The dog days of summer are here. Do you know the signs of a tired Tripawd dog? For the safety of your three-legged hero, it’s important that you do. Here are some easy ways to tell if your hero needs a rest.
As Tripawds’ founders, our goal is to make sure you never have to learn things the hard way, like we did. For example, in the video below, you’ll see Tripawds Founder Spirit Jerry panting with his crazy long tongue.
Our Tired Tripawd Dog Was Trying to Tell Us Something
It was a hot July afternoon, and we had been playing catch in the sun. Of course Jerry got lots of cool water to drink, and we made him take breaks too. But back then, we had no idea that his crazy long tongue we caught on video meant that he was an over-exercised dog!
Many years later, we had a lightbulb moment. In a recent Facebook Live conversation with canine fitness expert and integrative medicine veterinarian, Dr. Athena Kepler, DVM, CCAS (Certified Canine Athletic Specialist) we learned that Jerry was showing all the signs of a tired Tripawd dog.
Sign #1: A long, flat extended tongue.
“Dogs pant, it’s a natural thing for them to do,” said Dr. Kepler. But a canine tongue that looks like Jerry’s during playtime may be a sign that a dog is over-exercised.
Sign #2: A great big “smile” while panting.
As much as we want to think our dog is smiling because they’re happy, this is another sign of a tired Tripawd dog. When a dog pulls their lips all the way back to expose their gums, Dr. Kepler says they are trying to more air into their lungs.
Sign #3: Losing form when moving.
A tired amputee dog will start to get off-balance and shift their weight from one side to another. Even if you help your Tripawd build core strength, your pup will eventually get tired during playtime. They lose the strength to hold themselves symmetrical. Exhaustion shows up differently in front and rear leg amputees.
Front leg amputee dogs will shift their weight back and have a more arched appearance, says Dr. Kepler. Their shoulder blade may protrude up from the back. They’ll also shift weight to their hind legs. This means the remaining front leg is getting too much weight and impact.
Rear leg amputee dogs will lean forward, and place their front paws behind their front elbows. Dr. Kepler says they do it to give their remaining limb a break. Their pelvis will also tilt to the side of their missing limb.
Sign #4: Mouth Breathing While Swimming
Dogs who love to swim have a hard time showing us they’re tired, and give very subtle clues. Dr. Kepler says this is because when a dog is swimming, their heart and lungs will tire out before their body. A Ruffwear Float Coat helps them swim longer, but they still get tired.
Mouth breathing is one of the most obvious signs of a tired Tripawd dog swimming in water.
When dogs swim, they keep their mouth closed. But, “If they’re starting to open up their mouth and catch water in their mouth while they’re trying to swim,” says Dr. Kepler, this is a sure sign that their heart and lungs are getting tired and it’s time to stop.
Sign #5: Sitting down during playtime.
Dr. Kepler went on to explain that sitting down during playtime is another sign of an exhausted dog. For example, if your dog retrieves a ball but suddenly stops bringing it back to you, this is a sign to stop. Or if your dog sits down on a walk, that’s another signal to end the play session.
Rest is the Answer for a Tired Amputee Dog
“Resting the body will get you further than working the body,” says Dr. Kepler. So when your Tripawd appears tired, take the next day off. Let your dog couch surf and rest, skip the daily walks and just play interactive brain games. Don’t ask your dog to do too much and if your pup still looks tired the next day, take that day off too.
Watch the Conversation with Dr. Kepler