Signs of canine illness

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By Tess Thompson

Even though we may love our dogs as much as ourselves or any other member of the family, the fact that they belong to a different species and therefore have different needs and behavior patterns needs to be realized. One major mistake that most of us end up making is that we offer the same foods that we eat or like to eat to them assuming that they should be treated just like other humans.

This so called good deed of ours actually may cause a lot of harm to our pets since their requirements of diet, exercise, love and comfort are different. A large dog with lots of hair does not need a warm blanket to sleep on in winter. Nature provides them with the required apparatus to keep them warm. But in case you have a dog that originally belongs to a different environment or region as your pet, you may have to see that he is comfortable in the new climate that you have brought him to.

Another reason why understanding your dog becomes extremely important is because they cannot communicate with you in your language. Therefore, it becomes necessary for us to be able to read the non-verbal and signs that they use to communicate to us. This becomes most critical when they are not well and are facing some health concern that they may not be able to ‘talk’ about.

Being able to recognize early signs of a possible illness can lead to better health care that you can give your dog. The first step in being able to identify the abnormal signs in your dog, you need to know the normal behavior and mannerisms of your dog. This will lead you to be able to identify any signs that may not be natural for your pet.

A healthy dog has a body temperature of 101 to 102 degree Fahrenheit, a breathing rate of 15 to 20 per minute and a heart rate of 80 to 120 per minute. One standard rule of thumb for checking whether your dog is unwell or not is to touch his nose. If the nose is wet, all is well.

The signs to watch out for are:

  1. Swelling, redness or an unusual discharge from the eyes.
  2. Twitching, smelling or itchy ears.
  3. Coughing, choking or vomiting.
  4. Amount and frequency of urine.
  5. Dribbling or straining while urination.
  6. Wounds, hackles, hair loss, ticks or dryness in the skin.
  7. Heavy breathing while at rest or excessive panting (some panting is usual while exercise and when the weather is warm).
  8. Frequency, color and consistency of stools. Keep an eye open for bloody stools or parasites.
  9. Changes in diet like unreasonable amount of water intake or food. Significant increase or reduction in the quantity of food should also be monitored.
  10. Any behavioral changes like excessive aggression, submissiveness, fear, laziness, stumbling and fatigue.

Even after you have identified the various aspects of your dogs health that you may need to keep in mind, there are all the changes in the world that you may be faced with a situation wherein you may need to take your dog to a veterinarian. Explore other options like homeopathic medicine for your pets or dog herbal remedies to be able to provide long-term relief from problems. These natural and alternate medicine options are available for acts too as cat herbal remedies.