How to Watch for Dog Health Symptoms

Dog health symptoms are easy to spot once you know what you're looking for. The main ways that dogs communicate about their health include energy changes, elimination changes, noises and vocalizations, as well as other behavioral changes. The following are specific symptoms to be aware of, including those that require emergency treatment.

Urination Changes

A dog with any urinary tract or bladder infection issues will suddenly have different habits around their elimination. A previously house trained dog may start urinating in the house because of feelings of urgency, and a sudden negative association with the normal places he uses. You might observe that your dog is struggling while trying to urinate. He might stop his play much more frequently to try and pee, without producing much in the process. He could also make straining noises or movements during the act.

Urine Changes

If a dog's urine smells or looks different than usual, it often indicates a urinary illness. It's important to notice if the urine is more cloudy or foul smelling than usual. If you see blood or mucus in the urine, this is definitely a sign of a problem.

Changes in the Feces

A dog's feces indicate his level of digestive health. If your dog emits excessively runny or soft feces, he might have a slight stomach problem, or he might have eaten something a bit off for him. A sick dog might also have some mucus or blood in his feces. Blood in the feces requires a call to the vet, but the other abnormalities should go away within a day or two.

Energy Changes

A dog's level of energy and general enthusiasm is directly related to his level of health, whether physical, mental or both. If your dog suddenly becomes lethargic and you can't get him to play or come to you when you call him, he needs to be seen by a vet the same day.

Changes in Eating or Drinking

If a dog suddenly won't eat or drink anything, including his favorite treat, he is probably sick. Not being able or willing to drink water is an emergency, whereas some dogs will go 2 or even 3 days without eating. If your dog seems completely disinterested in a treat he always goes for ,or if this lasts for more than 3 days, call the vet.

Other Symptoms of Infection

Dogs can catch a variety of strains of canine infections in various parts of the body. Most of these symptoms require the soonest available vet appointment, unless emergency symptoms are present. Dogs sometimes cough and sneeze and seem moderately less energetic, which can indicate kennel cough or another illness. Other indications of infection include a foul smell from the ears, and excessive fluids or mucus coming from the nose or eyes.

Symptoms Indicating a Critical Emergency

Call the vet immediately if your dog is struggling to breathe, or if he is unconscious or acting confused and disoriented. It's also a critical situation if he is vomiting or having incessant diarrhea, or if he is coughing up blood.