Written by Eve Bandusena | Parents Avenue Writer | Images Courtesy of Freepik
Have you ever woken up and had one of those days where you have a runny rose, high temperature and an awful ache that permeates your entire body? You instantly know you’re sick, the symptoms are palpable. We can verbalize this by calling in sick for work, or, telling your friends and family to keep their distance.
But, things aren’t immediately evident for our canine counterparts.
“Dogs may not be able to tell us when something hurts or doesn’t feel good, but what sick dogs cannot say in words, they’ll demonstrate through physical symptoms and behaviour changes.
Some cues can be very subtle and difficult to tell, but the owners that see them every day will realize when they are not just being their regular selves,” says Dr. Cecelia Boklin, founder and one of the panel vets at Kinabalu Animal Clinic.
As dogs age, there are several influences that will affect their health if it’s welfare needs are not met. The Five Animal Welfare Needs are:
• The need for a suitable environment
Besides providing a hygienic environment, the owner must create a safe zone. As an example, set apart an area in your house for your dog to escape high-stress events like thunderstorms and parties. Or, provide your dog with a ‘security blanket’ such as a toy.
Whenever possible stay with him until the high-stress event has passed. The owner’s presence is always a great reassurance to a dog.
• The need for a suitable diet
A dog’s diet is an integral part of his health and wellbeing. Providing your dog with a diet that is not properly balanced for his or her life stage and lifestyle may cause unforeseen repercussions that may lead to sickness.
• The need to be able to exhibit normal behavior patterns
All dogs love to play and run around. A dog that is chained or tethered has limited movements and activities and can easily get stressed. A constant stressor may lead to sickness in a dog. Physical activities like a game of fetch or a walk around the block are a
great stress reducer for dogs.
• They need to be homed with, or apart from, other animals
For example, keeping an old, blind geriatric dog in the same compound with a young a hyperactive large breed dog will provide more harm than warmth to the older dog. Injuries may occur and stress as well – both of these can lead to further health issues.
• The need to be protected from pain, suffering, and disease
Dogs must always be brought for regular veterinary checks and vaccinations to prevent diseases. As dog owners, how can we be alert and sensitive to our dog’s health?
“It is important to note that ANY change in your dog’s behavior from what it normally does is a reason to be alert and see your veterinarian. As owners, we must monitor and interact with our dogs daily for us to be able to notice their changes (either behavioral, physical or emotional changes),” Dr. Cecelia remarks.
1. Appetite changes
2. Bad breath or other odd odors
3. Weight loss or gain
7. Mild vomiting
8. Mild diarrhea
10. Minor wounds or sores
11. Excessive salivation
12. Excessive thirst (increased water intake)
13. Frequent and/or inappropriate urination
14. Constipation or incontinence
15. Excessive scratching or dull, dry, or flaky hair coat
16. Frequent panting
17. Nasal discharge or congestion
18. Displays of mild to moderate pain (such as whimpering or resistance when a specific area
is touched or action is taken)
19. Dizziness, imbalance, or circling
20. Not acting like its normal self
“Takedown notes, make a record of the changes and a timeline to go along with it. Owners must bring the dog to the veterinarian and present the history of the dog (along with their general observation of the changes). The records are very important to help the veterinarian in performing proper diagnosis workups on your dog,” Dr. Cecelia advises.
“It can be very hard to gauge this as a subtle change may progress to a serious problem in a short period of time depending on the type of causative agent and the condition (well-being) of the dog. It is best to bring it to be checked by a veterinarian as soon as a sign is noticed to ensure that treatments can be started promptly,” she adds.
Immediately contact your veterinarian or go to an emergency clinic if you observe any of the following signs:
– Blue or very pale gums
– Labored breathing
– Collapse or loss of consciousness
– Severe vomiting and/or diarrhea
– Inability to walk
– Extremely bloated abdomen
– Trying to vomit repeatedly but nothing comes up
– Severe wounds or bleeding
– Signs of acute severe pain (such as crying out very loudly and excessively, acting aggressive when touched, or guarding a part of the body intensely)
– Body temperature over 40 degrees Celsius or under 37.2 degrees Celsius (normal is typically 38 degrees Celsius to 39.2 degrees Celsius)
– A sudden and extreme change in mental state or cognitive function
“Veterinarians will usually perform diagnostic workup based on the owner’s description of the changes that they observed in their dog. Therefore, owners are actually “frontliners” also known as their dog’s voice. It is important to make it a routine to be with your dog as often as possible for you to notice any changes. When in doubt, always seek a veterinarian’s opinion and bring to the veterinary clinic to get a proper check-up and treatment at the soonest. Let us all build a caring, concern and cautious attitude of a responsible dog owner at all times,” she last adds.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases. At Parents Avenue, we strongly recommend all our readers to seek medical advise from your local hospital or clinic. Thank you.
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