A dog’s tail serves 2 chief purposes. One reason is to spread their scent and the other of course is to display emotion. We all know that the big back and forth tail wag with a little butt wiggle means “I am Happy”. However, another type of wag may mean something else entirely. Over the years I have had many dog owners tell me “look my dog is wagging his tail he will be fine”, to meet and play with my dog. What the owners fail to realize is depending on the style of wagging their dog may be agitated or worse. If you see a dog with its tail rigid and held high waging side to side in “short arcs” the dog may be about to attack. This type of wag is sometimes referred to as the “flag tail”. This wag may not be accompanied by growling or barking or any other outward appearance of aggression. Frequently when a dog displays this wag they will be standing rigid and motionless with their head held high gazing straight ahead. If you see this wag in conjunction with the after mentioned body language caution should be exercised.
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If your dog is acting strange, you should check it’s gums. We all know the basic symptoms to check for such as checking a dog’s nose to see if it is dry or looking to make sure their stool and urine are normal. Checking your dog’s gums can help you assess the situation. Look at the color of your dog’s gums to determine if your dog’s oxygen and blood flow is normal. To check, simply lift back your dogs lower or upper lip and observe the color of its gums or inner lip. If your dog’s gums are blue, pale yellow, cherry red, white, brick red or brown, this would point to an emergency and you should contact your Vet immediately.
While you are examining your dog’s gums, you can also check your dog’s capillary refill time. This quick little test can help you check to see if your dog’s blood circulation is normal. Lifting back your dogs gums again press lightly on their gums or inner lip. Watch the color as it turns white and then pink again. The pink color should come back after 1 to 2 seconds. If the color returns in less than 1 second or more than 3 second, call your Vet immediately because this could be an emergency!
If your dog happens to have black pigmented gums you may have to use the eyelid method. Simply place your thumb on the skin just under the lower eyelid and gently pull down to observe the inner eyelid membrane color. It should be pink, which means the tissues are receiving oxygen.
Please note that even if your dog has no visual symptoms, but is just not acting normal you should make an appointment with your Vet for a checkup. For more information about Domesticated Dog Walkers LLC, please contact:
Will Matthews @ 339-222-1451