I am not a vet, and I do not claim to be. There is a lot that goes on under that fur and thick skin that I don’t have any idea about, but I do know one thing for sure: Dogs cannot talk. They simply cannot open their cute little mouths and tell us that their ear hurts. Or they have a tummy ache. Or that they’ve noticed a tiny lump on their back that they would really like to have checked out. I have never had a baby – a two-legged one at least – but I would imagine it goes pretty much the same way with children of the human persuasion. You must be ever diligent to make sure no sniffle or scrape goes unnoticed.
I am amazed at how many people are completely ignorant to their pet’s ailments. Being aware of what is normal and what is abnormal to your particular pup can be incredibly helpful. It can also save you time and money you might otherwise spend taking Fluffy to the vet for something that isn’t what I deem “vet worthy.” Last month, I noticed one of my clients (FYI – my “clients” are the dogs and the “parents” are…well…the parents!) had some hair loss and redness on her back hind legs. She was really itching at them on our walk and during our playtime, so I left a note drawing it to her mom’s attention. After a vet visit the next day, her mom informed me the poor dog had a staph infection! She also told me she “hadn’t even noticed it! My dog is so active, I can’t really ever get a good look at her.” Without the pills and cream the vet perscribed….this could have been a drawn out (and itchy!) ordeal. Unfortunately, I have a long list of other instances like this – ranging from eye infections to paw pad scrapes. Ailments that might not be as serious or noticeable as a tail getting chopped off in a freak parasailing accident, but things that get worse and worse as time goes on. Things that cause your little furry friend pain, and remember – they can’t tell you about it.
My advice? A Daily Once-Over (a DOO!) It doesn’t have to be as traumatic as a doctor poking and prodding you in a sterile room with year old magazines. Just wait until your pooch is calm, and pet them! Pay attention to any bumps, lumps, scrapes, scratches….basically anything weird. Use your eyes if you can…but feel around if you have a hairier pooch. (This can be great for young pups too. It will get them use to be touched everywhere – by you or your vet.) If you make a point to do this every day, you will start to notice if something seems odd or if your dog flinches when you touch an area that usually causes no reaction. It literally takes seconds, but it can be valuable if something does pop up.
So go ahead….DOO it!
P.S. Works on humans too! It’s always good to know your own body.