Dogs are masters at alerting humans to their needs and wants – in fact, this is one of the things that differentiates them from their not so distant cousins, the wolf (“canis lupus”). When your dog wants you to play, or let him out to potty, he’s usually quite savvy about giving you the proper cues to communicate these things. However, dogs aren’t always so skilled at letting us know if they are in pain or discomfort. That’s why it’s up to us, “their humans”, to take note of some subtle (and not so subtle) cues that can act as a barometer for our dogs’ overall health and well- being.
Loss of Appetite: Has your typically ravenous dog stopped running to his bowl during meal time? Is he turning his nose to food, even his usual favorites? It won’t harm your dog if he misses a meal here or there, but if he doesn’t eat for more than a day this may be cause for concern. Loss of appetite can portend a number of ailments so if it becomes an ongoing issue, you may want to bring Fido to the Vet.
Drinking Water: If your dog hasn’t touched his water bowl it could be because he is waiting for a fresh change of water. But if the bowl’s been refreshed and your dog is still not drinking this may mean your dog is stressed, sick or potentially experiencing pain when swallowing. To prevent dehydration, try feeding your dog ice cubes. If the problem persists, consult a Vet.
Lack of Energy: If your usually rambunctious dog suddenly lacks energy and becomes lethargic, it could be a sign that they aren’t feeling well. Dogs will frequently attempt to sleep off pain or discomfort. If your pup is lacking energy, monitor him closely. If the problem persists, consult your vet.
Abnormal Bowel Movements: We have come to know what our dogs’ poop looks like from picking it up every day. If your dog’s bowel movement looks abnormal, if they are straining to go, or going too often, keep an eye on them throughout the day. If you notice bloody stool, or poop that is very viscous and muscousy, you should contact your Vet to rule out an internal parasite, a bowel blockage, or poisoning.
Withdrawals: Dogs are social animals and they usually love the company of humans and/or their conspecifics. However, when dogs aren’t feeling well they tend to become anti-social, or retreat to a dark, quiet place to ride out their pain. If your dog is normally a social butterfly but has recently become withdrawn, it’s probably time to bring him to the Vet for a checkup.
In order to remain proactive about the health of all the dogs in our pack, we kindly ask that owners notify us if their dog is exhibiting any unusual behavior that may signal he is not feeling well. Dogs prefer rest to social activity when they are sick, and like humans, they can become quite irritable when they are not feeling well.