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November 10, 2010

Sunday night while snuggling with Lilly, I found a big scab on her forehead, near the temple. Monday after our walk and again later in the day, Lilly reached up to kiss me, and when I hugged her back, she squealed in pain. Lilly never cries unless it really hurts. So, I worried.

BUT, for the life of me, I cannot figure out where it hurts.

Trust me, I re-checked the boo-boo on her head to make sure it wasn’t another rattlesnake bite. There is only one puncture hole, no swelling, so I think we’re OK.

Either Ginko nipped her in an attempt to curb her bossiness, or she got poked by a stick while bush-whacking in the fields.

On Sunday, Lilly also bled all over the house, including soaking my jeans in blood. I trimmed her toenails before our walk (bad idea!), and one of them must have been too short. After a brief dip in the pond, she must have broken it open again and drip, drip, dripped her way around the house and on my lap. (Thank goodness for tile floors.)

So, of course, I checked her toes to see if there was any redness. Nothing.

It’s really hard to figure out where Lilly might hurt because she gets VERY sheepish if you show her any intense interest:

  • Her tail tucks.
  • Her head gets really round.
  • She worms around on the floor.

I hardly think that 6 is old for a dog like Lilly. But, I do sometimes worry that she might be getting sore from her long walking days, her wild-fetching days, her agility jumping days.

So, I’ve started giving her some of that GLC1000 we’re trying for Ginko’s knees. I figure better to head off any joint pain early. Of course, Lilly also gets extra fish oil with every meal.

I’m going to give her a break from fetch for a while. We have snow this week, anyway. And, I’m going to try and massage her a bit each night before bed.

I got a little offended when someone recently said Lilly seemed “spry,” as if she was getting older but was still active.

Even at 10 1/2, Ginko still seems very puppy like to me, so maybe I just have a warped sense of their aging. (or I’m in denial)

How do you know your dog hurts or isn’t feeling well?

About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

  1. I tend to know when my dogs are hurting but want to believe that it’s nothing serious so I blame it on something silly. After our latest episode with K, I’m going to try hard to not make that mistake again. I saw small signs of her bone infection quite a while ago… but they’d always pass on their own. So, I blamed random small things for her ouchiness.

    I guess that my lesson has been to take her to the pros when I have any question at all. But, that approach won’t appeal to everyone…especially given the cost. In my case, insurance covers a lot of it, which helps a great deal in overcoming my reticence to go the vet.

    I sure hope that Lilly’s wounds and pain have passed since you posted this.

  2. I hear you. Last two years I am making money solely for vet bills. We are broke and in debt. My pants are falling apart and I’m postponing getting new ones.

    If an isolated event and no other signs, maybe it was some kind of a kink.

  3. Oh, sadly, I have x-ray eyes and telepathic mind for Jasmine not feeling well or hurting by now. And the most annoying part is the every time I feel something isn’t right, it isn’t. I would so love to be wrong for once.

    I think once you know your dog long enough you develop a keen eye for things out of the ordinary. And when things seem out of the ordinary, that is a red flag.

    Sorry about Lilly. I would be worried about her having squealed in pain when hugged. Anything else you might have noticed? Limp? Stiff walking? Back arching? Carrying head low? Tail tucked?

    I would keep a weather eye on that. Ok, that’s not true, I would be going to the vet.

    1. I’m trying not to worry too much. Lilly has not cried since then, and she seems mostly OK. I have thought for a while now that she seems to be slowing down a bit (just in general), but then other times, she is her wild, monkey self.

      Since our budget is a major issue right now, I try NOT to run them to the doctor willy-nilly (unless I’m really scared) because it’s always at least $200 every time we go.

  4. Viva is having acupuncture as pain management for her spondylosis (a form of osteoarthritis) which works very well. One day I couldn’t get an appointment for her acupunctue, thought she was in pain, I panicked and gave her Metacam. But there was no noticeable difference, so it was unnecessary I gave her the meds.

    I always look for signs she must be in pain, but it is so difficult to see. I guess especially dogs that are/have experienced pain are masters in hiding it 🙁

    You did a great job taking the signs seriously, a difference in behavior is the best indication you can get.

  5. Perhaps your sweet girl pulled a muscle in one of her fectching or bush-whacking sessions? I feel your helplessness – I sure wish the dogs could just tell us what hurts so we could help them!

    We started Ty on a formula for his joints several weeks ago and I’ve noticed more spring in his step. He’s six too, and I thought it was a good idea to ward off the arthritis if possible.

  6. Kelly is 10 and still jumps up onto the couch and runs around the house. Before this, we had a yellow lab who could barley hobble around at 10 years old.
    I hope you find the source of the pain. Maybe she had a belly ache from something she ate, and is feeling better now?

  7. Allie was 6.75 years old when we noticed she was having a little trouble on the stairs. We consulted our vet, and started her on Glycoflex II. She improved significantly within a few weeks, and is now bounding up and down the stairs in an almost puppy-like fashion. Technically, Lilly is middle-aged, and that’s not too early for arthritis to start — for dogs or for people (and I’ve got the sore knees and big jar of Osteo-Biflex to prove it).

    1. I know you are right, Susan. I just still think of Lilly as the baby in the house. We’ve started her on the glucosamine that Ginko takes, and I hope to see some improvement in a couple weeks.

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