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Keep good observations of your dog
No matter how much howling, barking, singing or whining your dog may do, the chances of him actually uttering any words in Webster’s Dictionary are pretty slim. When he’s sick or has hurt himself, he can’t explain to you or the veterinarian what’s wrong.
This is why it’s very important to keep good observations of your dog so when something is wrong, you can answer the vet’s questions as best as possible, in turn helping the vet to diagnose your dog’s problem.Think of all the questions your doctor may ask when you’re sick:
- When did you start feeling ill?
- Where is the pain located?
- What kind of pain is it – a dull ache? A sharp pain? Throbbing?
- Does your chest hurt when you cough?
Now think about how you would answer these questions on behalf of your dog. It can be pretty hard to know the answer sometimes, right? You can only get an idea of the correct answer if you pay good attention to your dog and his behavior, eating habits, toilet habits, mood, energy levels, etc.
These are some of the questions your vet will be likely to ask:
- What is the nature of the problem?
- When did you first notice the signs?
- Have the signs gotten worse, stayed the same or improved since you first noticed them?
- Have you started any home treatment? If so, what was done?
- Has this problem occurred before?
- If so, how was it treated and how effective was the treatment?
- Any further information you’d like to share? (Even if you think it’s not related, it could turn out to be very helpful information!)
Observing your dog’s behavior and habits is very important because obviously your dog cannot speak for itself. The history you give your vet about your dog plays a vital role in the diagnosis. This is why good vets may spend time asking you many questions, as it helps them to piece the puzzle together and work out what is going on with your dog.
You should observe the following on a daily basis for your dog, so you become familiar with what’s “normal” for him:
- Amount of water drunk
- Amount and frequency of urination
- Bowel habits and quality of feces
- Unusual smells
- Energy level
- Unusual behaviors
- Signs of distress or pain
By making these daily observations, you will be more apt to notice when things are not operating as usual. The earlier you pick up on signs of illness, the better for your dog.