As dog owners one of our biggest concerns is the health and well-being of our animal. Unfortunately dogs can’t communicate with us to warn us of illness, so much like children we need to be aware of signs that will warn us that our dogs are unwell. To give you an understanding of how your dog is feeling, we have outlined six tell “tail” signs that will most certainly determine the health and well being of your dog.
1. Know your own dog
We should all be able to gage the mood of our dogs on a day-to-day basis. One of the best ways to tell if your dog is not well is by picking up on any behavioural changes in your dog. Look out for symptoms including sneezing, heavy panting, loss of appetite, biting/clawing or any other unusual behaviour.
2. Gum colour
This is the ultimate way of discovering the health of your dog. Dog’s gums (much like humans) should be pink. If your dog’s gums are a grey/blue/white colour then you can be sure that your dog is not well. If you discover your dog’s gums are discoloured ensure you visit a vet as soon as possible.
3. Change of appearance
If your dog is under the weather the initial signs that they are unwell will be a change in appearance. Recognising the physical signs of a sick dog can sometime be difficult but some of the more obvious signs of a sick dog include bald spots, bumps/tumours, strong smells, itchy ears, runny noses and swollen eyes. If you suspect your dog is showing signs of illness consult a vet or animal health company who will advise you on the course of action you should take.
4. Is your dog hydrated?
Sometimes your dog may not be as sick as you first imagined, they may simply be suffering from dehydration. To check if your dog is suffering from a bout of dehydration simply pull the skin on the back of their neck and if it seems to “stick” your dog is dehydrated.
5. What does a healthy dog look like?
As mentioned in point one you should know your dog and that includes the traits of what your dog looks like when healthy. If your dog is healthy it should breathe 15-20 times a minute. Your dog’s ears should smell clean; have bright eyes and shiny fur. Knowing what your dog looks like when healthy will enable you to determine illness straight away.
6. Read up
You don’t have to be a vet to read up on dog illness and sickness. By knowing the basics of dog health you will be able to diagnose and help your dog immediately.
Want an online course which walks you through what to do in an emergency with your pet? Then take a look at Dr Katherine van Ekert Onay’s guide to ‘First Aid for Your Pets‘.