Signs A Dog Needs To Be Put Down

By molly atherton 7 months ago
Now, we know starting off with a title like "Signs a Dog Needs to be Put Down" might have you reaching for the tissues or ready to call PETA on us. We get it – nobody wants to think about the tough decisions that come with being a fur-parent. It's all belly rubs, wagging tails, and Instagram-worthy moments until reality hits. But guess what? We're all in this together, navigating the unpredictable adventure that is pet ownership.So, grab a cup of coffee, snuggle up with your furry friend, and let's delve into the world of doggy signals that might make you go, "Hmm, is it time for a serious chat with my vet?". Trust us, this isn't a "paws" for alarm; it's a guide to navigating those tricky times when your canine companion might need a little extra TLC or, dare we say it, a difficult decision.

1. Lets Start With A Light One..

Nobody wants to think about the possibility of losing their dear pets. They're like family, which can make it tough to spot the subtle cues indicating their final days.
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So, we've compiled a list of warning signs for you to be aware of. Although these might not always mean the worst, they're certainly crucial to keep an eye on!Original content sourced from

2. Is Your Pup Dropping Pounds?

Has your furry friend's weight been steadily declining lately, even though their diet remains the same? Significant and unexplained weight loss in dogs could indicate an underlying health issue that requires immediate attention.
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While some weight fluctuations are normal, sudden and excessive weight loss might be a cause for concern. It could be a sign of various health conditions, including metabolic disorders or even cancer!

3. When Heavy Panting Raises Concerns

While panting is a natural cooling mechanism for dogs, excessive and labored breathing can be a red flag for underlying health issues. Heavy panting is definitely negative.
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Remember, dogs rely on us to recognize signs of distress, so stay alert and take quick action if you notice any abnormal breathing patterns!

4. Is Your Dog Acting Out of Character?

Dogs, like humans, can experience changes in behaviour due to various factors. If your typically outgoing and energetic dog becomes unusually withdrawn, anxious or aggressive its not a good sign!
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Behavioral changes in dogs might be a response to physical discomfort, pain, fear, or even stress. Additionally, cognitive decline due to aging or neurological issues could also manifest as altered behavior!

5. Understanding Tummy Issues

An occasional upset stomach is not uncommon in dogs and can result from dietary indiscretion or minor gastrointestinal disturbances. However, if your dog experiences them persistently it may indicate more serious health problems!
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Gastrointestinal issues in dogs can arise from various factors, including dietary sensitivities, infections, parasites, pancreatitis, or inflammatory bowel disease. If your dog's tummy troubles persist for more than a day or are accompanied by other concerning symptoms, consult your veterinarian ASAP!

6. When Your Dog's Rest is Disturbed

Dogs generally enjoy their sleep and can spend a significant portion of the day snoozing. However, if you notice that your dog's sleep patterns have changed and they seem restless, agitated or have difficulty settling down, it might be worth investigating!
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Restless sleep in dogs can be caused by various factors, such as physical discomfort, pain, anxiety, or even age-related conditions like canine cognitive dysfunction. To help your furry companion get the rest they need, create a comfortable and quiet sleeping environment for them!

7. Appetite Adjustments That Demand Attention!

A dog's appetite can naturally fluctuate based on factors like weather, activity level, or minor changes in their routine. However, significant changes in eating habits that persist over time might signal an underlying issue.
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Loss of appetite or refusal to eat could be due to dental problems, gastrointestinal disorders, etc. Prompt attention to their dietary needs and health can help prevent weight loss and ensure they are getting the nutrition necessary to thrive!

8. Mobility Issues in Older Dogs

As dogs age, they may experience mobility challenges due to arthritis, joint degeneration, or other musculoskeletal issues. If you observe your senior dog limping, hesitating to stand up, or experiencing difficulty walking or climbing stairs, it's crucial to address their comfort and mobility needs.
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Your veterinarian can assess your dog's joints, recommend pain management strategies, and suggest lifestyle adjustments to accommodate their changing mobility before the final change!

