Sick Dog Symptoms And What To Do When Your Dog Is Sick


It is universal that all living creatures are prone to illness; dogs are no exception to it. Dogs may fall ill ranging from bacterial or virus attack to any kinds of serious complications. Like any human, a dog isn’t able to express its ailment or feeling, when it is not feeling well.

But, there are ways to find out if your pet is sick. Before a dog become sick it will lick its lips, swallow or even drool. Some dogs tend to eat grass to relieve its gastric irritation. You may also notice abdominal contractions followed by the expulsion of vomiting when your dog become sick. Either an external or an internal part of the body will tell us the possible kind of its sickness.

External Body Parts of a Dog

  • Mouth
  • Nose
  • Eyes
  • Ears
  • Skin & Coats
  • Bones & Joints
  • Weight

Internal Body Parts of a Dog

  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Digestive System
  • Urinary System

We can figure out their sicknesses from, either way, changes in behavior or physical symptoms.

Some Common Behavioral Changes Due to Sickness

  • Changes in Eating Habits
  • Cloudy or Red Eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Shooting or Dragging Rear
  • Sluggish and Tired
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Sudden Weight Loss
  • Unusual Stool
  • Excessively Thirst
  • Frequent Urination
  • Vomiting
  • Rough or Dry Coat

Physical Symptoms Due to Illness

  • Coughing- may relate to heart disease, heartworms, or lung diseases. Lethargy, loss of appetite, nasal discharge, fever or a productive cough are the main cause of pneumonia.
  • Runny Eyes- is the result of conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eye) or infection.
  • Runny Nose-doesn’t mean that your pet has a cold. It could mean other illnesses like a sinus infection, tooth abscess, respiratory infection or cancer.
  • Vomiting-could state a digestive problem, metabolic problem, infection, heartworms, and even cancer.
  • Diarrhea- could mean that whatever the meal your pet ate didn’t agree with its digestive system.
  • Weight Loss– may sometimes cause for concern even though if you don’t have your pet on a diet, and your pet seems to have lost a lot of weight.
  • Digestive System-malfunction may cause both, decrease in appetite or increase in appetite.
    • Decreased appetite– could be a case of gastritis (tummy ache). If not then something serious must take into consideration.
    • Increased appetite may state something is wrong. It is a case of hyperthyroidism (an over-activity of the thyroid gland). Your pet with hyperthyroidism will eat with no sign of gaining weight or even losing weight.
  • Urination-system has two kinds of malfunction, Frequent Urination and Straining to Urinate:
    • Frequent Urination – in most cases triggered from kidney malfunction. But there is every possibility of infection or crystals in the bladder.
    • Straining to Urinate– may happen due to infection or blockage by urine crystals.
  • Changes in Behavior- may state liver disease, problems with sight, ear infection.
  • Unusual Odor is not that easy to specify its cause. Disease in the gum, tartar on the teeth or even a foreign body lodged in the mouth could be the actual reason for bad odor. Infestations Skin infections or even smelly ears could also cause a foul odor.
  • Hair Loss– may cause from ticks, fleas, mange mites and ear mites. Hair loss may also occur due to nutritional deficiencies, fungal or yeast infections. Late pregnancy is also a cause of hair loss.
  • Itchy Skin– may occur due to skin parasites, yeast or fungal infection.
  • Stiffness– could be the result of arthritis or other joint malady-like torn ligament in the knee.
  • Lameness-could state that your pet, might have stepped on something sharp which may still lodge in the foot. Hit by a car could be a possible reason of lameness.
  • The difficulty with rising – from the ground may be the result of hip or spine arthritis, disc disease.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Proper diagnosis is the key to successful treatment. Symptoms which stated above are most likely to provide a fair guideline as for when to take your pet to your veterinarian.


It is obvious that, signs of disease are not always clear. In such cases, your veterinarian may recommend some tests as preventive measures. Recommended tests include:

  • Ensuring your dog isn’t suffering from dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance.
  • The test is required to identify tick-borne, heart-worm, or other infectious diseases.
  • Your veterinarian will recommend you a complete blood count to rule out any blood-related conditions.
  • Need to screen urinary tract infection and another disease.
  • Check the ability of the kidneys to concentrate urine.
  • The thyroid gland disorder needs to be identified.
  • An ECG test will detect any underlying heart disease.


John Howes

Pet lover & passionate blogger. I love to write about pet. I started this blog to provide advance materials for choosing the right products for your dog.

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