Dogs, like many other animals, have it in their instinct to hide signs of sickness for as long as possible. This is because, in the wild, sick animals are easier to get hunted down or, if they are alpha of the pack, dethroned.
Even though this instinct is not needed for our pets anymore, they still showcase it here and there. This means that you have to be extra careful as to what your dog is communicating through his or her body language. The attention to detail could potentially save your dog’s life if it comes to it, or, at it’s best, allow you to catch early signs of disease and treat them accordingly.
Before we get started with some telltale signs that your dog might be hiding sickness from you, please make sure that your dog gets proper veterinary care at the slightest sign of something not being as it should.
While dogs use their tongue to clean themselves, them paying too much attention to one or multiple paws might be a sign something else is going on. If your dog starts licking their paw all of a sudden, with too much interest, there may be either an allergy or a fungus infection going on. Think of it this way: your dog’s paws are always on the ground. They can get in contact with lots of gunk and bacteria. Furthermore, if your dog keeps licking away at the paw, they will keep the area wet, which will only cultivate the growth of more fungi.
So what can you do? If you see your dog paying too much attention to one or more of its paws, try putting a sock over the paw to prevent your dog from munching on it further. Then, keep the area under observation and refer to a vet for further care.
Eye problems in dogs can be very difficult to spot. However, one thing that you can definitely look for is any sign of cloudy eyes. There’s a test you can do to make sure your dog’s not developing cataract or any other disease that can impair vision. All you need to do is take a photo of your dog, using your flash to do so. Then, look at the photo (look at the reflection of the light in their eyes). Does one eye seem more cloudy than the other? If so, it might be time to pay your vet a visit.
Staying within the eye area, we also urge you to look for any signs your dog might have a red eye. While some breeds naturally have more redness in their eye (like English bulldogs, for instance, generally speaking, redness in the eye is never a good thing. This could potentially indicate a hemorrhage or high blood pressure and could even threaten your dog’s life.
If you notice this with your dog, and know it’s not “natural” for their breed, please make sure you book an appointment with the vet’s office as soon as possible.
Regardless of their age, your dog shouldn’t have a rapid change in attitude or activity level. Let’s break down the why. First of all, attitude. If your dog is not so friendly anymore, but rather it became aggressive or fearful when you do certain things, it might just be a flight or fright response meant to hide illness. If this is a sudden change and there are not external factors indicating a reason why this could happen, call your vet.
Then, activity level. While some activity decrease is normal as your dog ages, a sudden drop in interest when playing “fetch” or going for walks might be an indicative of something more serious. As with the attitude change, make sure there are no external factors causing this shift in behavior and then call your vet to make sure your dog is safe.
Dogs don’t need too much water to survive. In fact, some pups might only take a few sips of water per day. Obviously, this depends on the size of your dog, the temperature outside, and the activity level, however, when your little Fido starts drinking too much water all of a sudden, you might want him to get checked out at the vet’s office.
Extreme thirst can be a sign of diabetes or other illnesses that can be very hard to spot.
And now you know. Keeping a firm eye on your dog’s appearance and behavior will mean that you can easily detect any subtle changes that might indicate that something’s wrong, maybe even before your dog knows it. If you suspect something changed in your dog’s appearance or behavior, please consult a veterinary to make sure everything’s okay or to give the right treatment if necessary.