Your dog has held onto certain instincts for thousands of years, including the instinct to hide any sign of illness. Showing weakness in the wild could be disastrous, so it’s understandable why this instinct still remains today. Unfortunately, it makes our jobs as pet parents difficult, as it can be hard to figure out when our dogs are sick. The following are some of the warning signs that you can use to identify potential dog illnesses that may require veterinary care:
1. Changes to eating and drinking habits
It may not be unusual for your dog to skip a meal occasionally, but skipping a meal for two or more days may be a sign that something is amiss.
Changes in your dog’s drinking habits can also be an indicator of illness, and it may be easier for you to notice these changes by observing urination habits. Increased urination can be a sign of kidney disease or diabetes.
2. Your dog’s coat is an indicator of health
Your dog’s coat should be thick and shiny-looking. If you begin to see changes in your dog’s coat, it could be a sign something wrong. It could be food-related, a sign of systemic disease, or it may be due to the presence of fleas. It may also be a skin issue, but regardless of the cause, it deserves your family veterinarian’s attention.
3. Look out for lethargy
Lethargy is one of the most vague symptoms of dog illness, but it is an important one nonetheless. All dogs have varying energy levels, so what you really should be looking out for is a change in the level of energy your dog exhibits. If he/she shows disinterest in favorite activities and would rather lie around for hours on end, it may be a sign of a larger issue. If you see this pattern for more than two days, it is time to talk to your family veterinarian about what may be causing the problem.
4. Vomiting should always heighten alertness
If your dog is vomiting, schedule an exam with your family veterinarian to get to the root of the problem. Vomiting has many possible causes, some of which are serious. Contacting your veterinarian at the first sign of illness can help limit the progression and impact of many problems.
5. Stool, of course
Before you pick up your dog’s stool, take a moment to observe it. It should be moist and firm. If the stool is dry and hard, then your dog may not be getting enough water, which is a sign of a potential health issue. Like vomiting, diarrhea has many different causes. If your dog produces abnormal stool for more than a day, contact your family veterinarian to discuss the issue, especially if other symptoms are present.