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By now, your new dog is probably grateful to be in a forever home, and having a blast cuddling and playing.
If your pup ever acts differently than usual—if they lose their appetite or seem less energetic—you may be wondering what it means.
Though we’re sure your dog is doing just great, it never hurts to review which behaviors are normal, and which behaviors are a reason to call your veterinarian.
How to Tell if Your New Dog Isn’t Feeling Well: 7 Signs to Look For
Dogs can’t talk, so sometimes it can be surprisingly challenging to know if they aren’t feeling their best. Also, pets don’t complain the way we humans do—instead, they have an instinct to hide any discomfort.
For that reason, sometimes being a pet owner means acting like a detective and watching for any “clues” that your dog might be ill or unwell.
Here are seven of the most common symptoms to watch for:
Vomiting or Diarrhea
There are many possible reasons for dogs to have an upset stomach, ranging from parasites, to eating something that didn’t agree with them, or even just the stress of moving to a new home (a home they’ll quickly grow to love, but at first it’s a big change for them).
As you get to know your new dog, it’s usually better to err on the side of caution and call your veterinarian, who may either recommend an office visit or suggest you start with something you can do at home.
Either way, your pup will get what they need to feel better.
Some upset stomach symptoms could indicate a more serious problem, so call your veterinarian right away if your dog is experiencing any of the following:
- Severe, watery, or bloody diarrhea or vomit
- Lethargy or listlessness
- A loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- A swollen, bloated, or painful belly
Limping usually indicates pain—a fact that might not be as obvious as it sounds, considering many dogs will limp and also go about their daily activities such as playing or eating and, many dogs will never cry or whimper, even if their leg is very painful.
Limping is a reason to call the veterinarian, especially if it continues for more than 24 hours. If they recommend a visit, your veterinarian will palpate the leg and extend each joint, to find exactly where the pain is and determine what treatment is needed.
Crying or Yelping
Some dogs may whine when they want something—such as a treat or attention. They may yelp for minor pain, such as somebody accidentally stepping on their tail.
However, extended whimpering—such as while resting—or yelping is not normal, and may be a reason to call your veterinarian.
Coughing or Sneezing
An occasional sneeze is nothing to worry about, but frequent sneezing or coughing—especially if accompanied by a runny nose, red or goopy eyes, lethargy, or any other symptoms—could mean an infection or other condition that needs treatment from a veterinarian.
Excessive Scratching or Licking
This is a common symptom of allergies or some other cause of skin irritation.
While mild licking and scratching is normal, your dog doing these things compulsively can result in skin wounds and infections—regardless of the original cause of the itching.
Note that scratching or licking near certain parts of the body could be indicative of another issue. For example, ear infections if near the ears, or a UTI or full anal glands if near the genitals or hind end.
If your dog normally likes to be the center of attention but now they’re spending the whole day hiding under the kitchen table or avoiding social interactions, it could be a sign that they’re uncomfortable or ill.
If your dog is normally friendly and sweet, but now they’re grumpy and don’t want to be petted on certain parts of their body, that could be a symptom of pain.
In that case, they may be acting defensively because too much movement or interaction makes the pain worse.
This is a common scenario in breeds predisposed to back or neck problems but, a personality change could indicate a variety of different health conditions or injuries.
When to Visit the Veterinarian?
If there’s ever a true emergency, you’ll want to bring your dog to an emergency animal hospital right away.
Outside of emergencies, it can be difficult to know whether you should bring your dog to a veterinarian now, or wait. When in doubt, it’s better to call your veterinarian to be sure—better safe than sorry.
If it turns out your dog’s symptoms are a cause for concern, earlier treatment is much better than waiting. Or, if all is well, you’ll get peace of mind sooner rather than later!
Don’t worry—most newly adopted dogs do just fine in their new homes and enjoy every minute of bonding with their new human family!
Prevention Can Go a Long Way
To prevent health concerns, try these tips for keeping your pup happy and healthy…
- Stay up to date on all recommended veterinary care and checkups
- Dog proof your home to prevent accidents and keep your pup from eating anything they shouldn’t
- Keep your dog on a leash when walking outside the home
- Focus on good nutrition and a balanced diet for optimal health and weight
By safeguarding your dog’s health, you’ll enjoy the time with your new friend to the fullest, for less worries, and more time to focus on important things—like playtime and belly rubs!
From our family to yours,
Fromm Family Pet Food