susceptible to pain, and that family breeds would feel more pain, with average to mid-range pain receptors.

Veterinarians were able to give insight into how different dogs breeds felt different levels of pain.  Out of 1078 vets polled in an online survey rating the pain levels of 28 breeds of dogs, 100 percent felt that different dog breeds did indeed feel different levels of pain. They felt this was the case on account of the genetic makeup of the dogs as well as their specific temperaments.  That is to say that the type of dog and what they were bred to do directly affected how much pain they felt. This was the case across the board.  

Researchers gathered 1053 surveys from the general public. Vets differed in opinion with these surveys, as they felt mostly that size was the greatest factor in pain differences. The vets came to the conclusion that even some large dogs were more sensitive to pain than smaller ones, for example German shepards. 

Three dogs looking up
Some dog breeds seem that they would be less sensitive to pain, but are actually just as sensitive as others.

Varying breeds have different sensitivities to pain

This is usually based on what they are bred to do

Here is a list of the 28 dogs breeds and their sensitivities from most sensitive to least sensitive.

Most Sensitive to Pain

  • Chihuahua
  • Maltese
  • Husky
  • Pomeranian
  • Dachshund
  • German Shepherd
  • Whippet

Above Average Sensitivity to Pain

  • Schnauzer
  • Samoyed
  • Pug
  • Weimaraner
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Boston Terrier
  • Greyhound

Below Average Sensitivity to Pain

  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Chow Chow
  • Gordon Setter
  • Border Collie
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Great Dane
  • Doberman Pinscher

Lowest Sensitivity to Pain

  • Rottweiler
  • Boxer
  • Bulldog
  • Golden Retriever
  • Mastiff
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Pitbull (American Staffordshire Terrier)

It can be seen here that the dogs that are bred to fight or be guard dogs are less sensitive to pain, as well as those dogs that are hunting dogs and are required to run through brush and swim in cold water to retrieve birds that have been shot down. If these various breeds of dogs were too sensitive to pain, they would less likely be able to do their jobs. Therefore, breeders most likely chose dogs less sensitive to pain to better suit the dog breed and what they were trained to work for. On the other hand, herding breeds and dogs that are usually solely bred for companionship are more sensitive to pain.

Two German shepards running, one carrying a stick
Make sure your dogs aren’t in pain and just hiding it from view to continue to do their jobs.

Wound healing spray can help dogs, but be aware that dogs may be hiding their pain

Silver spray helps dogs’ wounds heal

There are some telltale signs that your dog is in pain. Dogs may try to hide their pain because it is in their DNA to ignore pain to properly do their jobs. Look for these signs to tell if your dog is really in pain, but trying to hide it:

  • Depression or low energy: This can include declining to take a walk, or lying down at the dog park rather than playing with the dogs that are friends.
  • Poor appetite: They may have a decrease in how much they are eating, or stop eating completely.
  • Changes in personality: If your dog is usually friendly but becomes suddenly angry, this may mean they are in pain.
  • Bloodshot eyes: A change in how their eyes look can mean they are in pain, as well as squinting.
  • Labored breathing: This can include fast shallow breaths or heavy panting.
  • Changes in body language: Hunching over, being fidgety, or seeming particularly rigid may mean they are in pain.

Dogs feel pain, but tend to hide it from view. When your dog is injured, Fauna Care silver spray will help the wound heal. The spray is perfect for cuts, abrasions, hot spots, and general wounds and skin care. The silver and zinc combination kills bacteria and fungi as well as provides a deodorizing layer of protection. It is easy to apply with a no touch application that is sure to provide a long lasting moisture barrier for continuous healing in active situations. In other words, your dog can remain active and playful while healing at the very same time! 

Sometimes it is tricky to tell if your dog is in pain. The study from many vets and dog owners gives a good guide as to how different dog breeds feel different levels of pain. In addition to this guide, there are ways to tell if your dog is in pain but is hiding it, and how to care for your injured K-9.

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Posted on
May 13, 2020

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