If you’re a pet owner or plan to be one, you’ll want to learn how to tell if your dog is sick. Dogs live anywhere from 8-16 years. Some smaller breeds can live even longer than that.
Regardless of the breed, though, your dog stands a much better chance at getting through whatever ails him if his owner is educated. Therefore, be on the lookout for the following signs.
1. Rapid Weight Loss
One of the first sick dog symptoms to look out for is a change in your dog’s weight. Losing a couple of pounds may not be that big of a deal, but visible changes in the dog’s appearance are cause for concern. Sudden and rapid weight loss can be the sign of a severe sickness like diabetes or chronic heart disease.
2. Breathing Problems
Another sign to watch when examining how to know when your dog is sick is to listen to his breathing. Short-nosed dogs, in particular, can start to have seizure-like symptoms if they’re experiencing breathing issues. Common respiratory problems for canines include bacterial/viral infections and airway obstructions.
3. Excretory Issues
Many times when you hear someone say, “My dog is sick,” they are referring to problems their dog might be having with purging. In other words, the dog has trouble defecating due to constipation or diarrhea. He also might be experiencing urinary infections or vomiting.
There are many pet medications on the market for this very thing. Do your research and talk to a vet about your concerns before buying.
4. Trouble Eating
Another answer to how do you know when a dog is sick is two-fold. First, the dog may have lost his appetite due to an internal sickness. (See the other issues on this list.)
Secondly, he may not be eating even though hungry due to some form of discomfort that’s unrelated to his digestive system. Dental issues are among the most common reasons for loss of appetite.
5. Foul Odors and Discharges
Dogs can emit foul odors and discharges from a number of places on their body. These can arise as the result of a viral or bacterial infection, which can play out on the dog’s skin or with its internal organs. It generally takes the form of blood, mucus, or pus.
6. Mobility Problems
Something else you might notice concerning your dog is that he has suddenly developed issues walking or exhibits an altered and staggering gait. Short-term problems can be something like heavy exercise. Long-term issues might be due to old age or some form of injury.
7. Skin and Hair Irritation
Skin and hair irritation can take a few different forms. Skin rashes are quite common for dogs, and they can lead to the aforementioned odors and discharges in extreme cases.
Dogs also might find themselves losing an unusual amount of hair. This can lead to bald spots and exacerbate skin irritation as the fur is a protective covering for the dog. If your dog is rapidly losing hair, check for some type of infestation (i.e., ticks, lice, fleas).
Learning How to Tell If Your Dog Is Sick Can Save Her Life
Don’t fear the worst when learning how to tell if your dog is sick. He may have symptoms of lesser illnesses that can be cleared up with medication. However, you shouldn’t take his health lightly either.
For more helpful tips and advice, check out some of our additional posts.