If your dog suddenly starts displaying unnaturally aggressive behavior, then you might want to take him to the nearest veterinary clinic. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior-Clinical Applications and Research, your beloved canine may be acting out because it is in pain.

Sure, certain dogs may be more aggressive than others, but researchers from the Autonomous University of Barcelona looked into the behavior of 12 dogs of varying breeds and found that all of them were aggressive because they were, in one way or another, feeling a degree of pain. Eight of the dogs even had hip dysplasia—a hereditary bone disorder that affects the joint connecting the hip and the head of the thigh bone.

"Dogs that had never been aggressive before the onset of pain began to behave in this way in situations where an attempt is made to control them," lead researcher Tomas Camps, a researcher at the UAB's Animal Nutrition and Welfare Service.

To prevent aggressive behavior from escalating, take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible. While its abrupt change in temperament may not necessarily be caused by pain, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure. Remember, as a pet owner, it's your responsibility to keep your pet happy, healthy, and content.

(Photo by tachikoma via Flickr Creative Commons)

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