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Thursday, 30 August 2012

Don't worry, be happy

Dear Dogs Today,

I would really appreciate some advice regarding my four-year-old Jack Russell.

About two months ago she started acting quite lethargic and subdued just before she came into season and during. She is still acting this way and seems tired and sometimes slightly miserable. She has been to the vet's and they said it was probably down to her being in season and that she may be experiencing a phantom pregnancy as she had slightly swollen teats, they said it would sort itself out. I think it is more a behavioural or hormonal rather than medical because she can be fine one minute and then not the next. 

She has been improving recently but still remains quiet when on some walks, and then very active and happy on others. When she acts this she resembles an old tired dog that you have to encourage to walk and always tries to go the shortest way home and pulls to go her way or stops and wont move until I go her way. Sometimes on bad days she won't go out of the garden and just wants to stay inside which only used to happen if it was very bad weather outside but now it can be sunny and she may not go. We are considering having her spayed in October but I'm worried it may make her subdued and lock her into this current behaviour whilst she recovers as she will have to stay inside for awhile, she already seems that running around and playing is a chore to her but I was also hoping spaying may help get rid of this behaviour and she will be more focused on running and playing with me and other dogs, is that possible? Do you think spaying will effect her as she seems like quite a sensitive dog as opposed to puppies that are usually spayed quite young and are mentally robust?

I'm so worried she will end up staying lethargic forever and maybe its just her growing up and this maybe her personality and she may not want to run around anymore. Apart from spaying is there anything else I can do to make her enjoy all her walks and become more active, energetic and playful, I already take her for walks with my neighbour's dog and she sees my friend's dog all the time I try and play with her outside but he prefers chasing things and loves tracking. I would really appreciate any information on clubs I could join with her that have activities such as tracking and racing, chasing as those are things she used to enjoy and I think that maybe she feels she needs to have a job to do? 

Thank you for all your help I am very grateful as I have nothing left to try with her as I really want her to be a happy, healthy dog. If you need any further information I will be more than happy to supply it, this will help me enormously as I don't know what else to try.

Thank you any advice would be great.

Abbie Evans, by email


  1. A lot of bitches can become very depressed before, during and after their season. Some get the equivalent of PMT!!! And some get a bit wacky:-)
    Watch out for a pyometra, closed or open, as this can be fatal if not caught in time, and they don't always drink more which is sometimes a symptom. It might be a phantom pregnancy, but your vet should take this more seriously and consider a pyo.
    Take the bitches temperature. It should be between 38 - 39 Celsius. Over that she has a fever and should be seen by a vet as there could be an infection.

  2. Think I would inclined to have her spayed, some females that are miserable are either due in season, in season or getting over a season! And it can affect their whole life. Some are more hormonal than others the same as people. I don't agree with early neutering, but think at four that is a good age, she can have a little dental perhaps at the same time if necessary. I would hope then seasons would not be ruling her life and she will perk up. Also when she is down don't make a big thing of it, as she will think there really is something to worry about if you seem concerned too. I am not a vet, however I currently own 6 girls, 4 spayed and 2 entire. The older ones are always happier and Perkier after being spayed.

  3. My dog had a very easy first season which I hardly noticed. She then had a phantom pregnacy where she was very miserable, would not eat and aften looked vacant. I took her to the vet who gave her a hormone injection. We then had her spayed when all the hormones were out of her system and once she was over the op she reverted to being ike a puppy, pinching shoes and playing non-stop. Admittedly she is younger than your dog and is only 16 months old now but going by her you should notice some inprovement in "happiness" levels. Good luck!