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  • Writer's pictureLily Wear

P.A.W.S.: A Simple Way to Spot Illness in Your Dog

As dog moms, we know our fur babies better than anyone, but sometimes it can be hard to know for sure if our dog is sick or just having an off day. If you’re on the fence about it, here is an easy acronym to help you figure it out: P.A.W.S.

P = Playfulness

Is your dog as playful and alert as usual? If you throw the ball will your pup chase it? If your dog does try to play, are there signs of any discomfort or pain?

A = Appetite

Is your dog eating like normal? Keeping food down? Does your baby’s belly look bloated or is it gurgling unusually? When food completes its digestion cycle, does output look normal?

W = Water Intake

Is your dog drinking more or less water than normal? After drinking, is your pup peeing like usual?

S = Sleep

Is your pup sleeping more or less than usual? Sleeping in the usual nap spots?

If you notice changes in your dog’s routine and behaviors, it never hurts to call the vet and check if they’d like to see your fur-baby. Let them know what symptoms you’ve noticed and when. If they’d like you to bring your dog in, it’s always a good idea to write down the symptoms and behaviors along with a timeline.

If appropriate, here are some things that you can do at home to help your pup feel better when ill:

  • Give them plenty of fresh water.

Dehydration is serious. If your pup is not wanting to move around, bring the water bowl to them. Maybe even add some water to their regular food to help make it easier (I routinely do this for my senior fur-kids to help their kidneys and prevent age related diseases)

  • Offer small frequent meals.

It’s hard to tuck in a good meal when your tummy is upset. Give your kiddo small, frequent meal opportunities featuring bland, easy to digest foods. Many vets recommend boiled chicken and rice.

  • Plenty of rest

Just like us, dogs need to NOT overdo it when they are ill. Yes, this can be hard. Dogs live life at 110% and will not want to slow down unless they have to. Create a quiet and comfortable environment to help your dog snooze the day away.

So next time you’re wondering if your dog is sick, just PAWS and pay attention to their health. The quicker you catch a problem, the easier (and usually less expensive) it will be to treat.

How do you know when your fur-baby isn’t feeling well? Share with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by tagging #MamaWalksDogs. Got ideas, suggestions, or wanna share your experience? Comment below!

With puppy and kitty love,

Lily the Dog Mama

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