Symptoms of Dog Sickness

Dog owners need to be aware of some of the common signs of dog sickness. Some symptoms are minor and will clear up on their own, some may need to be monitored, while others should prompt you to take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.

Refusal to Eat

If your dog is refusing food he may be feeling a bit under the weather. If he's behaving normally otherwise and not showing any other signs of dog sickness, don't be too concerned if he decides to skip a meal. Missing more than one feeding may warrant further examination and monitoring. Take a look into your dog’s mouth to see if he is experiencing any dental issues such as a broken tooth or infected gums.


When a dog throws up it can indicate a minor stomach upset, a more serious disease or accidental ingestion of poison. If your dog vomits more than once during a 12 hour period or is displaying other symptoms of illness you should consult with your veterinarian. Do not continue to feed your dog once he has thrown up. Wait 24 hours to feed him again to allow his stomach to settle.


If your dog does not have his normal energy level and is sleeping more than usual, keep a close eye on him and note whether or not he is exhibiting other signs of dog sickness. Feeling a little tired is nothing to worry about, but he may be in pain or otherwise not feeling well. Lethargic behavior often accompanies a fever.


If your dog is coughing, he may have a respiratory infection or a foreign object caught in his throat. If your dog’s cough persists for longer than three days, worsens or is accompanied by other symptoms, you will need to call your veterinarian.

Discharge from Eyes, Nose or Ears

If your dog has runny eyes or nose, or has visible discharge in his ear, he may be experiencing allergies or other irritations of his mucous membranes. Discharge that is white, yellow or green indicates infection and will need antibiotic treatment. A foul smell coming from the ear is also an indication of infection.


Diarrhea is often an indication of a stomach upset. Loose and runny stools can be caused by many things. Sometimes your dog may have eaten something that upset his stomach. He could also have parasites or a serious illness. Do not feed your dog for 24 hours if he is experiencing diarrhea. Be sure to offer him plenty of water to prevent dehydration. If he is exhibiting any other symptoms or does not improve within 24 hours, you should consult your veterinarian.

What to Do about Dog Sickness

Nobody knows your dog like you do. Monitor your dog closely if he seems ill. Make notes about the symptoms you are seeing. Any sign of dog sickness that is happening frequently or does not pass within a day is cause for concern. If your observations lead you to believe he has a more serious health issue, you should call your vet.