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25 Most Serious Dog Health Symptoms That Cannot Be Ignored

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Most Serious Dog Health Symptoms That Cannot Be Ignored

Dogs can be very good at hiding illnesses from their owners. They get this from their ancestors that used to hide when they were sick, as a sick dog was vulnerable out in the wild. Sometimes the symptoms they are showing don't seem severe enough to warrant a trip to the vet, but there are some dog health symptoms that cannot be ignored.

Our dogs are more than pets, they are precious members of our family, and we have to always be on the lookout for any symptoms and changes in our dog’s behavior that may be cause for concern. If you're an attentive owner, chances are you spend hours each day observing your pet without even realizing it. It's likely that you'll notice a change in his normal behavior almost instantly.

There are many symptoms to look out for that may indicate there’s a problem. But how do we know which ones should be checked by a veterinarian? This is largely a judgement call for you, but a quick phone call to your vet is a good starting point. There are certain dog health symptoms that cannot be ignored and should be checked immediately by your vet.

25 Most Serious Dog Health Symptoms That Cannot Be Ignored

Dog Health Symptoms That Cannot Be Ignored1. Difficulty Urinating

If your dog is having difficulty urinating this could mean that there is a blockage or possibly a urinary tract infection. Excessive urination or straining when trying to urinate could also be symptoms of a tumor.

2. Drinking too much

If your dog is drinking excessively along with gagging, diarrhea and tightness of the stomach this could be what’s known as bloat, which is also known as gastric torsion.

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Drinking too much can also be a symptom of liver disease, diabetes and also bladder stones. When walking your dog keep an eye on just how much urine he is passing. It's a clearly one of the dog health symptoms that cannot be ignored.

3. Lethargy

There are many reasons as to why your dog may be lethargic, and these could include urinary tract infections and heart worms. These conditions will cause your dog to be sleepy, and he will be moving around a lot less than usual.

Most Serious Dog Health Symptoms That Cannot Be Ignored

4. Scooting

If your dog is scooting on the floor then this could be an indication of worms, a trip to the vet is definitely necessary. Scooting can also be a sign of fluid that may have built up in your dog’s anal sacs. Your vet will be able to drain the anal sacs for you.

5. Weight loss

If your dog has lost weight, and quite quickly too, then this could be a sign of many conditions including loss of smell, a nervous system disease, digestive diseases, liver disease, cancer and also diabetes.

6. Gum inflammation

Inflammation of your dog’s gums could be a sign of gingivitis, and with gingivitis your dog is likely to have bad breath too. Gum inflammation can also be caused by diseases and infections and other conditions that involve the mouth.

7. Loss of appetite

There are many reasons why your dog may have lost his appetite including a blockage of the stomach, liver disease, heart disease, nausea and also blockage of the intestines.

Most Serious Dog Health Symptoms That Cannot Be Ignored

8. Drooling excessively

Drooling is a very important warning sign as it can be a symptom of an allergic reaction. Your dog’s throat may be swelling causing him to drool more than usual.

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9. Trouble breathing

This is one of the most crucial dog health symptoms that cannot be ignored. There are numerous reasons as to why your dog may have trouble breathing including:

  • heart failure
  • kennel cough
  • bronchitis
  • pneumonia
  • allergic reactions
  • asthma
  • tumors
  • disease
  • fever
  • pain
  • reaction to medications.

10. Sensitive when touched

If your dog is sensitive when you touch him then this could be a symptom of bloat, which is also known as gastric torsion as already mentioned. Bloat is a very serious medical condition and your dog will have to go to the vets ASAP.

Most Serious Dog Health Symptoms That Cannot Be Ignored

11. Body lumps

Lumps on the body can be fat pockets which are benign tumors and are common in older dogs. Body lumps can also indicate inflammation and tumors that need looking at by your vet.

12. Limping

If your dog is limping he may have been injured, or something could be stuck inside his paw. It could also be a symptom of joint disease and also other diseases such as cancer. If you have an older dog then it could be a symptom of hip dysplasia and also arthritis.

13. Dull coat

If your dog’s coat has suddenly become dull and rough, this could be a sign of a vitamin deficiency or also a food allergy. Hyperthyroidism could also be the cause along with kidney disease.

Most Serious Dog Health Symptoms That Cannot Be Ignored

14. Vomiting repeatedly 

All dogs vomit from time to time but when your dog is continuously vomiting you know something is very wrong. There are many reasons for vomiting that include internal blockages, kidney disease and also digestive disorders.

15. Seizures

Seizures in dogs can be caused by a bacterial infection, epilepsy, brain tumors and liver disease.

16. Fever

If your dog has a temperature that’s over 102.5 degrees then this is a medical emergency. Fever really is a major warning sign and certainly one of the most important dog health symptoms that cannot be ignored.

Most Serious Dog Health Symptoms That Cannot Be Ignored

17. Coughing up or vomiting blood

This is also known as hematemesis and can be a symptom of bowel disease, esophagus issues, ulcers, liver failure, head injuries, infections, heartworms, tuberculosis and also pulmonary diseases.

18. Overheating

Overheating can be extremely dangerous for your dog and can be caused by temperature inside and outside. Never let your dog become too hot, as this will lead to serious health problems.

19. Pale gums

Pale gums are a major dog health symptom that cannot be ignored. There are many reasons for pale gums including liver disease, heart problems, shock and internal bleeding. Your dog may also be jaundice if liver disease is the reason for his pale gums.

Dog Health Symptoms That Cannot Be Ignored

20. Fainting

Fainting is the loss of consciousness and is a medical emergency, as there are many reasons for it including stress, imbalance of vitamins, heart tumors, heart disease and also excitement.

21. Paralysis of your dog’s back legs

There are many reasons as to why your dog may not be able to move his back legs including slipped back discs, distemper, blocked blood flow, genetic disorders, brain infections, spinal infection, blood clots, toxins, tumors, injury and hyperthyroidism. Your dog’s paralysis of the back legs could also be caused by ticks.

22. Enlarged Abdomen

This can be a sign of a condition known as bloat and is a medical emergency. An enlarged abdomen can also be caused by fluid build up and liver disease.

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23. Allergic reaction

There are many reasons dogs have allergic reactions including medications, vaccines, foods, fleas and heartworms.

Most Serious Dog Health Symptoms That Cannot Be Ignored

24. Scratching continuously

If your dog is scratching excessively then it could be a sign of skin conditions, fleas, dermatitis, mange or an allergic reaction. It may not seem like this is one of the top dog health symptoms that cannot be ignored, but if left untreated excessive itchiness could lead to something much worse.

25. Snorting and sneezing constantly

There are many things that can cause your dog to sneeze and snort a lot including weeds and allergies, some breeds of dogs also reverse sneeze.


There are many dog health symptoms that cannot be ignored to look out for in your pet, and they all require a trip to the vets. We love our dogs and want to care for them in the best ways that we can. By knowing the most serious symptoms to look out for, we will be ready to help our pups get treatment as quickly as possible.