Your dog is your baby, your best friend, your partner in crime. There’s no question that you love your dog. Some of us may even love our dogs more than our significant others. But that’s a discussion best left for another day (and maybe a different blog). The point is we love our dogs and we want them to always be healthy and happy. However, there are times when they don’t seem to be doing so good. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell if our dogs are sick or injured. They’re pretty stoic about it, actually, so it can be quite easy to overlook the subtle signs of poor health. If only they could talk, right? Well, they may not be able to tell you what they’re feeling but there are signs that you could look out for so you know when to take them to the vet immediately.
1. Unusual Eating Habits
While it’s perfectly natural for a dog to skip a meal or two, he or she should not skip more than that. A day or more without eating is a clear sign that you should be heading straight to the vet. A lack of appetite is a symptom of a variety of conditions including gastric disease, tumor, and parasites.
2. Difficulty Breathing
If your dog has trouble breathing or is making weird noises when he breathes, you should take him to the vet immediately. If your dog can’t breathe for more than 3 minutes, it’s the end of the road. So, you should take it seriously if you see him panting or puffing his lips when breathing.
3. Unproductive Vomiting
A dog who goes through the motions of vomiting such as abdominal contractions and retching but doesn’t seem to be vomiting anything may be experiencing “bloat”. Bloat is a life-threatening condition where food and gas will cause the stomach to dilate and expand and possibly rotate. Some dogs will experience additional symptoms such as panting, restlessness, and inability to lie down comfortably. If any of these symptoms show up in your dog, you should rush him immediately to the vet.
4. Excessive Thirst
You should be aware of just how much your dog drinks every day. If you notice that you seem to be filling up his bowl a lot more than usual, if he/she has been needing to go outside more often, or he/she seems to not be able to hold it in between outside breaks, then your dog may be developing a kidney disease or diabetes
5. Abnormal Gum Color
Your pet’s gums should have pink gums unless he or she was born with black ones. Pink gums mean that blood is circulating his body normally. An unusual color – pale or white – will indicate that something is wrong with your dog’s circulation such as severe anemia. Your dog could be bleeding from internal injuries that you aren’t aware of. Blue or gray gums are also an indication that something’s wrong – a lack of oxygen. This can occur in dogs with heart failure or problems with breathing. If you see this color in your dog’s gums, you need to get him to the vet immediately..
If it’s your dog’s first time to have a seizure, you should take him to the vet as soon as possible so that he can be examined. The reason for this is that you need to know if this is to see if there’s a way to control future occurrences such as medication. In addition, dogs with this type of disorder are at risk of status epilepticus which is a condition where the dog suddenly gets uncontrolled, recurring seizures that may or may not include a loss of consciousness.
7. Unable to Stand
If your dog suddenly exhibits profound weakness, unable to rise, then this is a cause for a trip to the vet ASAP. This is a symptom of several serious conditions such as internal bleeding, Addison’s disease, organ failure, spinal disease, severe dehydration, etc. All of which are a cause for an emergency visit to the clinic.
8. Difficulty In Urinating
If your dog is struggling to urinate, it could be that he has a bladder infection which is not something that is life-threatening. However, it could be that something is blocking his urinary tract such as bladder stones. Like with humans, this is a very painful situation that will require immediate attention.
9. Unusual Stool
One good indicator of a dog’s overall health is his poop. It should be small, firm, and moist. If it’s hard and dry, this could be just a sign of dehydration or dietary problems. However, if there’s blood, mucus, or worms in it, you need to get him to the vet as soon as you can. The same goes if he has diarrhea for more than 24 hours or if he’s straining to poop.
10. Cloudy or Red Eyes
If your dog is showing any of these symptoms – cloudy or red eyes, squinting, or excessive discharge from his eyes, and/or a prolapsed third eyelid then you need to bring him to the vet as soon as you can. These are symptoms of a viral or bacterial infection which could potentially cause blindness. It could even be a symptom of a corneal disease or a serious systemic disease.
11. Questionable Coat
Your dog’s coat is his hair. Like with us, healthy hair is thick, shiny, and soft. If your dog is shedding like crazy, he may be suffering from allergies, malnutrition, skin diseases, or possibly even a tumor. The same could be said if his coat is rough and dry or has bald patches. Either way, you need the vet to examine him to figure out the cause for his unhealthy coat.
12. Staring At The Wall
Ok, so maybe there is something fascinating about your wall. But this is one symptom that you shouldn’t ignore. If your pet is seeing some things that we don’t see, then it may be that he has a cognitive dysfunction syndrome, a tumor, a stroke, or a head injury. Any of these conditions can cause multiple illusions or hallucinations.
While all of these are symptoms you should look out for, that doesn’t mean you should ignore your gut when it’s telling you that something is wrong. Use your best judgment and if you have doubts, your vet is just a call away. Why wouldn’t you consult his doctor? Your dog is family, after all.