Is My Dog Ill?

You want your dog to be healthy and happy, but there are guaranteed to be times where your dog is feeling or acting a little off. The first sign of sickness could be imperative to the long-term health of your pet. 

Since your dog can’t tell you when they are feeling ill, it’s important you know the signs and symptoms to watch out for. The following are some of the most common. 

  • Trouble Breathing

Trouble breathing is one of the more obvious signs of illness – if your pet has noisy breathing, wheezing or cough, nasal discharge with mucus or blood, gagging, or labored breathing, it’s time to call the vet. If you notice they are struggling to breathe and their gums or tongue have a bluish tint, go straight to emergency. 

  • Changes in Eating

If your dog’s eating habits become irregular, and perhaps they refuse to eat for over 24 hours, give your vet a call. If you’ve noticed your pet is losing weight over a 2-4 week period or has unexpected weight gain, you should also take them to get checked out. Constant bad breath or excessive drooling can also be signs of illness. 

  • Toilet Habits

If your pet has had constipation or diarrhea for longer than 48 hours, or you have noticed blood or mucus in their poo, get a sample and head to the vet. Another sign of illness is persistent urination, very limited urination, or “accidents” when urinating or defecating. 

  • Your Dog’s Appearance

Depending on the symptoms your dog has, you may notice changes to their actual appearance. Changes in appearance could include things like lumps or bumps they didn’t have previously or that have started to ooze mucus or blood, rash or a persistent itch, hair loss, or constant scratching of their ears, to name a few. Also, keep an eye out for dry, red, or cloudy eyes, sleeping more than usual, and any stiffness when walking upstairs. 

  • Pain

Another obvious sign is pain – if they have a bone or a joint that is warm to touch and hurts when you do so if they are reluctant to walk or jump if they guard a part of their body when you go near them. Sometimes, a dog will yelp in pain if you touch any injuries, but they will most of the time shy away from you and suffer the pain. Pay close attention and if you have any concerns, get assistance. 

  • Nervous System Issues

Finally, if your dog has problems with their nervous system, pack them up in the car and take them straight to the vet. Symptoms could be anything from seizures and twitches to stumbling, weakness, disorientation, loss of consciousness, and a tilted head. 

An online pet symptom checker could help you identify if any concerns are typical for the breed of dog you have. 

If you would like to read further on illness symptoms in your dog, check out our article ‘What are some Common Signs of Illness in Dogs?

What You Can Do if Your Dog is Sick

If you notice any abnormal signs that are impacting your dog, contact your vet. Don’t wait for the problem to get better on its own – it’s better to be sure than to put your pet’s health at further risk. In some cases, your vet may be able to give you advice over the phone, or they may request to see your dog or send you to an emergency clinic – depending on the urgency. Follow their advice. 

Once your dog is on the mend, maintain healthy living through 

  • good nutrition – feeding them the right amount and type of food (not giving them human food)
  • regular checkups; proper grooming – even if they’re wearing a dog cone
  • lots of love
  • plenty of exercise

If you don’t have time to take your dog out for a walk every day, consider hiring a professional dog walker instead. If, on the other hand, you have lots of time, you could even look into professional dog walking courses too.

A properly trained dog walker, will not only come and take your dog out for a walk; they’ll also be able to keep an eye out for any health problems. They may be able to assist with grooming as well. 

Although you don’t have to rush to the vet every time you fear something might be wrong, awareness of the signs and symptoms of illness can help you determine whether your dog is under the weather. When it comes to illness, you don’t want to take any chances. Your pet is a member of the family, and the better care you take of them, the longer they’ll be with you.

Article written by Author: Elsa Smith

Common Signs Your Dog is Unwell

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