6 Canine Symptoms Owner's Misinterpret

Canine symptoms can be hard to interpret, especially because many symptoms could be indicative of more than one illness. Here are some of the most commonly misinterpreted canine symptoms.


Many owners misinterpret aggression as a symptom of psychological disturbance. In fact, aggression could be a symptom of:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Separation anxiety
  • Pain

Break in Housetraining

Many owners interpret a break in house training as simple misbehavior, or perhaps as a symptom of separation anxiety. In fact, a break in house training could indicate excessive urination, which could be a symptom of serious illnesses such as:

  • Cushing's disease
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney problems, such as kidney stones

Lameness or Stiffness in Joints

Many owners believe that lameness or stiffness in joints is just a sign of old age. In fact, it is often a sign of arthritis. While arthritis tends to strike older dogs more than young ones, there's no reason why your dog should have to suffer from the pain of arthritis when many effective treatments are available.

If your dog's lameness comes on suddenly or seems to move from one leg to another, that isn't a symptom of arthritis; it's a sign of Lyme disease.

Skin Problems

Skin problems, such as hot spots or hair loss, might be a sign of allergies. However, they could also be symptomatic of other conditions such as:

  • Cushing's disease
  • Bacterial or yeast infection
  • Diabetes
  • Mange
  • Flea or food allergies
  • Hypothyroidism

Changes in Skin Color

Changes in skin color (or pigmentation) can be part of a normal, natural aging process. It can also be a sign of one of the following diseases:

  • Apocrine sweat gland cyst
  • Basal cell tumors
  • Chronic irritation or inflammation of the skin
  • Cushing's disease
  • Demodectic mange
  • Follicular cyst
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Mast cell tumor
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Vomiting

Most owners don't worry too much if their dog vomits once or twice. Dogs often suffer from acute gastritis, an irritation of the stomach that clears up on its own within 12-24 hours. However, vomiting can be a sign of serious illness. You can if your dog's vomiting is severe by looking at the following symptoms.

Vomit is Bloody

  • Your dog attempts to vomit, but nothing comes up
  • Your dog appears bloated
  • Your dog seems lethargic
  • Your dog has a fever
  • Your dog may have eaten something toxic
  • Your dog's gum's are yellow
  • Your dog hasn't received all his shots
  • Your dog has diarrhea as well