Sick dog symptoms are often subtle and happen to even the best cared for animals.
Dog Health Care and Illness
So, since acquiring your pet, you've followed a regular health care program, including giving your dog veterinary recommended vaccinations and routine de-worming, combined with a balanced diet and plenty of exercise. This means you should never have to deal with a sick dog, right?
Not necessarily. Even the most cared for canines will occasionally display symptoms of illness, and these signs can range from fairly mild to severe, depending on their cause. The question then becomes what to do when you notice your dog is under the weather?
Sick dog symptoms are an outward sign of an inward disorder, be it an injury, infection, or disease. The key to deciding whether veterinary intervention is in order lies in recognizing the symptoms and having a general idea of their causes.
A Variety of Sick Dog Symptoms
The following table is only a general guideline and is not meant to replace a diagnosis from a qualified veterinarian.
While there are possible causes listed for specific symptoms, this doesn't confirm your pet has a particular illness, and there may be other causes not listed for each specific symptom. Your vet will consider your dog's symptoms and perform any testing necessary to give you the most complete and accurate diagnosis.
|Bad Breath||periodontal disease|
|Bleeding Gums||periodontal disease|
|Bloody Stools||worms, intestinal blockage, anal fissure caused by constipation|
|Blood in Urine||urinary tract infection, kidney disease, internal injury|
|Brownish Ear Discharge||ear infection, ear mite infestation|
|Constipation||change of diet, intestinal blockage|
|Lumps||ulcerations, cysts, tumors|
|Coughing||windpipe blockage, kennel cough, pneumonia, heartworm, heart disease|
|Diarrhea||change in diet, stress, dog flu, Parvo virus, Corona virus|
|Hair Loss||parasitic infection, dog skin allergies|
|Head Shaking||ear infection or infestation|
|Increased Drinking||canine diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, Cushing's disease|
|Inflamed Ears||ear infection or infestation|
|Irritated Skin||parasitic infestation, allergic reaction|
|Less Frequent Bowel Movements||constipation, partial bowel blockage, loss of appetite|
|Less Frequent Urination||kidney stones/disease|
|Lethargy||caused by any number of illnesses and disorders|
|Lameness||injury, canine hip and elbow dysplasia|
|Loss of Appetite||numerous causes ranging from dislike of diet to serious illness|
|Panting||over-heating, dehydration, respiratory infection, heartworm infestation of the heart and lungs|
|Potbelly||worm infestation, canine obesity|
|Scratching||parasitic infestation, dog skin allergies/infections|
|Stiff Movement||injury, canine arthritis, canine dysplasia|
|Smelly Ears||ear infection|
|Temperature above 102°F||viral or bacterial infection, dehydration/heat stroke|
|Vomiting||dog flu, worm infestation, gastrointestinal disorder, algae poisoning|
|Watery Eyes||allergies, in-grown eyelash|
|Sudden/Dramatic Weight Loss||worm infestation, cancer, Cushings disease|
When It's Time to Call the Vet
Most pets will display one or more of these symptoms of illness at some point during their lives, but there isn't always a need to rush them directly to the vet. Symptoms that only last a day and do not seem severe may simply need to run their course. However, a consultation with your vet is in order when:
- Sick dog symptoms increase or intensify over a 24 hour period.
- Symptoms persist more than a day.
- The animal in question is in obvious distress.
In the long run, it's better to be safe than sorry, so if you believe your dog may truly be ill, don't hesitate to call your vet for advice and an appointment. After all, doesn't your dog deserve as much care as any other member of the family?.