One of the biggest worries for most pet-owners is that their dog will be suffering silently from an illness and they will not know. Besides the fact that dogs cannot articulate how they are feeling, many of them will actually try to hide symptoms of ill-health from their families with a tail wag and a tongue lick, making timely diagnosis even more difficult.
However, there are many telltale signs that will raise red flags in your mind, vis-à-vis your pet’s health, if you know how to look for them:
# 1: DROOPING EARS
• If you notice your per has drooping ears, it may not just be because he/she is having an emotional event of some sort. Ear infection is very common in dogs – outer ear, middle ear and inner ear – and you must check to see if there is unusual redness, inflammation, smell or crusty, red-brown discharge. Unless treated, an outer ear infection can spread further and further, causing hearing issues or even hearing loss, so make sure to take your pet to the vet.
# 2: JELLY BELLY
• Over 50% of American dogs are overweight, says the Association For Pet Obesity Prevention. Other than health problems that can arise on account of excess fat deposit in the tummy, obesity can even reduce a dog’s life by 2.5 years. Since nobody wants to let their pet go in a hurry, it is necessary to give them a healthy diet and plenty of exercise to keep their bodies in good, toned condition.
# 3: GUM DISCOLORATION
• Dental diseases affect over 90% of dogs above the age of 3 to some degree. Many dog-owners find it difficult to brush their pet’s teeth (mainly because the pet is not cooperating) and ignore dental health after a while. But if normally pink gums are looking patchy or discolored, it can be caused by gingivitis. Left untreated, gum diseases like gingivitis can lead to tooth loss and affect the animal’s heart condition and overall health in very significant ways.
# 4: MILKY EYES
• If your dog’s eyes seem `cloudy’, consider the possibility of cataract. Besides problems of vision, cataracts can also be a symptom of diabetes. Notice if the animal is drinking more water or urinating more often, and schedule a visit to the vet to have the condition checked out.
# 5: RUNNING IN CIRCLES
• Dogs chase their tails for all sorts of reasons – annoyance, happiness, excitement etc. You know under what conditions your dog chases its tail. But if the animal is doing it in an unusual manner, or more often, you have to consider why that might be. Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection that can affect a dog’s coordination and balance. For mature dogs, there is the possibility of Idiopathic Perpheral Vestibular Syndrome. Be aware of these possibilities.
# 6: LABORED BREATHING
Dyspnea is caused by complications in the lung and chest area. When supply of oxygen is insufficient in the bloodstream, breathing can get labored. Dyspnea is a serious matter and needs medical intervention. Another possible cause of labored breathing is heartworm in the lungs. Caught in its early stages, heartworm is usually quite treatable.