9. When Your Dog's Eyes Speak

Your dog's eyes can provide valuable insights into their overall health and emotional state. Clear, bright eyes are signs of good health, while redness, cloudiness, or excessive tearing might indicate eye irritation or infection.
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Additionally, changes in the appearance of the pupils or vision problems could be indicative of more severe conditions, such as cataracts or glaucoma. Monitor your dog's eyes regularly for any unusual signs and contact your veterinarian if you notice any of these changes!

10. Decoding Your Dog's Discomfort

Dogs are masters at hiding pain, which can make it challenging to recognize when they are experiencing discomfort. Subtle changes in behavior, such as increased restlessness, reluctance to be touched, or sudden aggression, may be their way of signaling pain.
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Understanding your dog's body language and recognizing signs of pain can prompt timely intervention. If you suspect your dog is in pain, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

11. When Barks and Whines Raise Alarm

Dogs communicate through vocalizations, and changes in their barking or whining patterns can be significant indicators of their well-being. If your dog starts vocalizing excessively or differently than usual, it may be an attempt to express discomfort, anxiety, or pain.
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Similarly, a sudden lack of vocalization in a typically talkative dog could also be a cause for concern. Pay attention to your dog's vocal cues and seek veterinary attention if you notice any unexplained changes!

12. Shifting Social Dynamics

Dogs are social animals and usually enjoy the company of other dogs and people. If you observe changes in your dog's social behavior, such as increased aggression, excessive shyness, or withdrawal from interactions, it might be a sign of an emotional or health issue.
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Dogs can experience stress, anxiety, or fear in new or challenging situations, leading to changes in their social dynamics. Understanding your dog's social cues and providing a supportive environment can help alleviate stress and promote positive interactions!

13. When Your Dog Neglects Self-Care

Dogs are usually meticulous groomers, taking pride in their appearance. However, if you notice your dog neglecting their grooming routine, it could be a sign of physical discomfort or emotional distress.
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Painful conditions like arthritis or dental problems may make grooming painful or difficult for your dog. Regularly check your dog's coat, nails, and ears for any signs of neglect or abnormality. If you notice a decline in grooming, consult your veterinarian!

14. Spotting Signs of Mental Decline

As dogs age, cognitive issues might arise, similar to dementia in humans. Canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) can lead to confusion, disorientation, memory loss, and changes in behavior.
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If you observe your senior dog seeming disoriented, forgetting familiar places, or experiencing difficulty recognizing family members, they might be showing signs of cognitive decline. While CCD cannot be reversed, certain interventions and specific medications, can help manage its progression.

15. Addressing Accidents with Care

If your dog is experiencing frequent accidents indoors, it might be more than just a housetraining problem. Incontinence in dogs can occur due to various factors, such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, hormonal imbalances, or weakened bladder muscles, particularly in older dogs.
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It can also be a side effect of certain medications. Incontinence can be distressing for both you and your dog, but it's essential to remain patient and compassionate. Consult your veterinarian to explore appropriate treatment options!

16. Unsettling Lumps and Bumps

While finding a lump or bump on your dog can be alarming, not all growths are necessarily harmful. Some lumps can be benign, while others might be more concerning.
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It's essential to monitor any new or changing lumps closely. If you notice a lump that is growing rapidly, irregularly shaped or causing discomfort, it's crucial to have it examined by your veterinarian!

17. Identifying Signs of Depression

Dogs can experience depression, particularly after significant life changes, such as the loss of a companion, relocation, or changes in their routine. If your typically joyful and affectionate dog becomes disinterested they might be showing signs of depression.
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To support your dog during such times, maintain a consistent routine, offer plenty of attention and affection, and engage in activities that your dog enjoys to make sure they're doing okay!

18. Could It Be More Than Just a Cold?

While occasional coughing in dogs is common, persistent or chronic coughing might be indicative of an underlying health problem. Coughing can be caused by various conditions, such as respiratory infections, kennel cough,  or even heart disease.
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If your dog is coughing frequently, has difficulty breathing, or exhibits other respiratory symptoms, consult your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis, you can never be too careful right?

19. Unraveling the Mystery of Coat Alterations

Your dog's coat can tell you a lot about their health and well-being. Changes in the coat's texture, appearance, or shedding patterns might indicate an underlying health issue. Dull, dry, or brittle fur could be a sign of nutritional deficiencies or skin problems.
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Regularly groom your dog and observe their coat for any unusual changes or signs of discomfort. Addressing coat alterations promptly can prevent further complications and keep your dog's skin and fur in optimal condition!

