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Little tricks to know if your dog is okay

enero 12, 2021


All of us, dedicated and loving owners, would like our friends to always be cheerful, active and lively. We know their enthusiasm well when we are about to go home, when we go out together for a walk or when we are about to play happily. These, which are familiar situations, are easily understood by us.

The problem arises for those more «particular» manifestations or attitudes, at times apparently banal that we are unable to interpret or worse still to notice. Their innate ability to react intensely and promptly to painful sensations, combined with the not simple interpretation of not «usual» signals, can make it difficult to understand the request for help. Their latent and initial malaise can go unnoticed. Here, then, is a series of evaluations to be analyzed in order to be able to «read» pathological states or malaise in the gestures and attitudes of our friend and be able to promptly intervene.

In fact, nn the case of a suspected problem to our four-legged friend, it is good to bring the signals noticed to the attention of the doctor for an expert evaluation. We are always convinced that it is better to ask a specialist, rather than remain in doubt or even worse, proceed with do-it-yourself therapies. The doctor will explain to us if that anomalous condition, that singular attitude that we have noticed, constitutes a concrete problem and will eventually show us how to remedy it. The first rule is observation.

We can distinguish the domestic evaluation of our pet, in three main aspects:

  1. Appearance assessment
  2. Control of major organic functions
  3. Changes in mood and behavior.

Let’s examine each of these points individually.

1. In the appearance evaluation we can consider all those anomalies of our friend’s exterior.

Skin and coat: we may be suspicious of a hair that is no longer shiny, of a shaggy and cottony hair, of the presence of dandruff or the visualization of reddish hyperemic areas on the skin or regions where there is more or less extensive alopecia. It is advisable to check for the presence of growths, papules, pustules, areas of hyperkeratinization of the skin, wounds or scabs. We also pay attention to a possible reactivity to contact, evaluating if it expresses pain to our caresses.

Eye: physiologically clear and clean, in pathological conditions it may have redness or a general change in color or appearance. We may notice if our friend blinks often or tends to have his eye closed or semi-closed or we may notice the presence of abundant secretions or drains. Attempts by the animal to rub the eye region could therefore be a sign of discomfort or the presence of a dangerous foreign body.

Ears: in physiological conditions we expect to visualize a clean ear and a correct ear bearing, often modified in the presence of pathological conditions that concern it. Indeed in almost all the pathological and painful affections of the ears there is an attitude characterized by an abnormal bearing of the head and of the ear itself. The animal tends to bring its head to the side or shake it frequently and vigorously, very often due to pain or intense itching. Alongside this, you will often notice an animal engaged in scratching, often violent and intense. In all these cases it is good to have our friend visit the doctor and follow his indications precisely, since ear diseases tend to recur often or to evolve into more serious diseases if neglected from the first signs. We can also be suspicious in noticing an accumulation of secretion, ear wax or material of various colors (each color found is peculiar and characteristic of a pathological state of the organ) in the ear canal or in the perception of a bad smell, approaching the ear of our friend.

Gums: they must appear not red and not bleeding, but pink and healthy. In pathological states they could show an altered color or have accumulations of tartar. Finally, the presence of bad smells is not uncommon for various reasons. It is possible that, a due to pain or pathologies of the gums, there is an obvious difficulty in chewing, a marked lack of appetite or a refusal of food by our friend.

Oral cavity: of the latter it is good practice to carry out an accurate inspection and check for any pno bad odor, excessive salivation or pain on palpation of the entire region.

2. As for the evaluation of important organic functions, let’s first consider the four pillars that can help us provide an indication of our friend’s general well-being or that can first make us suspect a systemic or topical problem. These are: eat, drink, urinate and defecate, and constitute a first means of analyzing the general state of health, which we can detect during the stay of the subject at home or during the daily walks carried out together.

