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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19590
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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My dog has had a serious behavior change in the last two

Customer Question

My dog has had a serious behavior change in the last two weeks. She is a 5 year old boxer. She loves to ride in the car and still wants to but will only sit on your lap and shivers and pants the entire time. She used to love ice water and would drink it in the car. Now even when she is panting she will not drink in the car. At home she seems depressed and not herself. The only thing I can pinpoint is that in the last 2 weeks I did dog sit for my daughter her male labrador. They were at home alone for a few hours and maybe there was an "incident" between the two of them? She has been to a kennel before and the two of them have never exhibited any sexual behaviors. I took her to the vet and they did blood work and a urinalysis with no issues. Do you think it could have been dog intimacy?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

Is your dog spayed or their male dog neutered?

Will she drink ice water at home still?

Is she shivering or panting when at home?

Was your girl in heat when the male was there?

Is she using stairs normally?

Is she jumping up normally?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She is spayed, he is not neutered. She is a petite female, 47 pounds. She is drinking normally at home, not shivering or panting, only in the car. She is NOT using stairs or jumping up normally.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful.

I suspect that she has injured a disc in her back. Dogs who have a disc injury often avoid stairs and jumping. Trembling is a sign of pain and when in pain many dogs want to be as close to their owners as possible. In a car, there are unexpected body movements that a dog can not control and thus she might have pain unexpectedly adding stress to the car rides. Stress can also cause trembling and different behavior. She may have injured her back when the other dogs was there as it does sometimes take a short while for the injury to be evident.

An intervertebral disc that has slipped or ruptured up into the spinal canal causes inflammation of the spinal cord, which in severe cases causes paralyses of the rear legs. in less severe cases, you see dogs avoid things that might cause them pain such as jumping and stairs. You can read about this here:

Large dog breeds sometimes suffer from a condition called degenerative myelopathy which can also cause problems with the rear legs and paralyses. You can read about this here:

Buffered aspirin can be given to a dog with a dosage of up to 5-10 mg per pound every 12 hours. Keep in mind that a dog's body does not metabolize aspirin in the same way as a human and thus should not be given more than a day or two without contacting your Vet. The aspirin may need to clear your dog’s system before other medications can be given, so keep that in mind if you decide to give aspirin and be sure and tell your vet when your dog is seen. Read side effects and precautions here.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer so I am compensated for my time.

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Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.

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