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Symptoms of a Sick Dog

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 recommendedvaccinations 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.

Sick Dog Symptoms and Possible Causes

Bad Breathperiodontal disease
Bleeding Gumsperiodontal disease
Bloody Stoolsworms, intestinal blockage, anal fissure caused by constipation
Blood in Urineurinary tract infection, kidney disease, internal injury
Brownish Ear Dischargeear infection, ear mite infestation
Constipationchange of diet, intestinal blockage
Lumpsulcerations, cysts, tumors
Coughingwindpipe blockage, kennel cough, pneumonia, heartworm, heart disease
Diarrheachange in diet, stress, dog flu, Parvo virus, Corona virus
Hair Lossparasitic infection, dog skin allergies
Head Shakingear infection or infestation
Increased Drinkingcanine diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, Cushing's disease
Inflamed Earsear infection or infestation
Irritated Skinparasitic infestation, allergic reaction
Less Frequent Bowel Movementsconstipation, partial bowel blockage, loss of appetite
Less Frequent Urinationkidney stones/disease
Lethargycaused by any number of illnesses and disorders
Lamenessinjury, canine hip and elbow dysplasia
Loss of Appetitenumerous causes ranging from dislike of diet to serious illness
Pale Gumsshock
Pale Tongueshock
Pantingover-heating, dehydration, respiratory infection, heartworm infestation of the heart and lungs
Pot Bellyworm infestation, canine obesity
Scratchingparasitic infestation, dog skin allergies/infections
Stiff Movementinjury, canine arthritis, canine dysplasia
Smelly Earsear infection
Temperature above 102°Fviral or bacterial infection, dehydration/heat stroke
Vomitingdog flu, worm infestation, gastrointestinal disorder, algae poisoning
Watery Eyesallergies, in-grown eyelash
Sudden/Dramatic Weight Lossworm 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?.

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