Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

How do you know when your dog is sick?

Does your dog seem a little 'off' or just not like their usual self? If so you are bound to be wondering if your pup is sick. But how do you know for sure? Below, our Rainbow City vets share some common signs of illness in dogs.

Caring For Your Dog's Health

You love your pup and if they are seeming a little 'off' you are bound to be concerned that they could be sick. If only we could ask our dogs how they are feeling and get a straight answer, but alas it is up to us as pet parents to read the signs and get our dogs the help they need whenever they are feeling ill. But how can you tell if your dog is sick? 

Signs Your Dog Is Sick

Any time your dog is showing behaviors or symptoms that cause you concern, it's time to head to the vet. When it comes to your beloved pet's health it is always best to err on the side of caution, regardless of whether your pup is showing the symptoms listed below.

Some of the most common signs of illness in dogs include:

  • Repeated or recurring vomiting 
  • More than one episode of diarrhea
  • Constipation or straining to pass a bowel movement
  • Increased or decreased urination
  • Blood in urine
  • Straining to urinate
  • Loss of appetite for more than 24 hours
  • Changes in drinking habits (excessive thirst or decreased water consumption)
  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Personality changes, changes in temperament (short-tempered or signs of depression)
  • Breathing difficulties such as coughing, wheezing or labored breathing
  • Relentless scratching or licking
  • Hair loss or bald patches
  • Reluctance to climb stairs
  • Stiffness or difficulties rising up off of the floor
  • Lameness or limping
  • Pawing at eyes, eye discharge, or squinting
  • Pale gums
  • Whimpering or crying
  • Tail between legs, scared demeanor
  • Seizures

If your dog is showing any of the symptoms listed above it is time to call your vet to book an appointment for your pooch. 

If your dog is having breathing difficulties, experiencing repeated seizures, or showing signs of pain, contact your nearest emergency vet for urgent care.

Preventing Sickness in Dogs

There are countless reasons why your dog could get sick, from ingesting toxins to contracting a virus or due to an accident or parasites, which makes preventing illness in dogs tricky at times. That said, there are some simple things that you can do to help reduce your pet's chances of becoming seriously ill.


Keeping your pet's vaccinations up to date offers your dog their best protection against a host of highly contagious, potentially life-threatening conditions such as rabies, parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis, and parainfluenza.

Parasite Protection

Protect your pup with regular parasite prevention to help guard against deadly heartworm disease, Lyme, and other conditions spread by ticks, mosquitos, fleas and more.

Diet & Exercise

Helping your pet to maintain a healthy weight by providing your dog with plenty of exercise and a nutritious diet can help to prevent kidney and heart diseases, joint pain and more.

Routine Pet Checkups

Take your dog for regular checkups once or twice a year, even if your dog seems perfectly healthy. Routine checkups provide your vet with an opportunity to help prevent illness and to spot the early signs of developing conditions. Most serious conditions are most successfully treated when detected in the earliest stages.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you think your dog is sick your vet can help. Contact Central Valley Animal Hospital today to book an examination for your pooch or contact your nearest emergency vet for urgent care.

New Patients Welcome

Central Valley Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Rainbow City companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Contact (256) 442-2542