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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Beware the Pooped Out Pup!

     We  love our dogs and want them to feel their best.  But sometimes they do get sick, just as we all do.
     One of the best things you can do for your dog is to simply pay attention and be observant of his behaviour as it relates to his overall health.  Several things can give you clues and indication of a problem.  A dog usually runs a normal temperature of around 101 degrees.  You can check this yourself with a rectal thermometer--not as in the photoshopped picture below.  ;)

     First, simply notice how he is acting.  If he is especially lethargic, and is not of very advanced age and is of a healthy weight, you might consider some possibilities of what could be ailing him. In general, lethargy can be considered a reduction in activity. A lethargic dog might get tired more easily, sleep a lot, have decreased interest in activities that he used to enjoy doing, and not eat or use the bathroom as often. You might even notice that your dog is having more accidents as a result of his reluctance to be taken out for walks.  Some possible causes might be infectious diseases such as parvovirus, distemper, diabetes, anemia, nutritional deficiencies, as well as pain.  If it hurts to get up and down, the dog is going to avoid unnecessary movement. While lethargy in itself isn’t always serious, it could be a sign of something more serious. If you notice that your dog has trouble breathing, has a decrease in appetite, is avoiding contact with people, has tremors, appears weak, has a fever, or is listless then you should definitely pay a visit to your vet to rule out any other medical condition.
     Another very easy way to discern a possible problem with your dog's health is to, uh, "know your poop".  Your dog's poop, that is.  Normal dog poop is going to be a bit smelly, can be small or large, sometimes depending on the type of food he is consuming.  Especially horrible smelling poop can be a signal of either a bit of a health problem, or simply that he has eaten something different than normal.  A yearly "poop exam" should be done at your veterinarian to be sure he doesn't have parasites.  However some, like tapeworms which appear in the poop as small grains of rice, must be actually seen.  So follow your dog around sometimes, and check it out.  Generally a dog's stool will be brown. In the course of a month, the color may vary slightly from brown to variations of yellow, mostly depending on what the dog ingested. Causes for concern are:
         ** Tarry black poop which could indicate the presence of blood being digested, for instance from a bleeding ulcer or other malady.
        **  Red blood in the stool could indicate undigested bone, fissures, intestinal bleeding and even cancer.
        **  Yellow stools may indicate giardia, tiny parasites that have invaded the intestine, usually through something the dog ate or drank such as water from a puddle in the woods, or horse poop, bunny poop or other excrement. It results in not only a yellow stool, but yellow diarrhea and is contagious, a cause for immediate attention from a veterinarian.
        **Diarrhea in colors from mustard yellow to green to dark brown indicates something wrong in the dog's system. It could be as simple as eating something nasty to the start of severe health problems.

        So, to keep your dog as healthy and alert as Popeye, here, be watchful of both your pet's general behaviour as well as his poop.  These are some very important tools to keeping your dog healthy.  If you see some of the above described conditions, you should take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
     Thank you all for stopping by today.  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them here, and I will answer as best I can.  If I don't know the answer, I'll get it for you.  If you're not already a "follower" of my blog, please go to the top of the page and click on the follow tab.  And, as always,
                                      Happy Tails, Everyone!!!!!!!