Sick Dog: Top 10 Indicators Your Dog May Be Sick

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Wondering if your dog is sick! Here are 10 Warning Signs of a sick dog…

If you are able to identify your dog sickness at an early time, you will be able to tackle your dog health issues more efficiently and effectively. Check out these indicators your dog may be sick in order to take better care of your furred friend.

As we all are aware,dogs are not able to convey their pain vocally. Some diseases are fairly easy to observe, especially if you know your dog well. However, there are some sicknesses that might be very difficult to detect at an early stage.

If you don’t treat some health problems in time, it could lead to serious health consequences so check out these tips on diagnosing sick dogs.

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Signs Your Dog May Be Sick

Sick Dog: Top 10 Signs Your Dog May Be Sick

  1. Loss of Appetite or Change in Appetite

Is it a cause for concern? A dog could refuse to eat dog food at times, but if it refuses to eat a favorite treat, it’s cause for concern!

  • Is my dog sick? If your dog refuses to eat one or two meals, it could be caused by a number of reasons ranging from depression to stress to disease.

Warning: If the situation is not resolved within 48 hours you need to take your pet to the vet.

  • The symptoms could range from eating less than normal, or refusing to eat anything at all, not eating a treat, weight loss, a lack of energy, not eating the recommended amount of food for its age or breed.

It is also possible that your pet is feeling a little under the weather after a vaccination. Monitor the behavior over two days.

  1. Sudden Lethargy – Sick Dog Symptoms

If your dog is normally active and energetic but suddenly shows signs of lethargy or laziness, your dog may be sick.

Note: It is normal for your dog to be tired after a lot of exercise!

  • Lethargy means your dog will not look happy and will not show any enthusiasm in its usual toys or activities.
  • Is your dog sleeping excessively? This could mean a sick dog.
  • If your pet does not respond to your command, does not come and greet you at the door, does not show interest in going for a walk or just responds more slowly than normal, all these are pointers to some underlying issue.
  • It could be a pointer to joint pain or some deeper problem of a sick dog.

sick dog symptoms

  1. Vomiting and Diarrhea in Dogs

The most probable cause for vomiting and diarrhea is gastrointestinal issues. It could even be a pointer to something more complicated, such as a kidney failure.

  • The character of the vomit or diarrhea could be pointers to the type of dog sickness.
  • If there are sticks, leaves, grass or other garbage seen in the vomit or feces, it could point to stomach problems.
  • Watery feces, reddish streaks in feces, dark colored feces are also signs of stomach issues.
  • Changes in the amount, frequency and the appearance of the feces or vomit are also pointers that your dog may be sick.

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  1. Respiratory Problems in Dogs

Breathing problems could even be a threat to your pet’s life, so be alert to the symptoms. It could be a symptom of fluid in the chest and connected with heart or lung disease.

  • Look out for signs like sneezing or panting, shortness in breath, runny nose or eyes and other flu symptoms.
  • Difficulty in breathing or labored breathing, heavy or rapid breathing when it has not been exercising are all pointers to a sick dog.
  • Drooling, making rasping or snorting noises also could mean that your dog may be sick.

In such a case, check out the color of the tongue and the gums and if it has a bluish-purple tinge, you need to contact the vet immediately to treat a sick dog.

  1. Pale Gums

Pale Gums Dog
Image Source: petmd.com

In order to spot pale gums, you must first be aware of what your dog’s normal gums look like. The gums are actually a great window to your dog’s health! Healthy gums are a pale pink color and slightly shiny.

  • Dense black coloring on the gums can be indicative of excess melanin. Get your dog checked right away.
  • Pale gums cold be indicative of anemia or blood loss and in some cases it is due to shock or pain.
  • Colors like cherry red, blue, purple, yellow or paleness could be due to several health issues showing that your dog may be sick.

Some dogs naturally have pigmented gums which will reflect the coat color, making it look grayish blue or brown.

  1. Behavioral Changes – Dog May Be Sick!

A sick dog could show some behavioral changes, depending on its discomfort level, so keep a watch out for these changes!

  • If your dog is showing unusual withdrawal or clingy behavior, something could be wrong. Check your pet for injuries, because such behavior could be a sign of pain or fear.
  • If you see changes in mobility, it could be caused by an injured leg. If your dog is having problems with climbing up or down stairs, getting up, sitting down or showing other issues related to mobility, it could be in discomfort.
  • Be alert if your pet suddenly starts growling and snapping or pacing about abnormally.
  • Also keep a lookout for other behavioral changes like eating patterns, activity levels, a change in sleep patterns and so on to detect sickness in dogs at an early stage.

Note: One of the typical dog behavior before death is social detachment.

pet social detachment
Image Credit: pethelpful.com

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  1. Hair Loss in Dogs

It is normal for dogs to shed hair, even plenty of it, but if it is causing bald spots on the skin, then there could be a problem, meaning your dog may be sick.

  • Loss of hair in dogs is called alopecia and it can be caused by parasites.
  • Your dog could be suffering from some allergy to a food, pollen or it could be related to fleas and mites.
  1. Bad Breath – Sick Dog Symptom

If your dog has a foul smelling breath, believe me, it is not natural and it could be caused by some serious health problem.

  • Bad breath could be caused by some kidney or liver problems. If the smell is a little fruity, it could be diabetes and if it’s like ammonia it could be kidney problems. A rotten breath smell indicates liver problems.
  • Foul smell could also be traced to oral tumors in the mouth or some dental issues or just the wrong type of food. Some food causes building up of plaque, especially sugar and additives in food.

It could even be a simple reason like something getting stuck in their teeth, such as bones or sticks. When these remain in the teeth for a long time, it causes bacteria to grow and the breath naturally starts to stink.

  1. Blood in Stool

Seeing blood or mucus in a dog’s stool is enough cause for alarm! Make sure to see your vet immediately and take a fresh sample of the stool as well.

  • Your dog may be sick. It could be as simple as a stomach upset.
  • However, it can also be caused by other more serious complications like colon inflammation, parasites and roundworms, bacterial or viral infection, bowel disease or some allergies.

At times, the blood or mucus is caused by your dog eating some garbage the night before, so you just need to give some medication and put your pet on a special diet.

dog sickness

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  1. Itchy Skin – Signs a Dog is Sick

An allergy can make your dog feel really miserable! If your dog starts to scratch rather unusually, there could be a skin problem due to some allergic reaction.

  • If your dog scratches its skin rather often and the scratching is accompanied by licking, it is most likely an allergy problem.
  • When suffering from a skin allergy problem, dogs are also less energetic than usual.
  • Check out whether there are bald areas on the skin due to the itching.
  • The hairs might also become slightly reddish or orangish due to the saliva.

Warning: Look out for obsessive licking action all over the body or relentless scratching.

You can differentiate between normal scratching and scratching due to allergies, based on the intensity as well as the frequency of scratching.

Last Word on Dog Health Issues

Your pet dog may not be able to tell you in actual words, but you can follow some physical symptoms to detect a health problem well in time.

You see your dog every day, so you will easily be able to realize when your pet is not behaving in the normal way. If there is any change in behavior, you need to be more alert and it may be time to see your vet.

If your dog shows these and other such symptoms, it is time to immediately contact your vet and get a check up done. Many pet owners attribute many such changes, like change in appetite or activity levels to aging, but is not necessarily so. There could be some underlying health problem other than age.

Don’t forget that if you are in any doubt about your dog’s health, do contact your veterinarian immediately. Here’s to a long and happy relationship with your furry friend!

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