How does your dog react to have a bad paw examined?

(16 Posts)
MellyPuppa Sat 20-Oct-18 16:01:46

Just back from vets today as DDog has been limping on his front paw. He lets me feel it if he's waiting for his tea (so it's part of his "trick" to get his food). That's how I found the small lump and decided to take him to the vet.

What a performance. He's usually fairly happy at the vet, likes the attention etc but has never really had any in depth examinations for injuries etc - he's 4. First he grumbled and snapped at her hand so they muzzled him, then I couldn't hold him well enough for her to get a proper look as he was growling and then flinched and pulled his paw back. They had to take him through the back and have a nurse hold him while the vet looked. Seems to be an abcess so have antibiotics etc.

I feel like a bad owner, he lets me examine him a bit and I have tried to get him used to different sorts of checks etc (he let her check his teeth with no problems smile) but should I try harder? They said he was a scaredy and gets worried easily so I'm not sure there's much I can do. If he needs a further examination he'll need sedation :/.

How are your dogs in these situations?

OP’s posts: |
MsMightyTitanAndHerTroubadours Sat 20-Oct-18 16:21:03

One of mine would have grumbled under his breath the whole time, he would tolerate examinations but make it clear he felt he was being interfered with and was Not Happy.....and depending on the vet he would ramp it up if he thought he was scaring them, or just give over if he knew they knew he was bluffing. He definitely had his favourites ....we always checked who was on, and avoided the one who thought he should be muzzled and asked dh to "pop him up on the table" yeah cos a 50kg GSD is going to be safe on that tea tray sized table

The other would probably do the whole dying swan act and drama it up to the limit by trying to hide behind me or under the table, or desk or stand by the door to escape asap but was much better behaved if I wasn't there. I would often take chicken or cheese as a super nice treat though for him to distract him during the vet appointment....the other one would only get vet treats after! grin

All you can do is work on him showing you his teeth, eyes, feet, run your hands under and over like a vet would, and reward when there's no shennanighans

But sometimes they just don't like being examined, don't feel too bad.

FantasticBadger Sat 20-Oct-18 16:31:19

I asked the vet to muzzle our dog when he was being examined for a broken cruciate ligament, I couldn't stand the tension of worrying he would snap, as he was in quite a bit of pain being examined and it wouldn't have been fair on him to be blamed, iyswim.

BiteyShark Sat 20-Oct-18 16:33:44

Mine is the other way, complete battle at home to 'examine him' but at the vets I hold him and he 'lets' the vets get on with it despite trembling and being very scared (he's had many examinations, scans and operations so is a mix of being friendly spaniel and terrified that he's going to be left again at the vets).

Slitheringcorpsefeed Sat 20-Oct-18 16:34:42

This happened to us during the summer. Daschund (who loves and adores dh) suddenly started limping and wouldn't let us near him. Dh made strategic error and tried to lift him in to the car to go to vet and got badly bitten in the process; his whole hand swelled up and he had to have a course of whopping antibiotics. (We got him in the car finally by all of us getting in, and the dog following us.) Dog is an adoptee who was badly treated in the past though and as a result is reactive/fearful but (after his first 12 mths with us in which we learnt to read his signals) is generally gentle, kind and tolerant. He was just in a lot of pain that morning and had a huge thorn/cut in his paw.

Try not to feel bad op. You are not a bad owner. We've found that however hard you train a fearful/reactive dog in calm circumstances, all the good habits they've learned tend to go out of the window in situations involving pain and stress.

Floralnomad Sat 20-Oct-18 16:57:28

Mines a bit funny with his paws probably because he has SLO , has had a toe removed and lost 3/4 nails / bits of nail but he just tries to pull it away he has never growled or grumbled at anybody he’s a real people pleaser .

Saucery Sat 20-Oct-18 17:02:15

Don’t feel bad, you can do all the pretend grooming and checking recommended from the puppy stage and they may still react badly if in pain.


DownAndUnder Sat 20-Oct-18 19:01:26

Mine would bite, we have a muzzle for things like that. It’s not your fault and I think it’s a pretty common.

almondsareforevermore Sat 20-Oct-18 20:24:56

I took our puppy to the vet to have his teeth checked (retained baby teeth) and it took three people to hold him. He just hates being held or restrained. I slunk out in shame and warned him I wouldn’t share my next ice cream.

LittleBLUEsmurfHouse Sat 20-Oct-18 20:44:40

Like people, dogs can react in ways you would not expect of them when in pain.

In pain my cocker goes through all the "I'm not threat, please don't hurt me" type behaviours (from lip licking and turning away, right up to flipping over to expose his belly). When not in pain he'll let you do anything to him and doesn't even seem to notice.

