Most dogs are pretty “up front” about their wants and needs but some common canine problems or their preferences can be more subtle, for instance…
WHAT DOES YOUR DOG WANT?
E. Katie Gammill, AKC Judge and TheDogPlace.org Exhibition Editor
One obsessed "Hoover" dog perfected "floor cleaning." Searching beneath furniture and tearing into anything accessible, this dog did serious damage. Some dogsgo in a circle when they need to "upchuck", go outside, or "bed down".
Dogs turn "begging" into an art form. If they want to "go for a ride", a sharp bark or paw on the knee will make sure YOU know what that dog wants!
Your dog can also inadvertently let you know what he needs. The pawing of an eye indicates an infection or something under the eyelid. Pawing at the mouth indicates an obstruction between upper teeth. Perhaps it's a foreign object picked up while perusing the landscape. Gagging may indicate worms, an upset stomach, or a mouth full of mud from digging for a mole.
While your dog can’t tell you in words, his actions tell you something is going on.
Weight loss or no appetite are indicative of an intestinal obstruction as determined by an x-ray. There isn't much time as stoppage can cause peritonitis. A laxative might fix this BUT your veterinarian must determine if the case requires surgery. If blockage removal demands an intestine be "sectioned", this dog must then be kept crated, fed properly, and isolated.
Mud or small rocks between the toes cause chewing. Foot or leg chewing may indicate a fungus called "rust" that is in your lawn. This should be sprayed by a professional and the dog kept off the grass until it is safe. Your vet can assist in addressing this issue. Determine lawn sprays are safe for pets before applying. Leg or foot chewing may indicate other "allergies" both outdoors and inside your home.
Long toenails can cause crippling foot or pastern deformities. Trim the hair between the pads of the feet and cut his nails. When jogging, be aware the dog's footpads may become sore. YOU are wearing protective footwear on the HOT roads; your dog is not!
Swelling around the eyes may indicate allergies OR an immune system problem. Some dogs will react to normal inoculations which in turn, may indicate immune problems. Hair loss around the eyes, on the feet and tail, are a definite symptom of immune problems. Be sure to stagger those inoculations so the system isn't overloaded.
An active dog becoming lethargic or lazy may indicate internal problems. Dogs have pancreas attacks. Rich food may require a special diet. Dogs have gall bladders which can be removed without adverse effects. A veterinary examination is required to determine cancer and bloods tests reveal toxins, thyroid problems and many other diseases.
Intestinal worms are indicated by "butt dragging", gagging, or appearance of thread-like worms in the stool. Fleas cause itching and once ingested, they become "tape worms". Rice like segments may be found under the tail. Tape worms can also come from dogs eating squirrels, rabbits and other small game. Butt dragging can also indicate the anal glands need expressed. Your vet or groomer can show you how to do this.
Rest may relieve a limping dog but if limping continues, get an OFA x-ray to determine healthy hip structure. Dysplastic dogs can be corrected by surgery. Legs Perthes appears the first year. Appearing to be injured, in reality, the head of the femur may not fit the socket properly. This causes circulation problems that further causes deterioration of the head of the femur. Surgery for removal of the head of the femur allows the dog a normal life. Muscles will develop and strengthen the joint. If Legs Perthes is not addressed, the dog will suffer pain the rest of its life.
Dogs have under-bites. over-bites, missing teeth, and other dental anomalies just like humans. By genetic testing and not breeding suspect individuals, such defects appear less frequently in dogs. Baby teeth may be pulled to allow adult teeth to come in properly. Braces are available for dogs.
Veterinary Colleges offer chemo and radiation for canine cancer. Each person must address their monetary situation and determine "quality of life" remaining. As pet owners, our final responsibility is the compassion to "let go" when our pet is suffering.
With proper diet and care, most pets share our lives for many joyous years. If a dog suffers a disabling health problem, it is a pet owner's responsibility to address it. Who remains by your side when you are sick? Who stands vigil until you return? YOUR DOG!
"The only faith never broken is that of a faithful dog." ~ Konrad Lorenz. Some say you can judge a man's heart by the way he treats animals. Truer words were never spoken.
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