How to Tell If Your Dog Is Sick

If your dog is sick, he will typically signal this with an unusual behavior and you can also identify some symptoms. It is essential to know your dog and be able to tell if something is wrong, because no matter how serious a medical condition is, it is always better to administrate treatment sooner than later.


Vomiting may be caused by food intolerance, but may signal some more severe illnesses or poisoning. Visit the vet if the vomiting lasts for more than a day or go immediately if your dog has eaten something toxic.


Diarrhea can occur in a dog when he eats food that is not agreeable with his stomach; however diarrhea may indicate the presence of parasites or diseases that are more serious. You should be alarmed if the diarrhea lasts for several days or if the feces contain blood or mucus.

On the other hand, if the dog is constipated and has black or tarry feces, that may also be a symptom of a disease.

Bloody Urine

A dog with bloody urine should be taken to the vet. Even if there is no blood in the urine, but you notice that your dog is straining to urinate or urinates in the house or in unusual places this may point to a urinary infection. Discolored urine or cloudy urine may also indicate kidney or bladder infection.

Increased Thirst

If your dog drinks more water than usual, this may mean that he has diabetes or kidney disease.


A dog that is lethargic or less active than usual may be sick. A sick dog is weak, sleeps more and shows less interest in activities.

On the other hand, a hyperactive dog that is more agitated than usual may also be sick.

Weight Loss

Weight loss may signal that your dog is sick. Weight loss can be associated with the lack of appetite and is a symptom of a number of diseases starting from parasites to diabetes or cancer.

Dry Nose

Normally, a dog's nose should be cold and wet. A dry and warm nose may be a symptom of an illness. A dry nose may be caused by dehydration, but the cause may be more serious.

Discolored Gums

The gums of a dog should be pink. If you notice any discoloration or if the gums are red, this may be a symptom of an illness or gum disease.

Bad Breath

Bad breath may indicate gum disease or tooth decay, but may also point to diabetes or metabolism issues.

Difficulty Breathing

Difficulty breathing may be associated with asthma, cancer or a heart condition. It is important to visit the vet.


If the coughing is chronic, this may indicate tracheal irritation, lung edema, heart disease or even cancer.

Difficulty Walking

A dog that has difficulty walking, is limping or has no balance may be severely sick.

An illness may be signaled by one or several of these symptoms combined. It is important to notify the vet and describe the symptoms that you see in your pet so that the diagnosis is precise and the treatment efficient.