My cavalier is the type to try to escape and squeal and scream in a way that sounds like he's being savagely attacked. Again when he's not in pain you can do anything to him and he barely seems to notice.

Hoppinggreen Sun 21-Oct-18 10:39:00

My GR lets me and Dd do what we want to him
He used to be ok at the vet but after a nasty post neutering infection he won’t let the vet near his back end ( including legs ) at all. Even a muzzle doesn’t help as he’s so big and strong. As soon as she stops touching his back end he’s happy and friendly again - it’s like a switch being flicked. I’m thinking a change in vet may help and we need to change really anyway due to getting a new animal that our existing vet can’t treat due to lack of expert knowledge.
His back legs are fine, I can touch them as much as I want and it doesn’t bother him so it’s not pain.

pigsDOfly Sun 21-Oct-18 11:50:25

I've made a point of touching my dog's paws throughout her life in an effort to get her used to it - she's long haired so her paws get very hairy and have to be clipped around the pads.

I will touch a leg or paw at random times and sometimes she's fine with it, other times she'll snatch her leg away as if I've hurt her, there's no rhyme or reason to her reaction.

It doesn't help that she doesn't like having her paws clipped but I imagine if one of her paws was painful she most definitely would complain about having it touched and get quite distressed.

Given that most dog seem instinctively to dislike having their paws touched it's not surprising that they'd be put out if that paw is hurting and if your dog is a bit nervous that makes it even worse for him.

I always feel that vet visits are going to a bit of an ordeal; my dog has had quite a lot of vet treatment so can be very wary and will often stick her head under my arm in an effort to hide away. It must be scary for them.

If she needs to have blood taken she will scream like a stuck pig unless I hold her head and talk to her to get her to focus on me, then she's fine.

Your vet will be used to dealing with nervous dogs.

Hope your boys is better soon.

MellyPuppa Tue 23-Oct-18 20:21:37

Thanks all, you've made me feel better smile

I think his paw is healing but can't be sure. He is letting me touch and feel the bump quite firmly but I wonder if it's because of the pain meds they gave him. He has another check up on Thursday but I'm leaving that to DP so I'm not the bad guy twice!

OP’s posts: |
Tamberlane Sat 27-Oct-18 03:53:36

I work as a vet. My own dog-who has been handled constantly from puppy hood and who will happily let anyone do her nails pull on her ears and is in training as a therapy dog,basically a generally tolerant creature.....screamed and carried on when I needed to check between her toes after an ant bite.(Australian ant for the record so actually very painful) I ignored her and she threatened to use teeth to stop me touching.....and tbh...thats completely normal and was my own fault for placing her in that situation. I should have restrained her better before trying again but I thought it was relatively minor and pushed her to her limit of tolerance so she politely told me to feck off in stronger terms the second time because I ignored her warnings the first time.
Sadly it now means no non adult therapy but its good to know all the same where her line is.

Shes a dog. Dogs dont communicate like we do and when we force them into situations they do not like or find terrifying then growling airsnapping and biting is a completely normal reaction to pain and discomfort for the poor animal..its how they say get away from me right now and a ancious dog may tolerate an owner touching a lot more then a scary stranger like a vet.

I usually muzzle dogs when trying to examine something painful to keep everyone safe because regardless of how sweet they are every animal as their limit.
We cannot hold animals to human standards its not fair on them.
Dogs also generally give plenty of body language cues before snapping its just a matter of watching for them but we often miss the subtle ones.

Counter conditioning,basically trying to get a dog to associate vet visits or having feet touched with good things does help with the general anxiety and fear..but its hard to override a pain responce and the instinct to defend themselves from strangers harming them as its a very basic animal instinct that tends to save them from death from predators ... we may have domesticated dogs but they are still animals

MellyPapa Thu 15-Nov-18 23:41:58

Thanks for your post Tamberlane reassuring to hear the vet perspective.

Still haven't found out the cause of the wee lump. He is no longer in pain and I can poke about with it all I like, it's not swollen at all now but like a loose grain of rice under the paw next to his toe. Vet isn't bothered so I'm just bathing it in salt water, shrug slight mystery really.

tabulahrasa Fri 16-Nov-18 00:18:21

What they let you do is not linked to what they’ll let a vet do...

I can do pretty much anything to my dog, examine and treat sore bits, including using clippers on hotspots, manipulating his arthritic elbows, dremelling his nails, brush his teeth... whatever.

He once freaked at the vet because she was holding his paw, not btw part of an examination, he bloody gave her it hmm

He does have proper issues btw, so he’s always muzzled at the vets, but letting you do something isn’t really the same as someone else when it’s sore...

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