Tips to choosing the right canine companion for adoption

Published 6:23 am Tuesday, August 28, 2018


K-9 Corner

I read in the Advocate Messenger that the Danville-Boyle County Humane Society will be honoring National Dog Day soon with a special adoption session. Because of this event, I thought it might be helpful to list some criteria for evaluating the various pups and mature dogs at the adoption event.

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Since the medical records are not always available for each dog that is looking for a new home, here are some signs of a healthy dog.

Signs of a healthy dog

• Eyes: bright, alert. Some dogs have a small daily discharge which needs to be wiped each day which is normal.

• Head: up, not hanging down (which may indicate depression).

• Gums: pink or pale red. Some dogs have black spots on the gums which is normal for several breeds.

• Ears: Alert to sounds. Take a clicker toy with you if you are seriously looking for a new companion. Ears should be relatively odor-free.

• Coat: Shiny, clean, free of mats and parasites. (The Boyle County shelter grooms its animals before offering them for adoption; some shelters do not.)

• Attitude: Alert, ready to work or play.

• Elimination: Daily. Depending on food given, a dog may have more than one stool. Stools are generally brown and firm. White stools occur after eating bones, whereas bright yellow stools may indicate a liver problem. Black stools occur from digested blood.

• Normal rectal temperature: 101-102 degrees F.

• Normal pulse: 70-120 beats per minute depending on the size and age of the animal. Dogs have an uneven pulse rhythm.

• Normal respiration: 10-30 breaths per minute. This depends on the size of the dog.

Preventative shots

• Rabies: Vaccination is required by law.

• Distemper: The strain of distemper in this area is usually fatal

• Hepatitis: a disease of the liver, usually fatal in dogs.

• Parvovirus: causes bloody diarrhea and the animal becomes dehydrated and dies, sometimes as fast as within 24 hours of first symptoms.

Signs of a sick dog

• Eyes: dull, heavy discharge, rubbing eyes with paws. Almost all abnormal eyes should be checked by a veterinarian.

• Ears: Shaking head, rubbing sides of head on ground or carpet, scratching ear daintily with hind foot while grunting or moaning. Ear may smell foul and have a dark brown discharge. Consult with veterinarian.

• Attitude: lethargic; change in personality, e.g. may growl when approached or act unusually submissive; may crawl under the porch or under furniture and refuse to come out (Most shelters will not take such a dog to an adoption event).

• Appetite: poor; water consumption often increases unless dog is critically ill; then water intake is poor.

• Coat: Some illnesses cause a good coat to become dull and lifeless.

• Gums: pale or white — usually means internal bleeding.