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How to tell when your dog is sick?

How can you tell when it’s something to really be concerned about? When is it time to seek veterinary attention? Here are some things to be on the lookout for.

Blog / Pets / 2019 July 29, 2019



As a dog owner, you know that upset stomachs and lethargy are common occurrences that usually resolve themselves. Sometimes, it’s easy to just brush off abnormal behaviours or blame stomach issues on eating something bad. However, sometimes, they can be signs of a more serious issue. 
How can you tell when it’s something to really be concerned about? When is it time to seek veterinary attention? Here are some things to be on the lookout for:
Whenever you notice anything out of the ordinary, it’s always important to quickly inspect your dog physically. A healthy dog will have a nice, shiny coat; bright eyes and clear ears. They should be taking about 15 to 20 breaths per minute and it should sound clear and normal.
Stomach issues

Diarrhoea and vomiting are normal every now and then for all dogs. It’s usually a cause for concern when your dog has been experiencing either for more than 24 hours. This is when it’s time to contact the vet. 

If you notice blood in your dog’s stool, you need to seek immediate medical attention for your dog. 
Additionally, be aware of a distended belly, restlessness or dry heaving. These are symptoms of bloat, which could be fatal for you dog. 

Unfortunately, it’s impossible for your dog to communicate how they’re actually feeling, making it difficult to know if they’re in pain. If your dog seems stiff or lame for more than 24 hours, they may be in serious pain and need to be taken to the vet. 

They be reluctant to move or walk, guarding a certain part of their body or even present some swelling in their joints. 
Try applying a small amount of pressure to certain areas on your dog’s body to see if any areas are particularly tender. 
External appearance

Always try to be aware of changes in your dog’s physical appearances. It’s important to identify new lumps or bumps on their body or changes to any existing one. Keep an eye out for changes in their coat and skin, including hair loss, rashes, etc. 

Check their eyes, nose, gums and ears for any irritation, swelling or redness. Changes in their size or weight can also be signs of health issues. 
Checking your dog regularly and be aware of what’s normal and abnormal on their body. If you’re able to identify and address any changes early on, you could prevent bigger issues down the line.
Neurological symptoms

Dogs bump their heads too. Keep an eye out for things like stumbling around, tilting the head, disorientation or weakness, as they can be signs of head trauma. Twitching, seizures or losing consciousness can be indications that warrant a visit to the vet to see what’s going on. 
Toilet issues

Any changes in your dog’s toilet behaviours could also be signs of bigger issues. Watch out for things like struggling to pass urine or feces; or increased frequency or amount of urine or feces (this includes accidents from dogs that are otherwise housetrained).

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