20. Listening for Unusual Rhythms

Your dog's heart health is a vital aspect of their overall well-being. Irregular heartbeats or abnormal heart rhythms, known as arrhythmias, can be concerning. If you notice your dog's heart rate is too fast, too slow, or irregular, it could be a sign of an underlying cardiac problem.
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Heart conditions can be congenital or develop over time due to aging or other factors. If you suspect your dog has an irregular heartbeat, seek veterinary attention promptly!

21. When Your Dog Seems Lost

Cognitive disorientation or confusion in dogs can manifest as aimless wandering, difficulty finding familiar places, or getting stuck in corners or behind furniture. It can be distressing for both you and your dog.
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Cognitive dysfunction, particularly in older dogs, can be caused by changes in the brain similar to Alzheimer's disease in humans. While it cannot be cured, early intervention can slow its progression and enhance your dog's cognitive function.

22. Unexplained Bruising

If your dog has unexplained bruises or seems prone to bruising easily, it's essential to investigate the cause. Unexplained bruising can be a sign of a bleeding disorder, blood clotting issues, or underlying health problems.
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While the occasional bruise might result from play or minor accidents, frequent or widespread bruising requires attention. Consult your veterinarian to rule out any potential medical concerns and ensure your dog's health and well-being are not compromised!

23. Assessing Enthusiasm for Activities

A dog's interest and enthusiasm for their favorite activities can be a good indicator of their emotional well-being. If you notice your dog becoming disinterested in activities they once enjoyed, it might be a sign of discomfort, pain, or emotional distress.
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For example, a dog that suddenly loses interest in walks might be experiencing joint pain, while a dog that no longer engages in play might be feeling stressed or unwell. Monitor your dog's enthusiasm for activities and consult your veterinarian if you observe any significant changes!

24. Changes in Bowel Movements

Changes in your dog's bowel movements can provide valuable information about their digestive health. While some variations in stool consistency can be normal, persistent diarrhea, constipation, or bloody stools can be indicative of many issues.
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It's essential to monitor your dog's bowel movements regularly and consult your veterinarian if you notice any significant changes or concerning signs!

25. One for Short Nosed Dogs..

Labored or difficulty breathing, known as dyspnea, is a serious concern and requires immediate attention. If your dog is panting excessively, gasping for breath, or displaying signs of respiratory distress, it could indicate various underlying conditions.
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Labored breathing can quickly become life-threatening, especially in brachycephalic breeds (dogs with short noses) or dogs with pre-existing respiratory conditions. If your dog is experiencing labored breathing, seek emergency veterinary care immediately!

26. Unraveling the Reasons Behind Reluctance

Playfulness is characteristic of dogs, and sudden reluctance to play might be cause for concern. If your dog seems uninterested in their favorite games, toys, or activities, it could be a sign of physical discomfort or underlying health issues.
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Pain, arthritis, muscle stiffness, or even emotional distress could lead to a decline in playfulness. Observe your dog's behavior and consult your veterinarian if you notice any sudden changes!

27. Understanding Avoidance Behaviors

Like we said before, your dog's eyes can provide valuable cues about their emotional state. Avoiding eye contact or displaying gaze aversion might indicate fear, anxiety, or discomfort and need to be watched.
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While some dogs may naturally avoid direct eye contact as a submissive gesture, persistent avoidance might be a sign of stress or an underlying health issue. If your dog is displaying gaze aversion, observe their overall behavior for other signs of distress.

28. When Your Dog's Bark Alarms You

Dogs use various vocal tones to communicate their emotions and needs. Changes in your dog's vocalizations, such as whining, barking, or growling, can be essential signals. While occasional barking or whining is normal, sudden or excessive vocalization might indicate pain, distress, or discomfort.
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Additionally, changes in the pitch or tone of your dog's barks might indicate stress or excitement. Pay attention to your dog's vocal cues and observe their body language to better understand their emotions!

