The 9 Most Common Signs of a Dog Being Sick

Illnesses in dogs may be signaled in several ways. The dog may change his behavior and you may also notice a few activity changes as well as some physical symptoms. Recognizing the most common signs of a dog being sick can be helpful in administering treatment in time and preventing complications.

1. Hiding Behavior

Dogs may hide when sick, so if you see that your dog is hiding in unusual places, you should take a look and see if you can notice additional symptoms that may point to a disease.

2. Lethargy

Sick dogs are often lethargic. You will notice that your dog sleeps more and is less active, as the dog’s body requires rest to heal.

Bear in mind that lethargy as well as the hiding behavior may signal that the dog is pregnant or that the dog is aging.

3. Vomiting and Diarrhea

Chronic vomiting and diarrhea can be a sign of illness. In some cases, the vomiting and diarrhea only point to a stomach discomfort.

Analyze the vomit and the feces and see if there are traces of blood; the vomit may also contain food or may be yellow, clear or foamy.

4. Refusal to Eat

The refusal to eat can be a symptom of a disease. As dogs get older they may start eating less; however, if your pet is not senior, the refusal to eat is most likely pointing to an illness.

Notice if the dog doesn’t eat for over 48 hours, you will need to force feed him, as starvation may be fatal.

5. Weight Loss

The weight loss may be linked to the refusal to eat. However, the dog may lose weight even if he eats normally (this may happen if the dog is affected by diabetes or tapeworm parasites).

6. Inappropriate Urination

When the dog’s urinating patterns are unusual, this may point to a urinary tract infection. The dog may also have blood in the urine and he may urinate inside the home.

7. Obsessive Scratching

When the dog is scratching or chewing his fur obsessively, this can point to allergies or a skin infection. This symptom may also be caused by anxiety or stress, so the dog needs veterinary attention.

8. Pale Gums

If the dog has pale gums, this may point to several severe conditions such as liver disease, diabetes or low blood glucose (hypoglycemia). All these conditions require immediate assistance.

9. Bad Breath

Bad breath or halitosis may be indicative of dental or gum problems but may also indicate that the dog has a stomach problem. Dog mouth tumors may also be signaled by bad breath.

Other symptoms you should watch out for include nose or eye discharges (present in the case of respiratory infections and allergies), red eyes (conjunctivitis), panting (respiratory problems, heart disease or allergies), sneezing, coughing, limping or difficulty to move (indicative of arthritis or fractures).