When was the last time you really saw your dog?
Do you see your dog, I mean really see them? Sounds like a simple thing, but there’s a difference.
When you really look at them, you notice all the little things about them. You notice whether they’re happy or sad. If something isn’t quite right physically, you probably notice that too. When you really look at your dog, there is a whole bunch of information that you can gather if you’re paying attention.
Since dogs can’t speak human words, at least, for the most part, we have to gather clues from their nonverbal communication. The way they look and all the details you can see can give you some really valuable information. These are the details that can help you help your dog be happy and healthy.
Take the time to see your dog
Sure, you get busy. You’re aware that your dog is with you, but you’re focused on other things. I get it. But sometimes, do you really LOOK at them?
If you don’t remember doing it, it might be worth making a conscious habit of looking at them every day or at least every week. When you make it a point to see your dog and notice what you’re seeing, over time, you might notice things that otherwise would go unnoticed.
For example, when you look at your dog, hopefully you see
- Bright demeanor. Happy-go-lucky, enthusiastic, wanting to be involved in life.
- Shiny coat, if it’s supposed to be. At least your dog should look like a healthy member of whatever breed or combination of breeds they’re made up of.
- Good weight. No spine or ribs showing or extra rolls of skin unless that is the breed norm.
- Relaxed posture.
- Standing, sitting, or lying normally.
There is no such thing as normal since every dog is unique. However, dogs have their own normal. You want to be aware of what that is for your dog.
What if something isn’t normal?
When you make it a point to see your dog consistently, you can notice the things that have changed over time. Checking regularly can help you catch those tiny changes before they become big problems.
What if you don’t see a happy dog with a bright demeanor? Are you aware of something that might be bothering them? If they seem depressed, it could be because they know you’re about to leave the house, or it could be something else. See my post about dog mental health for more information.
Does your dog’s coat look dull or rough? Maybe their diet doesn’t have everything in it they need. It’s possible that they’re stressed or in pain. Possibly there is a disease process that’s interfering with their health. Pain can be a big reason that something is off. Read my post here, or this post from mydogsymptoms.com.
How is your dog’s weight? This is a detail that varies greatly from one dog to another, so if you’re not sure, your vet can help you determine the goal. When you know what signs indicate that your dog’s weight is good, you’ll be better able to notice when something isn’t quite right.
When you see your dog, what do you do with the clues you gather?
If you keep track of the clues you’ve gathered, you’ll be better able to put together a complete picture of your dog’s health. Each thing might be meaningless by itself, but together, they might give you or your vet guidance to improve your dog’s health.
What do you see when you see your dog? The more you notice, the better you’ll be able to help them. When you notice issues, read my post to help you find more resources for taking care of your dog. Tell me about your dog in the comments below.