How Do I Know if My Dog is Ill?
How Do I Know if My Dog is Ill?
When you become the parent to a canine furbaby, one of your key responsibilities is keeping her safe and well. There are many ways that you can do this, from ensuring she gets the right nutrition and exercise to being vigilant for hazards and dangers and doing everything in your power to ensure she stays out of harm’s way. Preventive medicines can help to protect your dog from many serious, contagious diseases including parvovirus and distemper, as well as parasites like fleas, ticks and heartworm.
Nevertheless, despite our best efforts, millions of dogs still become unwell each year. While some maladies are fairly minor and often resolve themselves without veterinary intervention, sometimes before the owner realises that their pet is ill, other types of sickness are much more serious.
One of the most difficult aspects of keeping your dog healthy is the fact that she is unable to tell you something is wrong with her. However, this doesn’t mean that she can’t show you that she is ill. Most dogs will exhibit some signs or behaviors that will indicate to you that something just isn’t quite right with her.
If there is more than one concerning change in her behavior or anything else that you are worried about, it is always worth making an appointment with our vet to get her checked over. Remember, you know your pet better than anyone and if you feel something is out of sorts with her, trust your instincts.
Common behaviour changes that might indicate your dog is ill
Some of the most common ways in which the behavior of your furbaby may change include her becoming:
- Withdrawing and seeking solitude/hiding
When sickness and diarrhea requires medical attention
Loose bowels or constipation are rarely cause for concern if they are isolated incidents and don’t occur too often. However, repeated tummy troubles may suggest that your canine companion is suffering from illness, particularly if they are accompanied by other symptoms. Tummy troubles to look out for include:
- Obvious abdominal swelling or pain
- Repeated episodes of diarrhea that go on for more than 24 hours
- Repeated episodes of vomiting that go on for more than 24 hours
- Blood in the her diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
If your dog repeatedly dry heaves, seems restless and has a distended stomach, she may be suffering from a condition called ‘bloat’. Bloat is life-threatening and requires emergency veterinary treatment.
Toilet troubles that could indicate your pet is poorly
Sudden changes in your dog’s bathroom habits may be a sign that your furbaby is suffering from a health problem. Typical signs to look out for include:
- Increased frequency of passing urine or stools
- Increased volume of urine or stools being passed
- Trouble passing urine
- Difficulty defecating
- The sudden onset of bathroom accidents in a dog who has previously been considered fully housetrained.
Breathing difficulties that may require veterinary intervention
Breathing problems can be scary, even for an experienced pet owner. Unfortunately, the signs of a respiratory illness can be very subtle, and so you should check to see if your pet has any of the following symptoms combined with any of the behavioral, digestive or elimination problems also mentioned on this page. If in any doubt, get your dog checked out.
Common breathing problems that may suggest your dog’s respiratory system is compromised include:
- Persistent cough that lasts for more than 24 hours
- A honking cough
- Wheezing or breathing noisily
- Labored breathing
- Persistent nasal discharge, particularly if there is blood or mucus present
- Shortness of breath
Not being able to breathe properly is an emergency situation. If your furry friend seems to be struggling to breathe, check her airway and make sure she has not swallowed something that is now blocking it. If you can’t see an obstruction, check her gums and tongue to see what color they are. Healthy dogs have pink soft tissue. If you see a blue tinge to them, or your pet is obviously having significant breathing difficulties, get to a veterinarian immediately.
Other indicators that your pet may be ill
There are many other things that may suggest that your pet is battling some sort of virus, disease or medical condition. In fact, it is impossible to give you all of the possible symptoms that your pet may have as the way that an animal reacts to a situation is completely unique. Nevertheless, other indicators that you may wish to watch out for include:
- A high temperature (above 103F)
- Sudden reluctance to stand or walk
- Obvious swelling, particularly if it is warm to the touch
- Stiffness and difficulty moving
- Rash on the skin
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Unusual lumps or bumps
- Persistent itchiness
If you are concerned about the health or well-being of your dog, you have a duty of care to get her seen by a professional as soon as possible. Don’t delay, make sure you have the number of a reputable veterinary clinic and out-of-hours service today. Contact us for further advice.