To eat: problems related to appetite and chewing are not uncommon. It is useful to always keep the appetite of our friends under control, to be able to identify any variations in terms of the amount of food eaten or frequency of searching for food. Attention must be paid to more or less significant changes in weight (it is important to estimate not only the timing of weight gain or loss but also the extent of this change). An animal with no appetite or with manifestations of productive but also non-productive retching, is a subject to be subjected to a veterinary medical examination. There can be many causes that lead to such events, from the accidental ingestion of a foreign body to forms of gastroenteritis. This extreme variability makes specialist advice necessary. It is essential to consult the doctor even if our friend manifests a particular eating disorder characterized by the ingestion of non-nutritive substances (picacism or pica).

Drinking: check if the animal drinks too much or is not interested in water. Indeed excessive or low thirst, both of which could indicate a problem which requires medical attention. In this regard, it would be useful to be able to evaluate or even estimate the amount of water drunk by our friend daily, in order to identify an excess or a deficiency.

Defecate: in this regard, the following are to be evaluated: changes in the appearance of the stool, anomalies in consistency (diarrheal stools are to be considered a sign of probable disturbance of the gastrointestinal packet), changes in their color, presence of traces of blood or possible presence of parasites inside them. Each of these variations can be associated with a more or less serious pathological affection of the subject and therefore requires veterinary medical advice. Together with the importance of stool observation, it is essential to analyze the act of defecation of our friend in order to pay attention to the presence of constipation, constipation, pain associated with the act of defecation or the possible detection of rectal tenesmus (for rectal tenesmus we mean an unsuccessful attempt to defecate, despite the subject placing himself in the position to expel the stool).

Urinating: all changes in the frequency of urination and in the appearance of the mice are to be considered and evaluated. It is important to pay attention to the appearance of the urine to detect the possible presence of traces of blood or an unpleasant and pungent odor. It is essential to recognize any condition of pain, suffering or difficulty of the animal in correspondence with the act of urination or the presence of a non-productive urination. Finding anything unusual in the animal’s urine or urination habit should be followed up with medical advice.

3. Fundamental in allowing us to identify something that is not going as it should, a painful condition or discomfort of our friend, are the changes in behavior or the acquisition of unusual attitudes.

First of all is the mood and vivacity of our friend, which always represents an excellent indicator not only of his physical, but also mental state. Seeing the killed animal, which shows a marked lack of interest in what surrounds it and those around it, which shows depression of the sensory and reduced reactivity, could make us suspect some problem or some pain. The lack of interest in the activities that he normally likes to do, or the lack of activation in the case in which we pronounce words that we know to be understood and interpreted by him, must make us suspicious.

Obviously you have to learn a distinguish a state of lethargy from physiological fatigue. In the sense that a person who is tired, lying down and sleepy after actively playing could be completely normal. But if its reduced activity cannot be correlated to fatigue resulting from a more or less intense physical commitment, it must arouse in us the right suspicion.

In addition to the presence or absence of our friend’s activity, it is good to be attentive to the movement itself and how it expresses itself. We verify that the gait is regular and relaxed, without the presence of lameness or uncertain movements, we always check that the animal rests and loads all the 4 limbs well, that our beloved pet does not show suffering in the act of rising from the decubitus position or you don’t show signs of muscle and joint stiffness. It is indeed important to notice any signs of weakness. Connected to all this, we see that there is a adequate breathing rhythm in all the activities carried out by our friend and that you show no signs of shortness of breath during a walk at a steady pace.

Therefore, after having listed the main conditions and aspects to be observed and on which to pay attention to get an idea of ​​the state of well-being of our friend, it is good to underline a basic rule: every change, everything that was not present before and then manifests itself, every aspect that we find strange or suspicious about our friend, must make us think of something to check. In fact, we always remember that many times, although there may be harmony between our friend and us, it is not easy for him to express and for us to understand complex conditions. What may seem like a trivial problem, if neglected, could become more serious and harmful for our friend.

The most important thing therefore is to suddenly notice the presence of these changes and consider that the vet will always be available for clarification of doubts and perplexities. Both we and our veterinarian are committed to protecting the health and well-being of our friends.