January 17, 2021   8:34am

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Your Dog’s Subtle Signs

Sometimes no matter how much we love or know our pets, when they don’t feel well we might misunderstand their behavior…particularly as they get older and tend to be less lively.

To add to the problem, because they want to please us so much they push themselves to hide their pain and don’t give us a cry or a yelp signal. If you dog doesn’t fell well, here are some “tail” tell signs to look for …

The obvious are diarrhea and vomiting. The not so obvious might include urination or house soiling accidents. (No, your pup may not be acting out; it’s possible he or she is just not well.)

The even more disguised but more dangerous may include:

  • a change in sleeping habits or lethargy;
  • a desire to mount a family member’s leg (ok … more than the usual);
  • a more “needy” desire for attention when that hasn’t previously been part of your dog’s personality;
  • changes in behavior — head pressing, pacing, circling, just not being “there” in the same way;
  • a difference in eating habits — from wanting more food, to no longer rushing for favorites, to a loss of appetite;
  • no longer being in her favorite spots … maybe moving under a table or some other place she didn’t used to go;
  • a lack of enthusiasm when she sees you or no longer greeting you at the door;
  • a hesitation before going up or down stairs; jumping on or off something …

Never hesitate to call your vet even if it’s just because you “feel something’s not quite right.” You may be onto something that other’s might miss.

Snoety symbol
Foster says: June 30th, 2008 at 7:39 am

“Never hesitate to call your vet even if it’s just because you ‘feel something’s not quite right.’” –Absolutely! Last year I became aware that our 8-year-old dog was just not the same. The first thing I noticed was that after a long car trip (which had never stressed him out before) he seemed subdued. He still did fine on walks, still loved to play, still had a good appetite . . . even my husband didn’t notice the decrease in energy until I pointed it out. Then his odor changed, very slightly. It wasn’t a bad smell, it just wasn’t his usual healthy smell. We took him to the vet and an initial exam showed nothing that worried the vet, but he said, “I trust the owner. If you feel something’s not right, we’ll do a blood panel.” The tests showed our darling boy had chronic renal failure. CRF is irreversible, but there are things you can do to slow it down. Our boy made it for 7 more months.

Foster says: June 30th, 2008 at 8:11 am

P.S. Even though the humans in our lives are able to tell us when they don’t feel well, they may not, or they may just not see changes in themselves that others can. Particularly now, when so many adults do not have a primary care physician who’s known them for years, we should be alert to subtle changes in all our loved ones.

harriett balkind says: June 30th, 2008 at 12:38 pm

Thanks, Foster. And one more point — when my pooch was ill I misunderstood the medications that the vet gave me. I’ll always believe that mix-up contributed to my pet dieing sooner. So — always ASK QUESTIONS & UNDERSTAND what the meds are for; how the meds work together AND separately; and be sure to check and double-check that you’ve filled ALL the prescriptions properly.

The best policy is to be well-informed.

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