First Steps to Take If Your Dog Is Sick

If you begin to notice symptoms in your dog which indicate that your dog is sick, it is imperative that you take note of them so that they can be diagnosed and treated. Whereas some ailments may be more threatening than others, treatment is always more effective when it is done early on. If you are concerned that your dog is sick, consider taking the following steps:

1. Take Your Dog's Temperature

Fever is always an indication of an infection. Because infections need to be treated promptly to avoid spreading, it is important that you take your dog's temperature.

Your first indication of fever may be that your dog's ear and nose are warmer to the touch than normal. If your dog has not been recently running around and playing, these can be signs that a fever is present.

Taking his temperature rectally is the most reliable method of detecting a fever. The ear is a pretty good indicator, as well. Do not be afraid if you get a reading of 101 degrees. A dog's normal rectal temperature ranges anywhere from 100.5 degrees to 102.5 degrees. However, if his temperature exceeds 102.5 degrees, he needs prompt medical treatment to avoid shock and, in severe cases, a coma.

2. Evaluate Your Dog's Symptoms and Severity of Symptoms

Evaluation of your dog's symptoms can help to walk you through the process of determining if your dog is truly sick. If you notice in general that your dog seems to be more fatigued as of late, or is no longer interested in his normal activities, it could be a sign that something is bothering him.

However, all symptoms of illness have to be looked at circumstantially. If you have a female dog that is in heat, being more fatigued during her time is common, and not necessarily a cause for concern. Likewise, if you know that your dog has seasonal allergies, it may not be a cause for medical concern, but rather something that can be treated easily around the home.

You should always be sure to take note of the severity of symptoms. If the symptoms you are noticing have been a long-standing problem, perhaps it is time to seek medical help. Likewise, if you notice any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention quickly.

  • Blood in the stool
  • Blood in the urine
  • Loss of coordination or disorientation
  • Poor appetite or lack of appetite
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Appearance of pain
  • Swelling of face or throat

3. Stay Relaxed and Don't Panic

While some of these symptoms may seem alarming, they are not always a cause for panic. Even if the situation appears to be life-threatening, you are of no help to your dog if you can't remain calm. You need to stay calm so that you can help your dog relax, and also so that you can help your dog, if possible.

Try to keep in mind that not all of these symptoms correlate to life-threatening conditions. They are sometimes very serious signals indicating that a problem exists and that it needs to be fixed. The majority of health conditions are very easily treated, although their symptoms may scare you to no end.

But it is always important to stay calm and evaluate your situation. You cannot give an accurate account of your dog's symptoms or condition if you are in a hyperactive state yourself.