When is it Time to Bring my Boxer to the Vet?

leaningonfenceIt’s a question that no boxer owner wants to ask, but that all boxer owners should be able to answer. Dogs do strange, and sometimes worrying things on a daily basis. It’s up to the human half of the relationship to decide when vomiting is the result of the boxer tendency to hoover up garbage, and when something is seriously wrong. Read on, and we’ll run through some scenarios that should have you reaching for the phone. It’s important to remember one thing while you go through this list: when in doubt, call for help. A trip to the vet can be inconvenient, and expensive, but it definitely beats the possibility of letting a serious problem go unchecked.

Changes in Demeanor:

It’s one of the most intangible signs of trouble, but one of the most important. Dogs can’t talk, try as they might, so you’ll have to look to subtler cues. Boxers are gregarious, high-energy critters (to put it mildly) – so keep an eye out for fatigue or anti-social behavior. You know your dog best, and if she’s just not acting like she normally does, it may be time for a checkup. Boxers are notoriously prone to cancer, Cushing’s Disease, and several cardiovascular diseases. They’re serious problems, but often won’t present any obvious physical signs until it’s too late. Watching for behavioral or personality changes can help catch them in their earlier, more manageable stages.

Bloat deserves a quick mention in this section. While it may sound a little goofy, the condition is anything but. This gastric problem can be life-threatening if not addressed promptly, and signs are often murky at best. Bloat generally occurs in large dogs (boxers are unfortunately prone to it), and happens after a dog is allowed to exercise too close to mealtime. If you notice major signs of distress after a meal (check the link for specific symptoms), get on the line immediately.

Changes in Appetite

Boxers in good health go after food with all the restraint of a locust horde. Most owners are probably used to watching their pet dive jowl-first into a bowl of kibble, and just as used to sweeping up the aftermath. With this in mind, pay extra attention to a boxer that’s gone off his feed. Disinterest in food should be addressed immediately. Less intuitively, too much interest in food might also be a red flag. Extreme hunger or thirst isn’t as easy to pick up on, but if noticed, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Changes in Stool

Well, we had to go here eventually. No one enjoys checking through their dog’s leavings – that said, don’t close your eyes while cleaning up, though we won’t fault you for holding your nose. Any difficulty defecating should have you on your guard. It’s not unusual for dogs (especially garbage-happy boxers) to experience an occasional bout of diarrhea, but if the problem persists, it may be a symptom of a larger issue. Constipation should also be watched out for. Finally, if you notice blood in your dog’s stools, it’s time to get help quickly.

Other Signs

Those top three categories cover some of the general areas to keep an eye on when caring for a boxer, but what about more definite symptoms? For that, the AVMA has a helpful shortlist of thirteen symptoms that should spark a call immediately. Check here for the full article.

  • Appetite/weight gain or loss: a major signal of problems
  • lumps or swelling
  • changes in elimination
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • abnormal discharge
  • persistent coughing
  • sneezing
  • chewing at one spot on the body