Tips from the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) of Pet Behaviors to Watch:
- Listen to how they vocalize: Whine, Howling, Whimpering, Groaning, and Grunting
- Changes in Their Daily Habits: Decreased appetite, Changes in sleeping or drinking, house training issues, withdrawn from others
- Self Mutilation: Licking, biting, scratching a particular part of their body
- Activity Level: Restless, not moving much, difficulty moving, trembling, circling or lying still, or increased affection needs
- Facial Expressions: Vacant stare, glazed, wide or sleepy eyes, enlarged pupils, ears are flat, fast panting, looks in pain
- Hair: No shine, bare spots, dry spots, hair stands up, or hair comes out in major clumps
- Self-Protection: Guards a spot by lying on it or hiding it, limps, does not want to be held or cuddled, or hides from you
- Aggressive: Concerning only when a happy go lucky and friendly dog becomes growly, ears back, does not act themselves
- Posture: Lays on side, elbows down on ground with hindquarters raised
No matter what, the first step is to observe your dog’s behavior
As a dog trainer and pet care provider, I can usually pick up if there is a health concern because of a change in a dog’s behavior. Remember, they can’t speak and their behavior is the key indicator. If there is anything different, note it on paper and observe if you see any of the other indicators and note what time of the day it is.
If you think they need medical assistance contact your veterinarian right away. If you can wait another day take notes. You can always call for the next day appointment and if your pup gets better you can always cancel. So plan ahead when possible.
As my Wausau area dog training clients know by now, I encourage the observation of their urine and feces all the time or as much as possible. This too, is a MAJOR indicator if the health of your dog is changing. The more information you can provide your veterinarian the more accurate the assessment is and if meds are necessary history of any negative changes is a key element.