Dear Dr. Forsythe: My dog is spending more time at the water bowl these days. In fact, yesterday, I filled Howie’s bowl up three times and it was dry this morning before I left for work. Other than drinking more, he seems fine. Could it just be the heat and he’s thirstier or should I be concerned? Howie just turned 11, so I know he is getting up there in age. Your advice would be much appreciated. – Gilbert, Petaluma
Dear Gilbert: Although factors such as heat and exercise can cause a pet to drink more, it is unusual for a dog to start drinking considerably more as a pattern. Since Howie is drinking much more, and you have noticed that you are filling the bowl up more frequently and it is empty in the morning, I would be concerned enough to have him checked out. Increased thirst could be a sign of something as simple as an infection in the body, or a more serious condition such as diabetes, kidney disease, Cushing’s disease or even cancer.
I would recommend that you take Howie in to your veterinarian for an exam as soon as possible. Blood and urine tests can usually provide important information and by going in as soon as you notice a problem with your pet, there is a better chance you will have the diagnosis for Howie earlier in it’s development and therefore be able to seek more effective treatment and hopefully a cure.
Kudos to you for noticing your pet’s drinking patterns: attentive and thoughtful companions who recognize problems through subtle changes like you did are “dog’s best friend.” It sounds like Howie is lucky to have you on his team, I hope he is back to normal and feeling better very soon. – Dr. F.
Dear Dr. Forsythe: I recently adopted a Bulldog from a family who could no longer take care of her. “Svetlana” is the perfect dog, she is sweet, cute as a button, and I love her very much. The problem is, my son is not taking to her very well. I know he has always liked bulldogs, and we even had one a few years back. But he seems to have his heart shut when it comes to Svetlana. Why would this happen? What can I do to make him like her, and for them to bond?
- Sad Mom of Flat Face
Dear Sad Mom: Congratulations on Svetlana! It sounds like you adopted a wonderful little companion. I’ll bet she is a beautiful little wrinkled bit of love. I can’t understand why your son is not taking to her — that is probably best explained by a psychologist. However, a frank conversation with him about his feelings for or against Svetlana may yield some surprising and candid responses. Not all pets click with all people, even when the pet is a beautiful flat-faced bulldog and the person is one of the family.
Usually, kids need plenty of time to develop personal relationships with a pet. Don’t force anything; let things happen, if they are going to, organically. Most of all, don’t show disappointment or disapproval with your son if he doesn’t respond to Svetlana in the way you wish he would. Kids are not androids, and they are not predictable. Make sure the pet doesn’t impinge upon him too much, but is available to him if he should want to pet or cuddle her. And most importantly, don’t allow his lack of connection with her to spoil your love for her. Go ahead and enjoy her fully and guilt free. I’m sure over time, your son will have to cave in and see her beauty and effervescence. Just give it plenty of time, and please keep me filled in on how things develop.
All my best, Dr. F.