For most dog owners, the four-legged friend is truly a part of the family. They eat our leftovers, accompany us when we go for walks, relax with us while we watch television, and also often sleep in our beds. However, unlike the humans in your household, your dog can’t talk, which means that they can’t complain when they feel unwell. This means that it’s up to you to spot when your pooch needs to see the vet. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know when this is necessary. To help you take care of your pet, here are twelve signs you need to watch out for.
1. Change In Eating Habits
It’s not out of the ordinary for a dog to skip a meal or two now and then, especially throughout the summer when it’s quite hot outside. However, if your pooch has been avoiding their food for two days or more, it’s a clear sign that something is off with them. A lack of appetite can be a symptom of a number of problems, from certain diseases to dental issues. Eating more than usual or trying to eat garbage is also a red flag that requires examination by a vet.
2. Sudden Loss Of Weight
Whether your pooch is overweight or not, a sudden loss of weight is not a good sign. You may be trying to help your pet shed some extra fat, but if they do so too quickly, it can indicate a serious health problem. For this reason, it’s vital that you check your dog’s weight on a regular basis. If it ever drops by more than ten percent in only a short space of time, you’ll want to bring it up with your vet. For smaller breeds, this weight can seem insignificant, being as little as a few pounds.
3. Trying To Hide Away
Every animal is different, with some preferring to spend time alone and others loving the company of their human companions. If your dog is normally quite friendly and sociable, but suddenly starts going off by itself and hiding away, it can be a bad sign. This need to hide could be related to a number of problems, from stress to illness or even injury. When your dog is hiding, make sure you coax it out as gently as possible. This is to avoid any further trouble.
4. Random Acts Of Aggression
Just like us humans, all dogs can get grouchy at times. However, there’s a major difference between being a little bit moody and being overly aggressive. Rather than punishing your normally loving dog for their sudden angry behaviour, you should try to find out if there is a reason. More often than not, this aggression is a sign that your dog is in pain, whether it be from an illness or injury. This is especially true if your pet gets angry when you try to touch it.
5. Sleeping Longer Than Usual
Although dogs can sleep for quite a long time, they shouldn’t be napping for most of the day like cats do. Instead, they should be active and energetic, with a strong desire to play and go for walks with you. For this reason, lethargy is a clear indicator that something is troubling your four-legged friend. Sore muscles and short periods of fatigue are normal and can be due to warm weather. However, if symptoms persist for more than two days, you should see your vet.
6. Dry Or Rough Coat
A dog’s coat, regardless of its breed, should be shiny, soft, and thick. If you’ve noticed that your pet’s coat has changed and become dry, rough, or dull, or has bald patches, then something could be wrong. A number of different things can trigger this symptom, from the wrong kind of food to a skin disease. However, regardless of the culprit, the issue is serious, so a trip to the vet is a must. This gives you a better chance at finding the problem and putting it right.
7. Drinking More Than Normal
As a responsible dog owner, you must keep an eye on how much water your dog drinks each day. This is because a dog that suddenly wants to drink more water could be developing health problems, like diabetes or kidney disease. You’ll know that your dog is drinking more than usual if you have to top up their water bowl more frequently or if they need to go outside more often. Ensure you make a note when your dog drinks excessively and speak to a vet if it continues.
8. Throwing Up More Frequently
Occasional vomiting is nothing to worry about in dogs and could just mean your pet is trying to get rid of something that doesn’t really agree with them. That being said, there are some instances where vomiting should concern you. For example, if your pet is vomiting quite frequently or has done so several times in a row. You must also contact your vet if the vomit contains blood. Vomiting can cause other issues, so it should be dealt with quickly.
9. Different Colour Of Gums
Unless they were born with black ones, your dog’s gums should be quite pink. Any change in colour here could show your pet to be sick or injured. White gums, for instance, indicate a loss of blood, while red ones are a sign of dental problems. Gum disease and other oral issues can also be spotted by bad breath in dogs. If you’ve noticed your dog’s breath has become excessively stinky recently, you should speak to a professional, especially if gum colour has changed too.
10. Dragging The Rear End
Scooting or dragging of the rear end could just be your dog’s way of tackling an itch or messing around. However, it can also be a sign of something much worse. From worms to blocked anal glands, this behaviour can show that something isn’t right with your pet. To be sure, you can take a look at your dog’s stool. This is often a good indicator of a canine’s overall health. If you spot worms, blood, or mucus in this stool or see a different consistency, a vets visit is a good idea.
11. Red Or Cloudy Eyes
A dog’s eyes are supposed to be bright and clear. Anything different to this could indicate an injury or infection. Specific symptoms to watch out for include red or cloudy eyes, excessive discharge, and squinting. Eye problems and diseases can progress quite quickly, causing eyesight issues and even blindness. To prevent this, you must tackle the issue as soon as you can by booking an appointment with your vet right away.
12. Signs Of An Emergency
While all of the symptoms above can be serious, there are some that always need immediate professional help. These are known as emergency symptoms and should be dealt with right away. These problems include difficulty breathing, open wounds, seizures, sudden collapse, a swollen abdomen, and extreme pain, which can be seen as shaking or whining. If your usual vet isn’t open when these symptoms are displayed, you should contact an emergency clinic instead.
Knowing when something is wrong with your pet isn’t always easy. However, they don’t have the power to speak up and tell you that they feel unwell. As a responsible dog owner, it is up to you to spot the signs yourself and take the appropriate action. Hopefully, with the advice above, you’ll find this a little easier in future.