Vet's Corner

How To Know Your Dog Is Sick

The health of your dog is very dependent on you as his or her owner. They look to us for not only food, water, and love, but also seeing to their overall well-being. Long time dog owners learn to recognize times when their dog is not feeling well and may need a trip to the vet for a check-up, but new dog owners with little experience often cannot differentiate between a dog who is just tired from a dog who is ill. So how to know your dog is sick is of vital importance. Below are a few things to look for if your dog is acting unhappy, ill, or has no energy.

How To Know Your Dog Is Sick

First let’s take a look at a couple of things to look for in a healthy dog. They will have a normal temperature of 101 to 102 degrees F, their fur/coat is full with no bald spots, their eyes are bright and attentive, the ears have no odor and are clean, and the skin is soft or pliant. This indicates they are properly hydrated.

Signs your dog is ill include any hacking, coughing, wheezing, gagging, vomiting or retching. Look at their eyes. If you see redness, unusual discharge or swelling this is an indication they are ill. Pay attention to the consistency and color of their stool. It should be the normal brown color, firm and not loose or bloody. Also look for any indication of worms.

Keep an eye on how much food they eat and the amount of water drunk. No appetite can be an indication their bowel is impacted while abnormally large desires for food is an indication they have worms. Drinking excessive amount of water is an indication they might be diabetic.

Just the opposite is true also: a sudden ravenous appetite can indicate several potential problems. Discuss such an occurrence with your vet.

Unexplained weight loss could be very serious, according to an article on the CBSNews.com website:

If your pet seems to have lost a lot of weight (and you don’t have him on a diet) then there is cause for concern. You should not be able to see any of the bony protuberances of the spine (back bones), ribs, or hips. This could mean that your pet is “wasting muscle,” which is very serious.

Notice the color of their urine. It should be yellow or clear. If you see any indication of blood, smell an unusually strong odor, the dog is obviously in pain or is straining to urinate, is urinating more than normal, or only dribbles a small amount, it is time to see your vet.

One last thing on the subject of how to know your dog is sick is his or her behavior. Are they in a funk? Are they lethargic with no energy, anxious all the time, stumbling when they walk, or exhibiting any form of trembling? These are all signs your dog is ill and a trip to your vet is needed as soon as possible.

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