Sick as a Dog: Warning Signs Your Pooch is Sick

Sick as a Dog

Warning Signs to Watch for in Your Pooch

Guest Writer: Brooke Chaplan

One thing all dog parents have to deal with at some point is when their pooch gets sick. It is critical to educate yourself about warning signs that can signal illness in your dog so you can be prepared for whatever they throw at you. This post will review some of the most common warning signs that may indicate your dog is not feeling well and how to combat their illness.

Sick as a Dog Warning Signs to Watch for in Your Pooch

Sudden Changes

If you and your pooch are still getting to know one another, you may not be able to get a good “read” on when something has suddenly changed. But if you and your pet have been together at least 12 months, you can look for these changes as common warning signs of an impending illness.

  • Changes in weight
  • Changes in temperament
  • Changes in breathing (rate, gasping, shallowness/heaviness)
  • Increase/decrease in the amount of drinking or eating
  • Changes in urine or feces
  • Changes in the body (including lumps or bumps, skin rash, shedding, et al)

Your dog shouldn’t change too much in temperament with less serious diseases, but if you notice unusual aggressive behavior and biting, it could be a sign of something more serious. Personal injury attorneys, like Arrington Schelin & Munsey PC, who are experienced with cases of dog bites, cite everything from rabies to a lack of exercise as the reason these dogs might act out.

Pale Gums

While this may not be an intuitive place to check for signs of illness, PetCareRx states it is one of the first signs canine vets look for when a dog comes in for treatment. What is most important here is to become aware of what your dog’s gums look like when they are “normal” (i.e. when your dog is healthy).

Once you know what his or her normal gums look like, watch for changes like the following:

  • Yellowish gums
  • Blotchy or red gums
  • Pale gums (approaching skin color or bluish/white)

Changes in gum color or condition can point to anything from anemia to poisoning, liver disease to diabetes, but only a vet can make a certain diagnosis from here.

Swollen Belly

Pets are not immune from the occasional bout with indigestion (especially if they eat something they shouldn’t). But unless you’re a trained professional, you won’t have the necessary skills to know whether your pup is just suffering indigestion or something much worse.

One of the key ways to know it may be time for a visit to the vet is if your dog’s belly gets very swollen. This can indicate worms, allergies, obesity, and many other dangerous health issues.

By learning more about common warning signs in dogs that may indicate illness or disease, you can get your precious pet to the vet much sooner and potentially even save his or her life!

Brooke Chaplan

Sick as a Dog: Warning Signs to Watch for in Your Pooch
written by Guest Author: Brooke Chaplan

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan


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What are some other ways you know your puppy is sick?



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10 thoughts on “Sick as a Dog: Warning Signs Your Pooch is Sick”

  1. My husband and I are considering adopting a dog from a local shelter. We’ve finally moved into a place that is pet-friendly and there’s plenty of room to run around in the backyard. I like how you mentioned that pale gums are one of the first things a vet will look for in determining if your dog is sick. You also make a great point about how noticing what color your dog’s gums are when it’s healthy. If we do adopt a pet, we’ll want to make sure we have a good vet we can go to.

  2. Our dog has been having extreme mood swings lately and we are looking to know if this issue is serious enough to make a visit to the vet. Thank you for informing us of things that occur in a dogs life that do require professional help. We will try to notice if our dog has sudden changes in weight and temperature and from there we will decide if he needs to be taken in.

  3. I appreciate you pointing out that changes in weight is a distinct way to know if your dog needs to see a vet. I think that it is important to pay attention to this detail. I also think that it is important to be able to notice other signs mentioned.

  4. My husband and I have a German Shepard and I am really concerned that he might be sick. He has lost some weight in the last few weeks and he hasn’t been eating. I have tried a few different things like getting a different kind of food but that doesn’t seem to be helping. I am thinking about taking him to see a veterinarian and see if they can diagnose the problem. Thank you for sharing these warning signs!

  5. Wow, I am so glad you brought up the idea of color changing gums. This is something that has never occurred to me before. I want to make sure my dog has the best health care possible. Thanks for the tips.

  6. I really agree with the idea of looking for sudden changes in your dogs behavior, as a sign that he is not doing well. That is so important to look for, even in humans. This article has a lot of great points on what to look for, to prevent a trip to the animal hospital.


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