Common Symptoms of Illness in Dogs

Knowing some of the common symptoms of illness in dogs can help you determine whether or not your dog just needs some extra rest or a trip to the vet. Every dog may feel slightly under the weather from time to time, this is common and usually nothing to worry about. But if your dog is having an off day, you should look him over and evaluate his condition to see if it warrants medical attention. If you still feel unsure about your dog's condition, consult with your veterinarian's office.

Evaluating Illness in Dogs

Every dog owner should physically examine their dog at least weekly for skin and coat problems, unusual lumps, dental issues, injuries and other physical conditions that may cause him pain. This type of evaluation can help you identify and possibly prevent ailments that sometimes go unnoticed until they result in a serious health issue. Watch the way your dog moves when he gets up and walks around. He should not wince or favor any of his legs.

Examine his ears for foreign objects or foul-smelling discharge, look at his nose to check for crusting or discharge and examine his teeth and gums to look for injuries to his teeth or possible signs of oral infection. Notice the condition of his skin and coat, the skin should be of a normal color with no bumps or redness. His coat should be shiny and healthy in appearance and should not be falling out.


If your dog is laying around or sleeping more than usual, he may be feeling a little more tired than usual because of extra exercise or new circumstances in his living environment. This can also be a sign that he is ill.

Loss of Appetite

Occasionally, your dog may not feel like eating. If he just feels like skipping a meal, do not be alarmed. If he continues to refuse food you may wish to consult with your veterinarian.


Normal dog body temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog's rectal temperature does not fall within this range he may need medical attention.


Dogs sometimes eat something that disagrees with them and may throw up as a result. Going too long between meals can be the cause of too much acid in the stomach which can cause a dog to vomit yellow bile. If your dog throws up more than once in a day or has other accompanying symptoms of illness in dogs, consult with your veterinarian.


Canine intestinal and stomach upsets are the cause of loose stools or diarrhea. Diarrhea can be the result of too much excitement in your dog's living environment or can be a symptom of a serious illness. If your dog seems to be having explosive or chronic runny stools, withhold food and water and contact your veterinarian.

Pale or Red Gums

Dog's gums are usually in the pink to salmon colored range. If your dog's gums are gray or white, or very bright red you may assume that he is ill and needs medical attention.