As any dog owner knows, it can be difficult to tell when your dog isn’t feeling well. The best thing you can do for your dog, and yourself, is to schedule annual checkups with your vet so he or she can get an overall picture of your dog’s health. But if you notice certain warning signs in between visits, you should bring your dog in immediately—most common illnesses are treatable if caught early enough, but that becomes more difficult the longer it takes to see the vet. Here are 10 signs that suggest your dog needs to be checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
1) Does he have difficulty walking?
Dogs typically walk on all fours, but when they have difficulty standing or walking, their legs may be splayed out to the sides. Check for a stumbling gait, a reduced ability to balance, or a reluctance to move forward. If you notice any of these symptoms in your pup, it’s time for a trip to the veterinarian.
2) Is he acting differently than usual?
Dogs can show a few different symptoms when they are not feeling well. Sometimes, they will act differently than usual. If you notice that your pup is starting to avoid going for walks, seems lethargic, has a fever or lower appetite it could be time to call the vet.
3) Does his skin feel rough?
If a pet’s skin feels rough, you may have to start thinking about what might be causing it. Mange in dogs, for example, can cause their skin to feel dry and itchy. If your dog’s skin feels like this, he may need medicated shampoo or a visit with the veterinarian.
4) Is he using less energy?
One of the most common symptoms of a dog that’s not feeling well is a lack of energy. If you’re noticing that your pup is lacking in his usual pep, it might be time for a visit with the vet.
This could be because he has an illness or injury. When dogs are hurt or ill, they often don’t want to move around as much because it hurts or they feel weak. Losing energy can also be a sign of old age.
5) Has his appetite decreased?
One of the ways to tell if a dog is sick or not feeling well is if he has lost his appetite. If they are not eating, they may have an underlying medical condition such as heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, or hyperthyroidism. In addition, if you notice a change in their stool type (from soft stools that are easy to pass to firm stools that are difficult) this could be an indicator of a serious illness like pancreatitis.
6) Are his ears, face, or head redder than normal?
If his ears, face, or head are redder than normal, it could be due to an allergy or irritation. This can be treated with topical ointments or steroids. There are other causes of red skin as well, such as a bacterial infection or reaction to insect bites. If you notice any other changes in behavior like decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, scratching himself excessively on furniture and carpets, shaking his head frequently, or any abnormal discharge from his eyes or nose he should be seen by a veterinarian.
7) Are his eyes more watery or cloudy than usual?
If you notice that his eyes are more watery or cloudy than usual, it could be a sign of an eye infection. It’s important to bring him in for a visit if this symptom becomes persistent, because untreated eye infections can lead to blindness.
8) Does he seem depressed or inactive?
These are some of the most common symptoms of illness in dogs. If you notice any of these, it may be a good idea to take your pet in for a checkup.
Did he lose weight? Is he lethargic? Does he have a fever? Is his appetite off? Are there any wounds or cuts that don’t seem to heal properly? Has her hair fallen out or are patches missing? Does she refuse meals or water despite being hungry and thirsty?
9) Is he still eating but not gaining weight?
If your pup still wants to eat but you can tell he’s not gaining weight, it could be a sign that there’s an underlying issue. Dogs will lose weight for various reasons, such as being on a restrictive diet or eating too fast, but if you’ve been feeding him the same way for months and his weight isn’t changing, it might be time to get him checked out by a professional.
10) Is there anything else unusual you’ve noticed about him lately?
One day while I was out of town, my neighbor’s dog came over to my house. My other dogs were all excited because they hadn’t seen him in a long time. They ran up to him, sniffed him for a few minutes, then started licking his face. But he wouldn’t let them come near him and he just kept backing up until he hit the wall behind him. He didn’t want anything to do with any of them or their kisses.