29. Recognizing Your Dog's Feelings

Dogs can convey their emotions through their body language and expressions. Happy, contented dogs may display relaxed body postures, wagging tails, and bright eyes. Conversely, anxious or stressed dogs might exhibit trembling, a tucked tail, or avoidance behaviors.
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Understanding your dog's emotional expression is essential for their well-being and to maintain a strong bond with them. By paying attention to your dog's cues, you can better respond to their needs and provide comfort and support when they're feeling anxious or scared.

30. Time to Say Goodbye

As much as we wish for our furry friends to be with us forever, there comes a time when they might reach the end of their life journey. Recognizing the signs that your dog's health is declining and that they may be nearing the end of their life is crucial for providing them with the care and comfort they deserve.
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During this difficult time, prioritize your dog's well-being and quality of life. Consult with your veterinarian to discuss your options and make decisions that ensure your beloved companion's comfort and dignity during their final days.

31. Noticing they've become anxious and jumpy

There are things in your environment that could trigger a response from your dog. But only you will know whether the environment has changed, whether your dog recovers after removing them from the situation.
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If it is the latter it suggests that this could be caused by a medical illness. Especially if it seems to have come suddenly from nowhere and without reason. It's never something any of us want to be put through!

32. Are they no longer responding to you?

You know your dog better than anyone and you know that they adore you as much as you adore them. You also know that you're their favorite person and that if they were feeling good, they would respond to you with the usual excitement as usual.

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So as soon as your dog doesn't respond you know your fur baby is seriously unwell and something is wrong that needs to be addressed because it suggests they are internally in great discomfort.

33. Drinking excessive fluids

Drinking excessive liquids can have very self-explanatory and obvious causes. Was it a hog day? Has your dog been doing a lot of exercise? Have they been fed more treats than usual? Only you will recognise these signs!

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On the other hand, a prolonged increase in thirst can point to something more sinister. It could be a sign that your dog is fighting an infection, or it could even suggest diabetes or a womb infection called pyometra for unneutered females.

34. Noticing weepy eyes

Weepy eyes may not be a serious condition, especially if your dog is experiencing weepy eyes with few other symptoms. It could be a blocked tear duct or a treatable infection. But you should always get it checked just in case.

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But if your dog has weepy eyes and it will not go away or they are also red it could be a sign of a dangerous eye disease. Eyes are so important and leaving them without treatment could cause your dog to go blind. It could also be a symptom of a serious underlying medical condition.

35. Seizures or convulsions

Seizures or convulsions are caused by an involuntary and abnormal episode in the brain that interferes with ordinary functioning. But it can be serious and it could even suggest that your dog's brain is degenerating.

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It can also indicate serious conditions such as lungworm or liver disease which can cause extreme illness in your dog and if untreated or the case is too serious it can lead to fatality.

36. Becoming easily fatigued

Again you know your dog inside out and you know if usually they're a lazy pooch or they're hyperactive and always waiting to play ball or go for a walk. Always keep an eye out for any changes!

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But when a dog is very easily fatigued it may be because they are not healthy, something undiagnosed may be ailing them. Fatigue can be a symptom of so many diseases and illnesses which can range from treatable to fatal.

37. Difficulty holding themselves up

You can tell when a dog is struggling to hold themselves up, it will be very difficult for them to stand up, they will be hanging their head and drooping their neck and it will be heartbreaking to see your furry best friend acting in this way.

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If your dog doesn't seem to be recovering it may be that your dog has an internal problem or disease such as a tumor which is causing them to rapidly deteriorate to the point that they are struggling to continue.

38. Smelling, particularly foul breath

A dog's breath is never going to be particularly odorless, some kind of odor is normal. But when you smell a particularly pungent or foul odor from their breath don't automatically dismiss it as 'they must have eaten something strange'.

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Check it in a couple of days and if it keeps on persisting it could indicate an internal problem such as an infection, kidney disease, diabetes, or internal tumors. There's no such things as being too careful!

39. Excessive biting or scratching at things

When your dog is biting and scratching excessively, do not instantly jump to the conclusion that your dog is being 'naughty'. When our dogs behavior switches up it is an indication of something we have to pay attention to.

