Dogs are excellent at hiding their pain and illnesses from others. This behavior is a natural instinct, as wild dogs have to hide their weaknesses or they become vulnerable in the wilderness. For this reason, learning how to tell if your dog is sick can be more difficult than most pet parents realize.
You know your dog better than anyone. You spend hours with him everyday, and you know his normal routine. If you're observing your pet and your think that something is off, then it probably is.
There are many common symptoms of illness that are easy to spot, like vomiting, diarrhea or breathing problems. However, your dog will likely try his best to hide how he's really feeling. If he isn't showing blatant symptoms, you will need to closely observe your dog in order to notice even the most subtle changes in diet and behavior.
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Sick
If you think your dog isn't feeling the best, you'll need to keep a close eye on him. Some of these symptoms are subtle, so you'll need to pay attention and be observant of any behavioral changes in your pup. The most common signs to look for include:
- Bloody stool or mucus in stool
- Increased or decreased urination
- Blood in the urine
- Loss of appetite
- Change in drinking habits
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Changes in personality
- Coughing, wheezing or trouble breathing
- Hair loss/itchy skin
If just one of these symptoms is evident, keep a close watch on your dog and take notes if necessary. For example, if your dog seems to be drinking more or less than normal, record the times that he drinks and the duration to compare over time. This will allow you to tell exactly how much and how often your dog is drinking and give you detailed information to share with your veterinarian.
One symptom wouldn't be anything to get too worried about. Monitor your dog closely, and call your vet if you have any questions. If the symptom begins to get better, it will likely clear up on its own. If the symptom begins to get worse or lasts for more than 48-72 hours, it's best to seek veterinary care.
If you notice more than one symptom or the change in behavior seems sudden or drastic, seek veterinary care immediately. Multiple symptoms are a sign that there is definitely something concerning going on. Do not wait, and do not try to treat the symptoms yourself.