How To Tell If Your Dog Is Sick

I remember in primary 4 when our class teacher popped this question out ” what’s your favourite pet?” Everyone was mentioning the type of animal they like as a pet and one person said “I’d love to have a lion as a pet”. The whole class burst into laughter uncontrollably. Funny right?

The teacher then conducted a survey to find out which type of animal was mentioned the most and it turned out to be the dog. As about 70% of the class opted for dog. Guess the assignment afterwards; how to care for your pet.

The dog is one of the mostly kept pets in homes. Some use them for security reasons, others for companionship. But whatever the reason is for keeping a dog, once it is in your home, it must be properly catered for so they don’t fall sick.

Sometimes, as hard as we try, they still fall sick and you can actually detect it earlier once you make any of these observations.
One may ask “how will I know?” Don’t worry. I have listed down some points to enlighten you about that. Ready? Let’s go!

signs your dog could be sick

Signs your dog might be sick

1. Abnormal behaviour

Changes in your dog’s behaviour may be trying to alert you of something being wrong. Such as withdrawal, agitation, lethargy, clingy behaviour etc.

2. Shortness of breath

A veterinary doctor should be contacted if any of these respiratory signs show up.

  • Laboured breathing – that is when muscles of the abdomen are used when they try to breathe.
  • Gagging persistently
  • Mucoid or bloody nasal discharge
  • Cyanosis: check whether gums and tongues are pink. If they appear bluish, seek medical attention.

3. Problems of the nervous system

These may show off as stumbling, stupor, seizures, weakness, disorientation etc

4. Objective pain

These can be very difficult to notice as dogs do not speak out about their pain. But to be on the safer side, look out for pain. This can be done by inspecting their body for signs of swellings, sores, guarding of a part of their body when being touched, reluctance to jump or walk and difficulty in chewing.

5. Fever

The body temperature of a dog can be attained by using a thermometre. The normal temperature of a dog is between 97.6F to 99.6F
Fever is a term used for the rise in normal body temperature. Rise in a dog’s temperature can be a sign of infection or inflammation. You can check the dog’s temperature with a thermometer that’s specifically made for dogs. Seek medical attention if your dog’s temperature is5 103F and above.

6. Physical changes

If you know your dog well, then abnormal physical changes that are detected must be a cause for concern. Changes like hair loss, itching which is persistent, unexpected weight gain, lumps or sores that are oozing, rashes etc should alert us of possible health problems.

7. Stomach upset

Dogs often vomit and get diarrhoea but when it becomes too abnormal coupled with lethargy and poor appetite in addition to the ones below, then be sure to seek health attention for your dog.

  • Vomiting repeatedly for over 24 hours
  • Swelling or painful abdomen
  • Hematochezia; thus blood in stool
  • Profuse diarrhoea lasting for over 24 hours

8. Bathroom habit changes

Changes in bathroom habits can indicate a problem. Such as;

  • Difficulty in urinating (dysuria)
  • Increased frequency in urinating and amount of urine
  • Urine incontinence in house-trained dogs
  • Fecal incontinence in house trained dogs
  • Difficulty in passing stools.

Keep a watchful eye on your dog and keep a healthy happy dog


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  1. jodie filogomo
    February 8, 2019 / 1:52 pm

    This is such a great post. Sometimes it seems hard to know since they can’t talk to us.

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