Humans and their beloved friendly pets are similar in some ways; they need food and water for survival, feel and display an array of emotions, grow old, and often fall ill.
Unlike humans, dogs cannot verbalize how they feel, so it can be difficult to tell when they are sick.
Luckily, they show some physical signs and symptoms and behavioral changes that can point to a particular dog illness. As a pet lover or a pet owner, being aware of these signs and symptoms can make all the difference for your dog.
Taking the correct measures when you identify these early signs of dog illness in your four-legged friend can help limit their suffering, initiate treatment, and even save their lives.
Here are five signs and symptoms you should watch out for:
Dog illness warning sign: Vomiting
Vomiting now and then is no surprise for a dog owner. It can mean your dog might have ingested a bad treat or overindulged in a tasty meal.
Vomiting is the body’s way of getting rid of toxins. But vomiting a few times a day should raise alarm bells. Many vomiting episodes could point to a severe case of dog illness, including poisoning, viral or parasite infections, gastrointestinal issues, ingestion of foreign bodies, or organ failure.
When vomiting accompanies other worrying symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or vomiting blood, it is paramount to contact a veterinarian immediately.
While awaiting treatment, making your dog drink as much water as possible is essential since vomiting can quickly lead to dehydration and make the illness challenging to manage.
Dog illness warning sign: Diarrhea
Like vomiting, diarrhea is a common symptom likely brought on by the same illnesses that cause your pup to vomit.
If you notice diarrhea occurring more than a few times a day, it can be a cause for concern. If a high fever accompanies diarrhea, vomiting, or diarrhea containing blood, it is an emergency, and you should immediately take the dog to the clinic.
It might be helpful to get a sample of the watery stool before going to the vet to be used for lab tests.
Dog illness warning signs: Coughing and breathlessness
Coughing, in its harmless state, is often a reflex mechanism to get rid of foreign bodies within the respiratory system.
Persistent coughing that lasts more than 24 hours and even disrupts sleep could signify more worrying issues. A persistent cough can indicate dog illness, including bronchitis, lung cancer, inhaled foreign body, congestive heart disease, and many others.
If labored breathing or breathlessness accompanies coughing, that can indicate a more severe respiratory or cardiovascular dog illness.
Normally dogs breathe at a rate of 15 to 20 breaths per minute; however, if you notice your dog is breathing more rapidly, check the dog’s mouth. Look at the gums and under the tongue. If they are blue, it’s an emergency, and you must go to the vet immediately.
Dog illness warning sign: Fever
Running high fevers is typical for humans and dogs and often indicates an illness brewing.
A dog’s average body temperature ranges from 101-102.5 Fahrenheit.
You can use a digital rectal thermometer suitable for dogs to check their temperature. If your dog has a fever, consult your vet immediately to establish the cause and manage it.
Dog illness warning sign: Excessive scratching
While dogs routinely scratch, excessive scratching can indicate possible infestations of fleas, mites, or ticks. Excessive scratching also can be a sign of a fungal or yeast infection or, more seriously, an endocrine or hormone problem.
A quick consult with the visit will help establish the cause and allow you to start treatment.
Taking your pup in for regular veterinary checks to help you manage his health and allow you to spot serious health issues early.
Getting a jump on most cases of dog illness will give you more treatment options and hopefully better outcomes.