Dogs are a man’s best friend, but they can also be finicky. This is especially true when it comes to their health and well-being. Dogs get sick just like people do, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for it can be difficult to tell the difference between an illness and a symptom of something else. That is why in this article we will go over some of the most common signs that your dog might have gotten sick, as well as how to deal with them at home before seeking medical attention from your veterinarian.
Signs Your Dog is Sick
Dogs can get sick for many reasons, such as exposure to the elements, parasites like fleas or ticks, ingesting a toxin (such as something they found on their walk), and more. The following are some of the most common symptoms that may indicate your dog is ill:
- Change in appetite
If your dog is exhibiting these symptoms, it may be sick! If the animal does not improve in appearance and appetite within 24 hours, always consult with your veterinarian.
Keep Them Hydrated
Every animal needs to stay hydrated. If your animal is sick, it may not want to drink water. Try mixing some chicken broth or warm water with a little bit of honey and see if they will have any interest in that!
However, if you notice that the dog has been vomiting their food or unable to keep food down for more than 24 hours, consult with veterinary medical care immediately. Signs of dehydration in a dog include dry mouth, dry nose, sunken eyes, and decreased urination.
In severe cases of dehydration, the animal may start to shiver or tremble due to low body temperature. If you notice this happening, it is CRITICAL that veterinary medical care be sought immediately because your dog could go into shock.
Separate Them from Other Pets
A sick dog should be separated from other pets. If you have a dog that is not sick, do your best to keep them away from the sick one so they don’t catch anything.
If there are any open wounds, make sure they are treated and kept clean as well. It is also important to disinfect their bedding or crate with diluted bleach to prevent the spread of illness.
If the dog is vomiting, make sure they are not dehydrated and that there is not anything lodged in their throat or mouth before feeding them any food.
The types of illnesses that can pass from dog to dog include kennel cough, leptospirosis, coronavirus, and parvovirus.
Provide a Safe Place for Them to Rest
A sick dog will not feel itself. They need a safe place to rest where they can feel comfortable and not be disturbed. If you are unable to provide that, it’s best to take them to the veterinary clinic for treatment.
If your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea, do not let them lie on any surfaces because this will make things worse. They should have their own bedding for comfort and so that you can wash it easily, if needed.
Call Your Vet
If your dog is exhibiting these critical symptoms, take them to the vet immediately:
- Unusual vomiting and/or diarrhea for a dog that is not typically sick or has never had these symptoms before.
- Loss of appetite over many days.
- If they are vomiting what looks like black tar or coffee grounds may indicate there is blood in their digestive tract. This could indicate internal bleeding from the stomach lining.
- A deep wound or not bearing weight on their legs. This might be a sign of a broken bone.
If It is After Business Hours, Find an Emergency Vet Service
Emergency vet services might be able to offer you a diagnosis and treatment advice. You should take your dog to the emergency vet if their symptoms are caused by an illness. It might not need emergency care, but you can’t wait until opening hours.
Also, a deep wound may require immediate medical attention like being splinted or bandaged up to avoid infection or shock. These kinds of issues require immediate medical attention.
A note on cost: emergency vet services might be expensive, depending on the severity of your dog’s illness. The cost for an emergency vet visit can range from $150 to $500. Be sure to bring a credit card or your pet insurance card if you are worried about the cost.
Trust Your Gut Instinct
Not sure if your dog is sick? Trust your instincts. If you think they might have a fever, itchy skin, drooling more than normal, or not eating for a few days then those are symptoms that your dog could be sick. Do not wait on something because you aren’t sure. Just seek medical attention to confirm your theory and then treat accordingly.