When you own a dog, it’s a big advantage if you know some of the common signs that it’s sick. Going to the vet can be stressful – both for you and your dog! – so being able to judge when and if it’s necessary helps to spare you both distress and expense too!
Today we’re taking a look at some of the frequent symptoms that dog owners encounter, to help you understand what’s serious, what’s not and when your dog really is sick.
Some of the most common health issues you’ll run across in your dog will likely revolve around upset stomachs. At some point every dog owner complains “my dog keeps throwing up and has diarrhea” and while the bad news is that it’s an all too common and unpleasant problem, the good news is that it’s rarely serious enough to warrant a trip to the vet.
Dogs’ stomachs can be upset by all sorts of things, from over-confident foraging when you’re out on a walk to changing their food to a new brand! Most of the time, the sensitivity lasts only a day or two, and your dog isn’t truly sick. You can support their quick recovery by ensuring they have lots of fresh water, to mitigate the risk of their becoming dehydrated and offering smaller, more frequent, easily digestible meals.
The times you need to be worried about your dog’s health is if the symptoms persist longer than two days, or if they’re accompanied by other secondary symptoms. Worrying signs to look out for are blood in the stool or vomit, lethargy and lack of appetite. Another key worry is if your dog is retching but not vomiting: this could be a sign of a serious condition called bloat, that may require emergency surgery!
Your dog can’t communicate with you as directly as you might like – and sometimes they’ll actually try to conceal signs of sickness and injury. These instincts date back to the days before domestication, when appearing weak could make them a target.
Instead, you need to be alert for subtle changes in behaviour that could alert you to the fact that something is wrong. Loss of appetite is a major one that could indicate something seriously wrong – it’s also unhealthy for dogs to go without food regardless of the reason and can lead to vomiting – as is the loss of energy, unexpected aggression and other symptoms like difficulty breathing or difficulty moving.
You know your dog, and if something seems wrong to you, then you’ve likely picked up on a sign, subtle or not, that your dog is unwell and you need to either monitor the situation, or get in touch with your vet depending on how much distress your dog is in.