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How Do I Know If My Dog is Sick?

sick dog

We often talk about specific illnesses but what about general signs that your dog might be sick? These symptoms are important to know so you can keep your dog safe and take the appropriate actions.

Danger Signs


If your dog has diarrhea that lasts for more than 2 days there is a problem. If there is blood in their diarrhea you should call the vet immediately. If you see mucus in their diarrhea you should call the vet.


If your dog is vomiting repeatedly you need to take them to the vet. If they are gagging a lot there could be a problem.

Sneezing or Coughing

Sneezing or coughing could be seasonal allergies or signs of an infection. If the cough is hacking or causing them to gag or vomit, there is a problem. If they are sneezing and coughing for more than a week, you may want to call your vet. If the sneezing or coughing is happening along with other symptoms you need to take him to the vet.

Not Eating

Your dog’s appetite is a big signpost for how they are feeling. If it has been more than 24 hours since your dog has eaten, you need to call the vet.

Excessive Thirst

If your dog is drinking way more than usual this could be a sign of kidney failure or a serious infection.

Excessive Urination

If your dog is peeing way more than usual, they need to see the vet.

Red or swollen gums

Red or swollen gums can be caused by gum disease but can also be associated with other illness and should be evaluated.

Difficulty urinating

If your dog yelps when peeing, is peeing with a hunched back or there is blood in the urine there is likely an infection.

Runny eyes or nose
Many dogs have runny eyes and noses but these can be a sign of respiratory problems. Pay attention for gasping or shortness of breath.

Itchy, flaking skin

Itchy and flaky skin can be a sign of fleas, allergies, or infection. The big risk is that the itching can become sores. You may want to speak to your doctor about the source of this itching and treat that before it becomes a bigger health problem.

Weight Loss or Weight Gain

If your dog has sudden drastic weight loss, or weight loss consistently over two to four weeks they need to see the vet. Sudden or consistent weight loss or gain, when nothing else is changing in their diet or exercise, is a big flag of a health issue.


Not all issues are clear cut. Sometimes your dog just gets tired or starts not acting like themselves. Sometimes they just look unwell. If this persists, then you will want to bring your dog to the vet.

If at any time you are concerned about your dogs well being it is a good idea to call your vet. Better safe than sorry!