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Common Signs Your Dog Is Sick and What to Do

What to do when your dog is sick

All pets can get sick from time to time, and it's important to understand what to do if they become ill. In the case with dog owners, there is a whole host of potential problems that can make them ill. Even a little case of upper respiratory infection can become significantly problematic, especially if they are given medicine to clear it up that gives them an upset stomach.

Dogs can readily get sick when they ingest foods that are not good for them, or they get into the garbage. They are also known to chew on shoes, chicken bones, and leather straps. Each of these can make a dog sick if ingested. In fact, even rawhide chews can be problematic if they gag on them. 

What to Do If A Dog is Sick?

The first most important response should be to check on what they might have gotten into to make them sick. Try watching The Dog Doc, featuring Dr. Marty to learn more about your pet. With all animals, checking their overall behavior is the first step in deciding whether they need to go to the vet. One of the biggest problems with dogs is often because of their propensity to chew on things.

Dogs that act ill can behave in ways that are telltale that something is wrong. However, not all behavior for a dog needs to end in a vet visit. A dog that is lethargic and shies away from food but overall seems normal probably doesn’t need to go to the vet’s office unless the symptoms worsen.

The Basic Signs of Illness in a Dog Include:

  • Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Problems with Urination or Defecation including Blood in Urine or Stool
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Coughing
  • Hair Loss and Itchy Skin
  • Stiffness and Difficulty Walking

If a dog has any of these symptoms, it is a sure sign they have some kind of illness. It is important to analyze their overall behavior to see if their illness is temporary and due to something that is minor and will correct itself.

  • Vomiting and Diarrhea and Lack of Appetite—These often go together and can readily be caused by ingesting something they shouldn’t have. It can also be caused by a sudden change in food. Food changes should be gradual, so it doesn’t upset their natural digestive system processes. If their ailment doesn’t readily clear up within a day or two, they should be brought to the vet. It is essential to keep them hydrated if they have bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs that are given healthy dog foods can be a great way to ensure they are eating healthy.
  • Problems with Urination or Defecation including Blood in Urine or Stool—Problems with defecation can be from irritation in the stomach or parasites. The Dog Doc foods of Nature’s Blend is designed to help reduce stomach stress from ingesting unhealthy foods so it can be a good choice if a dog has food irritation. However, it can be from other more serious causes as well if this does not clear up within a day or two, they should be brought to the vet for a checkup with a stool sample.
  • Lethargy—This kind of malaise can be a basic sign of not feeling well. However, if it lasts for several days or is accompanied by a fever, they should be brought to the veterinarian for a comprehensive checkup.
  • Coughing—Coughing can be a sign of Kennel cough, a hairball, an upper respiratory infection, or something more serious such as a lung problem. Unless it is a minor problem that dissipates quickly, this should be a cause for a veterinarian evaluation.
  • Hair Loss and Itchy Skin—This can be allergy related or some type of autoimmune disorder. However, on rare occasions, it can be a sign of a tick-borne disease or other ailments. If this does not clear up on its own or becomes problematic, it should be analyzed by a veterinarian for longer-term treatment plans.
  • Stiffness and Difficulty Walking—This is often a classic sign of arthritis which can arise even at an earlier age for a dog. However, it can also be caused by tick-borne diseases and other health concerns. Treatment through a veterinarian is recommended.
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