How to diagnose a sick dog.

Its important to know how to spot if something’s wrong with your dog, picking up that something’s amiss can be subtle. So if you’re worried, call your vet. 

Ten Top Signs of Trouble:

Diarrhoea or constipation – If it persists beyond 48 hours, it’s time to visit the vet. If possible, take a fresh stool sample with you in a clean jar.

Repeated vomiting, gagging, sneezing or coughing – If your dog keeps throwing up or choking during or after eating, you should get it checked out immediately. There are many things that can cause this and your vet is the best person to work out what it is.

Refusal to eat – There are any number of reasons why your dog’s eating habits might be occasionally fussy. But if it lasts more than 24 hours, seek medical advice.

Excessive thirst or urinationA common symptom of illness.

Red or swollen gumsBad breath too? It could be gum disease. Don’t ignore it – especially as it could lead to teeth loss, malnutrition and other diseases.

Difficulty urinating – Watch out for yelping, a hunched back or blood in the urine.

Breathing problemsWith any difficulty or changes in breathing, urgent vet attention is needed.

Runny eyes or nose – Sneezing, panting, runny eyes and nose or other flu-like symptoms could be signs of respiratory problems. Also be on the alert for gasping or shortness of breath.

Itchy, flaky skin – The skin is a good barometer of health. It should be smooth and either pink or black, with no lumps. Persistent itching or dermatitis could indicate an allergy, possibly to flea allergy dermatitis.

Weight changes – Is your dog looking thinner than usual? Progressive weight loss – or gain – over a few weeks could be a sign that something’s wrong.

Generally lethargic Tail droopy, increased sleeping, skulking in corners or not interested in his favourite game? You know your friend. Even if there’s nothing obviously wrong, a trip to the vet could be in order.

What to Do:

Your relationship with your dog means you’re a good judge of his moods, habits and health. If you’re ever unsure, don’t hesitate to call your vet.

Dr Lisa Chimes' Vet tips 

  • Knowing the signs of sickness is crucial
  • Keep an eye on bodily functions like appetite, urination or passing faeces
  • Your dog’s skin is a key indicator of health
  • Don’t forget his teeth
  • Can’t put your finger on it? Ask your vet. It’s never a waste of time.

written with help from Dr. Lisa Chimes.  

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by Lerida Grant with Dr Lisa Chimes and Dr Joanne Righetti