30 Signs My Dog Is Sick

By MarĂ­a Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. Updated: April 7, 2019
30 Signs My Dog Is Sick

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Is my dog sick? Is one of the most commonly asked questions among dog tutors. As a dog carer, it is incredibly important that you are able to recognize any signs or symptoms of illness in dogs. In many cases, if these such symptoms are not recognized or treated in time, it could be fatal. Therefore, it is incredibly important to learn how know if your dog is sick or in pain.

Here at AnimalWised we’ve listed over 30 sick dog symptoms to help guide you. Remember that if you notice any of these below mentioned symptoms, you should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible in order to treat the case in time and/or accordingly.

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Is my dog sick?

In this article we’ll be listing symptoms of a sick dog caused by the most common dog illnesses. We’ll be analyzing what is referred to as ‘‘nonspecific symptoms’’, which are those common and/or recurring in various different diseases and/or dog illnesses.

If you notice any change in your dog’s behavior such as:

  • Dog not eating or drinking.
  • Change in stools.
  • Visible damage.
  • Behavioral changes.

You should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible as it could be a symptom of a sick dog. For more, we recommend reading our article where we list 5 signs of pain in dogs.

Sick dog vomiting and diarrhea

The symptoms of a sick dog, stomach related, are very common. Causes of digestive disorders in dogs can vary, from eating garbage to drug allergy/side effects, infections, food allergies, change of diet, intestinal parasites or trauma[1].

The most frequent digestive disorders in dogs symptoms include:

  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Frequent pooping.
  • Bloody stools.
  • Anorexia.
  • Fever.
  • Lethargy.
  • Hard abdomen.
  • Pain in the abdomen.
  • Dehydration.
  • Gas.

For more about stomach illness in dogs, we recommend reading:

30 Signs My Dog Is Sick - Sick dog vomiting and diarrhea

Is my dog sick or dying? : kidneys

Another common condition that affect mainly older dogs are those that damage the renal system. Kidney related illnesses in dogs may present the following symptoms:

  • Weight loss.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst).
  • Polyuria (excessive urination).
  • Dry or broken hair.
  • Dehydration.
  • Mouth sores.
  • Pungent smelling breath.
  • Fever.
  • Pain.
  • Edema on legs (swelling).
  • Abdominal swelling.
  • Chest swelling.
  • Anorexia and lack of appetite.

Renal failure in dogs causes can vary. Its presentation can be acute or chronic and symptoms may appear mild or severe. If you notice any of these above symptoms, it may be a sign of kidney failure and immediate veterinary treatment is required.

Some cases of acute kidney disease are extremely painful and you may notice that your dog will struggle to walk or moan in pain. This struggle with walking, however, can also be related to joint or bone problems in dogs.

For more about kidney related problems in dogs, we recommend reading the following articles:

Is my dog sick or just tired? : heart

Canine heart problems are more common in older dogs. The main issue is that heart problems in dogs can go unnoticed for a long time and can therefore worsen silently. Heart problems in dogs symptoms usually only appear once damage is considerable[2]. Symptoms of heart illness in dogs include:

  • Intolerance to exercise.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Thinning.
  • Lethargy.
  • Accelerated breathing.
  • Weakness.
  • Fainting.

It is also possible that your dog may experience excessive coughing after exercise, at night or when lying down. For more, we recommend reading our article heart murmur in dogs.

Sick dog symptoms: liver

Most symptoms of liver disease in dogs are nonspecific. This is especially the case in the early stages of liver failure in dogs. Liver illness in dogs symptoms include:

  • Vomiting.
  • Anorexia.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Polydipsia.
  • Polyuria.

When liver disease in dogs becomes more advanced,dogs may present additional symptoms, such as:

  • Abdominal fluid buildup (ascites).
  • Encephalopathy.
  • Hemorrhages.
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the mucous membranes).

For more, we recommend reading our article about liver failure in dogs.

30 Signs My Dog Is Sick - Sick dog symptoms: liver

Signs my dog is sick: parasites

External parasites and internal parasites in dogs can vary in symptomology, depending on the parasite. For example, the symptoms of a sick dog by ticks compared to those due internal parasites will differ.

Very general parasites on dogs symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Lethargy.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Pallor of mucous membranes.
  • Anemia.

Fleas in dogs can also transmit various diseases, parasites such as tapeworms or even cause anemia. The most characteristic disorder of fleas is allergic dermatitis in dogs due to flea bite. Dogs that are sensitive to flea saliva will present a dermatological reaction characterized by alopecia and lesions, especially in the lumbosacral area. For more, we recommend reading our article where we cover everything you need to know about skin diseases in dogs.

Following your dog’s vaccination and deworming schedule strictly is key in preventing parasites in dogs[3].

Sick dog symptoms shaking: cognitive dysfunction

Older dogs are prone to suffering from cognitive dysfunction syndrome, similar to Alzheimer’s in humans. Cognitive dysfunction syndrome in dogs symptoms can go unnoticed if blame is placed on old age. Dogs suffering from cognitive dysfunction syndrome may:

  • Sleep a lot, especially during the day.
  • Shake.
  • Appear restless.
  • Cry and moan a lot.
  • Urinate or defecate inside the home.
  • Isolate themselves.
  • Become unresponsive to stimuli.
  • Present compulsive behavior.

In order to diagnose this syndrome, a veterinarian must rule out any possible physical causes. For example, as we’ve already mentioned, kidney disorders in dogs usually cause increased urination. Therefore, urinating inside the home can be linked to several different causes. This is predominantly why we place so much emphasis on visiting a veterinarian if any of the above symptoms are noticed. For more about cognitive dysfunction syndrome in dogs, we recommend reading the following articles:

30 Signs My Dog Is Sick - Sick dog symptoms shaking: cognitive dysfunction

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to 30 Signs My Dog Is Sick, we recommend you visit our Prevention category.


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