Unlike your kids, your dog can’t tell you when he's sick ... so it’s smart to know what signs and symptoms to look out for. Just like us, dogs can sometimes feel under the weather, so don’t panic when your dog isn’t his normal lively self. Be informed and be vigilant.
My Dog Has a Dry Nose; Is He Sick?
The inside of the canine nose is typically covered with a layer of mucus. This mucus helps him trap scents. A dry nose isn’t always a sign that your dog is sick; it can be due to the weather, your dog’s hydration level or even just because he’s been sniffing around in the soil. However, if a dry nose is accompanied by nasal discharge, sneezing, obvious irritation or wheezing, there could be a problem. Typical causes include infection, allergies, foreign bodies, trauma and in some cases cancer. Consult your vet if the symptoms persist.
Why Is My Dog Scratching?
Common causes of persistent scratching include allergies, dermatitis and parasites. Inspect your dog to identify possible causes of scratching. If you spot little black specks on his skin, he may have fleas. If he has red scaly patches, he may have dermatitis. If the scratching is accompanied by fur loss, your dog may have mange.
Why Does My Dog Shake His Head?
Head-shaking is often a response to irritation in the ear canal typically caused by a parasite, infection or debris. Inspect his ears and look out for signs of inflammation, discoloration and discharge. Your dog’s inner ears should be pale pink. If you detect an unpleasant odor, your dog may have an infection, so consult a vet.
Why Won’t My Dog Eat?
When investigating a loss of appetite, start with the mouth. Bad breath could point to a dental problem that is causing pain. Other causes include reaction to recent vaccination, stomach pain caused by degenerative illness, infection or cancer, and liver problem. It’s not uncommon for dogs to go off their food occasionally, but consult your vet if symptoms persist for more than two days.
Why Is My Dog Always Thirsty?
Excessive thirst can be a sign of kidney infection or dehydration. When coupled with excessive urination, it can be a sign of diabetes.
What Are the Symptoms of Worms?
Parasitic worms cause increased appetite, weight loss and rectal irritation. If your dog has worms, his coat will be dull, he’ll lack energy and you’ll notice a general diminishing of his appearance.
What Is Bloat?
Gastric torsion or bloat is a potentially fatal condition that typically afflicts large, deep-chested breeds like Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Rottweilers. It is caused when the dog's stomach fills with gas after eating too quickly. The stomach then twists, which causes shock and impedes blood supply. Seek veterinary attention immediately if you think your dog is suffering from bloat.
What Are the Symptoms of Parvovirus?
Th potentially fatal and highly contagious viral infection known as parvo causes vomiting, bloody diarrhea, lethargy and excessive thirst. Consult your vet immediately if you spot these symptoms.
Does My Dog Have Cataracts?
If your dog is bumping into things or is not reacting to movement around him, check his eyes for cataracts. Cataracts give the eye a cloudy, blueish tint and can lead to complete blindness. A dog might be able to notice shadows or movement, but his sight will be compromised.
What Is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough is a generic term for a group of infections that cause inflammation of your dog's windpipe or upper respiratory system. They're viral or bacterial, such as is bordetella. Kennel cough spreads easily among dogs, hence its name. Bordetella is treated with antibiotics; viral kennel cough must run its course. The most common symptom is a distinctive "honking" sound, especially after exercise.
- Purina: Does It Matter if My Dog's Nose Is Wet or Dry?
- RSPCA: Keep Fleas in Check
- WebMD: Dogs and Compulsive Scratching, Licking, and Chewing
- WebMD: Dog Not Eating? Possible Causes and Appetite Solutions
- Pet MD: Increased Urination and Thirst in Dogs
- Web MD: 6 Most Common Dog Health Problems
- University of Florida: Bloat: A Deadly Dog Disorder
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Parvovirus
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Cataracts
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Kennel Cough
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.