My in-laws have a labradoodle who thinks he’s human – a member of the family, not a mere pet. Case in point:
- He has his own seat on the couch and sits with his hind legs up and his front legs on the ground.
- I’ve seen him sled down a hill, on his water bowl.
- He likes to participate in conversations by filling lulls with his own barky thoughts.
- He picks up on social cues that even some humans miss, like when people are sick or someone is upset.
As a person who didn’t grow up around dogs, I find it amazing just how human he can seem at times.
But he is, in fact, a dog. So when he was diagnosed with epilepsy, I was surprised.
As a new-ish puppy owner, I wanted to know what other illnesses my dog was at risk for, especially ones that I thought were reserved for humans. A quick google search later, and I was surprised to learn that there are more than you might think.
Here’s My Top 4:
Colds, Flus & Viruses
Canine flu has become commonplace in the news. We all know that dogs can catch the sniffles or a tummy bug. But the flu? More and more research is pointing to the reality that pets and owners can swap viruses – the flu in particular. So, as hard as it is to give up the snuggles when you’re sick, resist the urge to curl up with your best furry pal.
Anxiety & Depression
Our puppy friends can suffer from emotional distress, just like us. In fact, drug companies have developed canine versions of popular psychotic meds. There’s a beef-flavored, chewable version of Prozac called Reconcile (aptly named) that is used to treat depression, and an anxiety medication called Clomicalm. As a non-drug solution, tight-body wraps are used to help anxious puppies feel secure, similar to how human infants are swaddled. And if none of these work, you can try puppy therapy, because that’s a thing.
Sunburns & Skin Cancer
It would seem that when the hot season hits, all of that fur on your furry friend would make them feel hotter. But doggie fur is layered for a reason. The shorter fur under their coat provides natural sunscreen and is crucial for preventing sunburns that can lead to skin cancer. And since man’s best friend can’t slather on the SPF, it’s important to keep their fur length short but not shaved.
There’s a significant danger of heat stroke for dogs. We’re smart people, and we all agree that animals shouldn’t be left in hot cars or chained outside in the heat of the day. But there are less obvious concerns to consider as well. Because man’s best friends typically sit low to the ground, their body heat up quickly and their pads can burn easily. Keeping walks to a minimum during high temperatures is recommended. And testing the temp of the concrete yourself before you let them walk on it is a must. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also recommends that pets have a shady place and access to plenty of fresh clean water.
That’s where we come in. A door or patio awning can provide a much-needed oasis for when fido needs a place to cool down. On average, the area under your awning will run 10-15 degrees cooler and provide the perfect spot for your pup, out of direct sunlight.
As we move into flu season, we thought it was a great time to start a conversation. What’s your best advice for keeping your furry friend in tip-top-health? We’d love to hear in the comments.
If you’d like to read more on these topics:
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends that pets have a shady place to get out of the sun and access to plenty of fresh clean water.
Sunburn that leads to skin cancer