How to tell if your dog is sick?

April 13, 2012

When you have pets they soon become like other human members of your family, you care for them and when they are not acting like they usually do, it can be really difficult to determine what is wrong and what you should do about it. When your dog is sick it can be nerve racking but when you know what to look for it suddenly becomes a lot easier to help them, to deal with their sickness, and help them get better.

When you have a healthy dog you take it for granted, but suddenly when your dog doesn’t look, smell, act, or feel right you know it or you have a good idea that something is wrong. The first thing that you may notice is that your dog has a temperature that is higher or lower than the normal 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit. Other common symptoms that something is wrong is more than 15 to 20 breaths per minutes and a heart rate that is higher or lower than 80-120 beats per minute.

One easy way to see how your dog is feeling is to look at their gums, lips, tongue, and inside of the eye lids. In a healthy dog all of these areas will be bright in color and when you push on them they will turn pale and then it will turn bright again. If the color does not return your pooch may not be feeling well. The same can be said if your dog’s ears and eyes are not clear, or if their skin is not pliant. If you are worried about dehydration you can simply pull up on the skin on the back of the neck. When you let go the dogs skin should not seem to stick together, if it does, your dog is dehydrated.

Other symptoms of a dog that is sick may include:

  • Swelling of the eyes
  • Discharge from the eyes or redness around them
  • Running, crusting, or discharge from the nose
  • Coughing, wheezing, sneezing, gagging, or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Prolonged or heavy panting
  • Abnormal intestinal activity
  • Change in eating habits
  • Change in body weight
  • Change water intake
  • Changes in their odor
  • Changes to the skin
  • Behavioral changes

It’s important to note that many of these things will not mean that your dog is sick if they have just one of these symptoms and it lasts a couple days or hours. If your dog has many of these symptoms you may need to head to the vet and make sure that everything is okay and if it is not, make sure that you get treatment sooner rather than later.

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