Ask a vet: doggie prams, how to tell if your dog is sick and more

Have a question or two about your furry pals? Pets Central’s veterinarian Dr. Pauline Taylor answers your questions.

Q. “Will my dogs become lazy if I start using a doggie pram?” 

Are you serious? There is no place for a doggy pram unless you have a disabled or elderly dog that cannot or will not walk on its own feet. Dogs love to walk and get immense stimulation from their surroundings. By subjecting your dog to a doggy pram you are depriving your dog of so much including exercise, smells, social interaction with other animals, and leaving their own messages along the way for other dogs to pick up. I cannot recommend a pram for a dog unless it is unable to walk by itself.

Doggie prams are gimmicks and unnecessary as far as I am concerned in day to day normal doggie life. In addition they promote obesity, isolation from other dogs and may even cause fear in some dogs who develop behaviour problems as a result.

Q. “My dog is very lethargic today, is he sick?” 

If you can, what I suggest you do is take your dog’s temperature and monitor him carefully for a few days.

Your dog’s behaviour is a very important indicator of whether your companion is feeling normal. Dogs generally live for a few really important things namely food, water, shelter, exercise and walks, play, mental stimulation and their owner’s attention and approval of what they do. Dogs naturally sleep a lot and depending on their age it can be up to 14 hours per day. So if you feel your dog isn’t as active as normal I’d certainly be concerned something has upset your dog. That doesn’t mean your dog is sick as defined by a medical condition needing treatment. It could be that your dog is disturbed or distressed, or scared and anxious as many dogs in these situations go quiet, prefer to hide and are unwilling to do normal activities.

Q. “How can you tell your dog is constipated?” 

Constipation is the infrequent or difficult passing of faeces which tend to be dry and hard when eventually passed.

The most common sign of constipation is straining to pass faeces, but vomiting, depression, not eating and discomfort can occur to varying degrees. Dogs may be misdiagnosed with diarrhoea as liquid faeces can slip by solid faecal clumps in the rectum and be passed out. There are many causes of constipation both in and out of the intestine. These include problems with the nervous system, pain and dehydration leading to blockages and a multitude of medical conditions. If your dog is constipated my advice is to seek veterinary assistance without delay.

Got a question for Dr. Pauline? Email