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This behavior could indicate an external parasite infection or skin problems. Usually scratching is the sign of an external disease, yet sometimes it can be the result of an internal feeling in which your dog does not know how to deal with.

40. Random swelling of your dog's body

When we see swelling we automtically think of allergy, which could of course be the case. It can also mean there's some kind of infection or disease. And sometimes the swelling that you see isn't the only kind, it could also be happening internally which could be very dangerous.

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One possible cause of your dog's swelling is called lymphedema, where the lymphatic fluid collects in certain areas. This can obviously be very dangerous so you should always make sure you're aware of any health issues.

41. Shaking or trembling

When your dog is shaking or trembling you know that something is wrong. Some dogs tremble when they are cold, or anxious or they have some kind of cold or virus that in some cases is fought off naturally.

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Other times it may be due to poisoning or kidney disease or other serious illnesses which are bringing extreme pain and discomfort to your dog and manifesting in them trembling.

42. Changes to their oral health

Their oral health is something not to ignore either, despite the fact that it can be very difficult to get close to your dog's mouth as some do not like their mouth to be looked at or touched.

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But sometimes when their oral hygiene declines it is an insight to what is happening in their body or their internal organs. If there is some kind of disease it may show through the mouth as a secondary symptom.

43. Recoiling when they're touched

You know that your pup loves to be snuggled, stroked, and constantly given attention. So it will be noticeable to you if this behaviour changes. because dogs do not have the ability to vocalize their needs or problems, it's their behavior we have to pay the utmost attention to.

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So when they start to recoil from our touch it's often a sign of a serious cause as this is behaviour that suggests your dog is in pain. Try and locate where it is they seem to be struggling with any pain!

44. Knowing when your dog is struggling to swallow

Sometimes, age or losing teeth can make it more difficult for a dog to each and it may be time to change their food to small bites or even soft food. Someitms however, it has a more sinister cause.

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It's not common, however, it can be caused by a degenerative muscle or nerve disease. This can mean that the muscles cannot function properly to allow your dog to eat and it may result in your dog regularly choking on its food.

45. Vomiting becomes a common occurrence

Vomiting does not necessary mean your dog is seriously ill. However if the vomiting lasts more than a day or two, or it becomes very frequent then it's time to seek veterinary advice.

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Because it could be a sign of an infectious disease or inflammation in the gastrointesinal tract. These could be very serious if they are left too long without treatment and it may get to a point where your dog cannot recover.

46. Seeking out spots to rest that are unusual for your pup

Every dog has its habits and their usual spots where they love to go to rest. This behaviour is important because when this changes it shows something is up. Are your pooches hiding somewhere new?

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If your dog is seeking alternate places to stay around the house it suggests they are in discomfort and trying to find other areas. It can also be a sign of depression and mental health disorders. And, sadly it can be a sign of a serious illness or condition.

47. Excessive gas on the same diet

Some dogs are naturally gassy. You know what's normal for your dog because you're spending so much time with them, so you know what is their normal. It's different for all dogs!

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Excessive gas can be due to changes in their diet, irritable bowel syndrome or even conditions such as intestinal parasites. It can even be a symptom of a tumor so it is not something to dismiss.

48. Collapsing randomly

When your dog collapses randomly it's a serious sign that they are suffering from a severe medical condition. This would obviously worry you generally, but you need to know what's causing the problems too.
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Your dog may collapse for a variety of reasons and it could be because of an underlying serious medical condition such as heart disease or even blood disease along with many more. It is very important to get your pup checked out as soon as you notice this happening.

49. Dragging limbs which seem not to be functioning

If you have noticed that your dog's limbs seem not to be functioning properly it could be a serious sign. As dogs age limbs may become stiffer, but not functioning means something more serious is happening.

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You may in particular notice that their back legs fail to work at times and they have to drag their body to move. There is a condition called Degenerative myelopathy which is a disease and it causes the nerves in the lower back to cease functioning.

50. Unusual sensitivity to stimuli

When a dog is ill or doesn't feel well, sounds, smells, temperature changes and small changes to their environment may leave them feeling unsettled or uncomfortable.
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It could also be a sign of sensory processing disorder which means that they have a heightened sensitivity to things and stimuli and it can cause them a lot of distress in day-to-day life.