Symptoms of the Most Serious Dog Health Problems

It is important for all owners to be able to identify the symptoms that accompany dog health problems. Some of the most serious illnesses in canines can exhibit symptoms that may go unnoticed to the uneducated owner. Dogs, though generations away from their wild ancestors, still have natural survival instincts. An animal in the wild who shows signs of illness is an easy target for predators, therefore, dogs hide their symptoms. Being educated on common symptoms can help owners identify illness in its early stages.

Sudden Weight Loss or Gain

If your dog suddenly loses or gains weight, it could be a sign of something more. If your dog is on medication, this may be a sign that the medication needs to be adjusted. Remember, it is common for dogs to skip a meal, especially if the weather is hot, but not eating for two or more days is concerning. If a ten percent change in weight occurs, contact your veterinarian.

Over Consumption of Water

If a dog suddenly begins drinking greater amounts of water, this could be a sign of kidney problems. Consuming large amounts of water could also be caused by diabetes. It may be hard to keep track of your dog's water intake. An easy way to monitor this is how often your dog needs to eliminate. Greater water intake equals greater urine output.


A usually active dog who suddenly becomes lazy or sluggish could signal a serious illness. Monitor your dog closely; offer walks and playtime and see if he is interested. If the lethargy continues for several days, a trip to the vet. is in order to rule out any sickness.


Many people think a dog scooting it's rear on the floor is funny, but most don't know that this is can be a sign of serious illness. Scooting is a symptom of kidney disease, diabetes, anal gland blockage, or worms.

Excessive Drooling

Drooling more than normal can be a sign that your dog has gotten into something poisonous or is suffering from a mouth infection.

Enlarged Abdomen

If your dog's abdomen has grown hard or has become enlarged, contact your veterinarian immediately. An enlarged abdomen signals serious illness which can include heart disease, tumor, liver disease, stomach twist or infection.


Dogs vomit just like humans, but excessive vomiting is unhealthy and may be a sign of illness. Call your veterinarian if your dog is vomiting several times a day, if the vomit is bloody or forceful or if your dog seems to be in pain.

Bloody Diarrhea

Stool that is loose and contains large amounts of blood is concerning. If the diarrhea is not bloody but lasts longer than two days your dog may be at risk of dehydration.

To summarize, look for the following symptoms in your dog to identify illness in it's earliest stages:

  • Ten percent change in weight
  • Over consumption of water
  • Lethargy
  • Scooting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Enlarged abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea

 As always, if the symptoms are severe or last more than two days, contact your veterinarian.