Fido isn't feeling well. At least, you think so. Unlike people, pets don't have the ability to speak up and say when they're sick. Even though your dog can't use words to tell you that they're feeling under the weather, they may be shouting it in many other ways.
There are a few signs you should look out for that indicate your dog is sick. Keep in mind, not every dog will have all (or any) of these signs. But, understanding the top symptoms can help you to decide when it's time to call the veterinarian.
If your dog has any of these symptoms, contact a veterinary professional immediately. While some sicknesses are fairly minor, others can rapidly progress into serious issues. Only an expert can prescribe medications and provide your pet with the treatment that they need.
Unexplained Behavior Change
Dogs are sensitive to changes. If you've recently moved, gotten a new job (and are homeless) or have made some other major life change, your dog may react by acting differently. But, if everything is status quo and your dog is suddenly agitated, irritable, withdrawn or sad, consider the possibility of an illness.
Your dog's napping schedule has doubled. If your dog hasn't been overly active and there is no other explanation for the lethargy, talk to the vet about some sort of sickness.
Withdrawing From the Family
Suddenly switching from lap dog to loner may indicate an illness. If your dog won't go near you (or other family members), stays far away from people or suddenly doesn't enjoy a good pet or scratch behind the ears, they may be sick.
Vomiting every once in a while may not indicate a serious sickness. But, constant or persistent vomiting that lasts more than 24 hours isn't normal. Call the vet immediately. Your dog is at risk for dehydration, which can cause issues on top of whatever is ailing your pet.
It's not normal for dogs to have blood in their bowel movements. There are many causes of this, but none of them are things that a non-vet should diagnose. Veterinarians have the diagnostic tests that your dog needs to correctly evaluate what is wrong.
Your dog typically goes out to urinate several times a day, but now they aren't; this could point to a problem. Along with kidney issues, your dog may have an illness that is causing dehydration. A dehydrated dog won't urinate. Again, this symptom is serious and you should address it immediately.
Sudden or Rapid Weight Loss
When your dog's weight quickly drops, something isn't right. A rapid weight loss could be the result of an intestinal infection or something more serious, such as diabetes.
When your dog is coughing constantly or making a "honking" sound, something is going wrong. It's likely that your dog has respiratory illness, such as kennel cough. A veterinarian can examine your dog and listen to the cough before determining what's at fault and how to treat your pet.
Whether you see a rash, missing fur or lumps and bumps, your dog seems to have a skin condition. There are a variety of different canine skin issues, ranging from minor to major. If your dog is scratching themselves or you see noticeable marks on their skin (under the fur), call the vet right away.
Your normally mobile dog is suddenly limping, won't stand or seems stiff. When your dog feels pain, they can't tell you. Inability, or unwillingness, to move is a sign that your dog is sick or injured.
Does your dog have any of these symptoms? Call Dr. Michael Butchko, DVM for an appointment.