Diagnosing Dog Problems

Dog problems may be recognized due to the symptoms that the dog displays. Knowing your dog and his usual behavior, eating and elimination patterns will make it easier to identify any possible problems. The most common symptoms that can signal a problem include vomiting, aggressiveness, diarrhea, the refusal to eat, fever or pale gums.

Behavior Pattern Changes

When your dog has a problem, you will notice a change in his behavior patterns; he may sleep more, avoid exercising, avoid eating or become aggressive. All these may be symptoms of various problems ranging from stress to a tooth abscess or cancer.

Your dog may also urinate more frequently, which can be a sign of a urinary infection.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea may commonly occur in your dog due to the ingestion of different foods or objects; this is a natural way of eliminating the food that is not tolerated by the dog’s stomach.

However, the vomiting and diarrhea may be a sign of a more severe problem such as a heat stroke, toxicity, ulcers in the stomach or esophagus or tumors and polyps.

Intestinal parasites may also cause vomiting and diarrhea and there may be worms in the feces of the dog.

If the vomit or the feces contain blood, this may point to an infection or cancer.

Scratching, Licking and Chewing

Finding your dog scratching his skin to the point of bleeding or causing bald patches may mean that the dog has a skin infection, parasites, suffers from allergies or is stressed.

Other symptoms may include licking the fur, chewing the skin or seeking cold places to lie down (i.e. bathroom tiles or bath tub), which are due to the extreme itchiness.  

Sneezing and Coughing

Sneezing and coughing can be caused by:

  • Dental abscess
  • Respiratory infection
  • Allergy
  • Objects stuck in the nasal cavity or air ways
  • Lung problems

Discharges from the Eyes or Nose

If the dog has discharges from the eyes or the nose these symptoms may indicate a respiratory infection, allergies, eye infections or objects stuck in the nose.

The thickness and the color of the discharge can help diagnosing the dog’s problem. Allergies will cause a watery discharge, while infections will cause thicker and creamy white, yellow or pinkish discharges.


Fever is a sign of infection, which may originate from an abscessed tooth, a wound or an internal infection.

Fever may occur in case of a heat stroke as well.

Avoiding to Move

The dog may avoid moving if he is in pain. This may be due to arthritis, which typically occurs in senior or obese dogs; however it may also point that the dog has a fracture or a wound.

Gum Color Changes

You may detect a dog problem by looking at his gums. The gums have a pinkish color if the dog is healthy. Gum discoloration may be a sign of a heart condition, liver or kidney dysfunction, poisoning or low blood glucose.

If the gums are red, this may mean that the dog has gum disease.

These are just a few symptoms that can give you a hint about what the problem may be. However, you need to visit the vet to get a clear diagnosis.