Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Dog Cannot Say I’m Sick

          I have seen many a sick dog, the sad thing is most times their owners do not even realize they are sick until something drastic happens.  Dogs may not be able to say I am sick, but they do have a way of communicating to us.  Whether or not we realize they are trying to communicate with us is another story.  I have two dogs, and I can always tell when one of them is not feeling well.  It does not always require a trip to the vet, but it does prompt me to keep an eye on them to make sure things don’t get any worse.
          So how do you know when your dog is sick?  Your dog will let you know.  You cannot expect your dog to come moping up to you and say I don’t feel so well, but what you can expect to see is a change in behavior.  No matter what kind of dog you have I can assure you they have a pattern.  It is the one thing all dogs have in common, they are ruled by routine.  They go out at the same times every day, they know when you’re getting home, and if your late it throws the routine out of whack and they do not like it too much.  They will lounge in the same spot at the same times, they will sleep in the same area every night.  You see what I am saying.  Dogs truly are creatures of habit, even more so than we humans. 
          If your dog breaks its routine, it may be a signal to look more closely.  Make sure they are eating when you feed them, make sure they are actually going when you let them outside.  If your dog breaks its routine it does not always mean they are sick.  It could just mean you have a bored dog and they want to play.  However if they are not eating, or they are not greeting you at the door as they normally would, or they are not producing anything when the go out, or when you walk them, it could be a sign that your dog is sick.  Especially if they are not eating or going to the bathroom, in that case you should take them to the vet and have them looked at as soon as possible.
          So you think your dog is sick, how do you know when to take them to the vet?  That is not as easy a question to answer as you might think. Everyone has their opinions of when it’s time to take the dog to the vet.   If your dog is sluggish and does not want to play, it could mean you have very sick dog, or it could mean you just came in from a three mile hike and they are tired.  It is really up to you to know your dog.  You will know when your dog is not right.  For me, I take my dogs in at the first sign of illness.  I don’t want to wait around and see if things get worse.  I would rather take them to the vet and find out they are fine, instead of waiting around and realizing I should have taken them sooner.  It is always better to err on the side of caution.
          There are all kinds of things that can go wrong with a dog.  They can come down to anything from a mild cold all the way up to ingesting life threatening parasites.  It is always a good policy to keep an eye on your dog, and know when they are telling you things are not right.   Paying attention to your dog is often the best way to keep your furry family member healthy and happy for all the years to come.

Nick Carreno

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