By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, which headlines this week’s CBS3 Pet Project. This month, veterinarians across the nation will encourage people to take a look at their pets and gauge their behavior as many animals suffer from chronic pain that sometimes is hard to identify.

You may believe your pet is old, grumpy or depressed, but they very well may just be in pain. Animals can hide pain well as it’s an animal survival instinct, so pet owners have to pay attention to some subtle changes in their pets.

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Any signs of pain spotted early can be treated and managed better.

Some signs include an increasing in breathing, a slow down in activity, changes in grooming and if their sleep patterns change.

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The Pennsylvania SPCA’s Carol Erickson says another sign of pain is if an animal jumps less — which is “especially true in cats.”

“If you see your cat jumping less, that’s a problem,” Erickson said.

A yearly pain assessment by a vet is recommended by animal care experts.

While you can’t prevent aging in your pet, a healthy diet along with low impact exercises can go a long way in keeping your pet from living in pain.

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Watch the video for more information on Animal Pain Awareness Month.