Have you ever engaged all 5 of your senses with your dog?
Really got down on eye level and made a formal connection? Smell, taste (yes!), touch, sight, and sounds can not only strengthen your connection but also give you insight into your dog’s health. Dog sense makes sense.
Dogs love to sniff!
A dog’s sense of smell is far superior to a human’s. Pet owners marvel at their ability to smell, and a dog’s olfactory skill is a highly sought-after trait. Dogs’ noses are praised in law enforcement jobs as well as herding and searching.
However, there is one smell associated with dogs that humans don’t like to smell, as a matter of fact – if the scent lingers, you’ve got a problem and that scent is dog poop. Dog poop is an attack on your olfactory senses. I’ll speak more about dog pop below.
Dirty dogs can be concerning. One way to observe a dogs health is to smell them. Does your dog have a yeasty smell? A quick hygiene check of their ears is a good idea.
I don’t know how dogs taste and hopefully neither do you. Lets discuss your dogs sense of taste. There are ways to explore your dogs sense of taste. Hand feeding your dog is a great exercise to observe your dogs food preferences.
Household foods that can be fed to dogs include, but are not limited to: peanut butter, fish, chicken, plain popcorn, apples, bananas, and most berries. What flavors does your dog enjoy? What flavors does your dog shy away from? Does your dog enjoy a nutritious and well rounded diet?
Touch is my favorite sense to explore.
I have two objectives when I touch my dog.
First, I am looking for health concerns. Ticks, abnormal growths, and injuries are some of the things I look for. Secondly, I want my dog to be comfortable being touched – it can be a reward for good behavior.
Observing your dog through sight is important.
Look into your dog’s eyes. Are they clear? Do you see a discharge? Do you need to check your dogs eyesight? How is your dog walking? Is your dog’s walk normal? Do you see limping? How does your dogs activity change during the day.
This is also a good time to mention looking at your dog’s poop. A lot can be learned from observing their poop. Is it normal? Has it changed? These are two great things to discuss with your vet.
Does your dog talk to you?
Frenchies seem to speak with snorts, grunts, sighs and occasional barks. In addition, they make a bit of a noise when they sleep. Most flat faced, noise making dogs (Frenchies, pugs, terriers) are brachycephalic breeds. These dog owners need to know the difference between normal sounds and compromised breathing. To the unexperienced dog owner, normal breathing of a brachycephalic dog can be concerning. I also listen as their nails hit the ground as they walk – that is a sign for me to trim their nails.
Using your five sense is a great (and easy) way to keep an eye on your dog’s wellbeing.
When you pet your dog, both you and them release oxytocin. This chemical release is both what makes us feel good and is an important factor in bonding.
If you detect anything amiss as you spend time with your dog, I encourage you to contact your vet and have them look it over. Nobody wants an unhealthy dog!