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How To Tell If Your Dog Is Sick

Dogs can’t tell us when they’re not feeling well, so it’s important to know what symptoms may indicate that your dog is sick.

Here are some of the most common symptoms that dogs experience, and how to decide if your dog is sick enough to warrant an emergency vet trip. If you’re concerned about your dog’s health or safety, do not hesitate to give your veterinarian a call or seek emergency care.

Common Signs That Your Dog Is Sick
Vomiting is not uncommon in dogs when they eat something weird outside, when transitioning to a new food, or if they’re just having an “off” day. You may want to offer a bland meal of white rice and boiled, boneless, skinless chicken to help their stomach settle. Yellow or white, foamy vomit, though, can happen if your dog becomes very hungry between meals, so offering snacks usually resolves it. Repeated vomiting or vomiting that lasts more than 24 hours indicate that your dog may be suffering from something more serious than an upset tummy.

Diarrhea is also not uncommon in dogs when they’re having a bad day, but repeated episodes or symptoms lasting more than a day can lead to dehydration, especially if your dog is not eating or drinking water. Concurrent symptoms like lethargy, anorexia (not eating) and fever can indicate an emergency.

Excessive licking can be a symptom of a few different ailments. If your dog licks their paws excessively, it can be due to allergies or food intolerances, and it can even be from pain or soreness. If your dog licks the air or soft surfaces like your bedsheets, it can be caused by heartburn or gastric upset. If your dog is licking their own skin, they’re probably feeling itchy.

Itching can be due to food intolerances or environmental allergies, like wool or pollen. A Pet Intolerance Test can help you figure out what changes to make. Itching can also indicate fleas, ringworm, and other health issues.

Coughing is often a sign of Kennel Cough, a highly contagious but minor upper respiratory infection. Sometimes, though, coughing can be a sign of something more serious like collapsed trachea or heart failure.

Fever is your dog’s body’s way of fighting off infection. A dog’s normal body temperature should be 100 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

When To Seek Emergency Veterinary Attention
Blood in stool or vomit can be bright red or dark in color, similar in appearance to coffee grounds.

Blood in urine can indicate a urinary tract infection or other serious urinary tract issue. Collapsing, dizziness, seizures or disorientation can be a neurological issue and should always be taken seriously. Illness in puppies and seniors should always be taken seriously, as even a minor illness can overwhelm their vulnerable immune systems and become life-threatening.