Something that we don’t always realize about our dog is that they are so reliable. Like the sun is to rise, or a quality watch made by a craftsman would tick forever, dogs are beasts of reliability. Not just for the fact that they are always there for us when we need their love and affection, like a comforting lick to awaken us or a cheerful yap as when it’s time for a walk, but all the things in a dog’s life are subject to habit. Feeding time, bedtime, potty time, and even playtime are all a part of a dog’s schedule. So when things change, not because you move or change diet, but often just plain out of the blue, it’s time to pay close attention, because your dog might not be quite themselves.
Food for me, not so hungry
Animals, dogs included, have the ultimate will to survive, hence the reason they are often so eager to gobble up those messy crumbs and scraps that fall to the kitchen floor. They may even be clever enough to sneak a roll from the dinner plate when you aren’t looking (mine always does). But the most obvious sign that something is wrong is when your dog begins to miss their meal.
For any dog, meal time is important, so the lack of hunger can be a dead giveaway that a problem needs to be addressed. Of course, the lack of hunger could mean one of many things. Perhaps they managed to get into the garbage and snacked on something that upset their stomach or they may have come down with an ailment from worm problems that are weakening or sickening their body. Regardless, lethargic problems are nothing for a pet owner to overlook.
Lethargy becomes apparent
Compounding problems that may also surface, especially when eating is already posing a problem, is the lack of activity, longer periods of sleep, and even more acute signs such as vomiting or bleeding. These signs are often the warning of an onset of far more serious problems. Although they are far easier to spot as signs become extreme, it is vital to a dog’s health that you catch them as early as possible.
That is why your attention to your dog’s behavior is elemental in providing a healthy life for them. Many dogs will push themselves to please their owners until they can no longer physically continue. Dogs are amazing creatures, living only to love, but this can often make it difficult to spot problems early on.
Limping or lack of eating are often the first signs of trouble in any case. A minor injury could cause a limp, but it should never be overlooked. Physical inspection could provide a simple problem, like a sticker in their paw or even the onset of arthritis. But, every owner should be prepared to take the utmost care of their companion. Eating problems can surface from many issues and may only be temporary. People get stomach aches on occasion, even if it’s from eating too much. Missing a meal is a warning, but when they miss several, something may be very wrong.
Sleeping too much
One of the things that many owners often don’t take notice of is oversleeping. We spend time at work, time with friends, and even time with our computers, so it can be difficult spending time with our dogs. This of course presents our dog with plenty of opportunity to sleep and possibly be bored, regardless of their fairly active nature. Sad as it may sound, dogs do still find ways to entertain themselves when we aren’t looking (chewing on the baseboards, chasing the cat around the house, or hiding the remote). But, when a dog begins to sleep excessively, such as during an opportunity to go for a walk or chase the ball, this can often be a definite sign that serious problems are present. Many worms, intestinal and cardiovascular, can cause dogs to become lethargic and lack energy and stamina. Serious onsets of arthritis can also cause dogs to refrain from moving as much. Excessive sleep and the avoidance of activity with you are possible signs that your dog is ill.
Don’t overlook changes in your dog’s habits. Every day, they get up, eat, play, love, and sleep. Every owner should be able to know their companion well enough to see that something has changed, whether it’s an extreme change such as a change in choice of diet or something as trivial as their choice of sleeping location. It’s important to pay attention to what your dog does, so that when something changes, you’ll know the difference.