Frequent warning signs of illness

Frequent warning signs of illness

Changes in your dog’s attitude, energy and behaviour could be indicators of illness.

Below are some of the more common warnings signs of general illness. However, it is important you don’t use this information to diagnose your dog yourself. If your dog displays any of the warning signs below you should call your vet.

Call the vet immediately if your puppy displays any of these signs. A puppy’s immune system isn’t as strong as that of an adult dog, and his condition could worsen quickly.

Pain indictors:

  • Reluctance to move
  • Abnormally heavy panting
  • Laboured breathing
  • Withdrawn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased body temperature
  • Lethargy or restlessness

Digestive concerns:

  • Vomiting (with or without blood or pain)
  • Loose stool (without blood, bad odour or dark colour)
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Drooling
  • Depression
  • Excessive water intake
  • No desire to eat or drink for 24 hours while not acting well

Respiratory concerns:

  • Heavy panting
  • Rapid or noisy breathing
  • Reluctance to move
  • Bluish or purplish mucous membrane colour
  • Significant coughing with or without nasal discharge
  • Laboured breathing indicated by increased respiratory effort - often the abdomen move in or out heavily as the dog is trying to inhale.

Skin concerns:

  • Red, scaled, greasy, crusty or scabby area on the skin, nose or foot
  • Skin odour
  • Painful, red, hot, crusty, and/or oozing bumps
  • Rash
  • Abnormally heavy shedding
  • Hair loss
  • Scratching or chewing at spots
  • Bruising or red dots on skin
  • External nosebleed without trauma

Neurological concerns:

  • Paralysis
  • Dragging a limb or limping for more than 24 hours
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Pain when touched
  • Refusing to play or walk
  • Lethargy
  • Changes in vision
  • Shallow breathing without exertion
  • Weakness in limbs
  • Walking hunched over
  • Walking “knuckled over” (dog’s paws do not flip back up into position when walking)

Urinary tract concerns:

  • Inability to urinate
  • Urinating less frequently or more often than usual
  • Blood in urine
  • Straining to urinate
  • Crying while trying to urinate
  • Swollen testicles or scrotum

Joint concerns:

  • Reluctance to move
  • Seems pained when moving
  • Difficulty walking, getting up or lying down
  • Wobbly joints
  • Swollen joints
  • Limping

Indicates ear concerns

  • Odour
  • Redness
  • Pain to the touch
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Shaking the head
  • Scratching at the ears
  • Rubbing the ears on the ground
  • Bleeding from the ears
  • A puffy swelling of the ear flap (it looks like a pillow)
  • Reluctant to have the ears scratched or being petted around the ears

Eye concerns:

  • Yellow or green discharge (whitish-grey colour is usually normal)
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Red or bloodshot eyes
  • Inability to open lids
  • Blindness
  • Shying away from being touched around the face, especially near the eyes
  • Difference in pupil size from one eye to the other
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Increased blinking
  • Pawing at the eyes and/or rubbing the face on the ground

Cognitive concerns:

  • Staring into space
  • Vocalizing at the wall or door
  • Decreased hearing
  • Inability to recognise owner
  • Increased sleep, especially during times when the dog is normally awake
  • Waking up at night
  • Inappropriate urinating in the house
  • Forgetting where the food and water bowls are
  • Forgetting that he just had a meal and seeming to want more than usual
  • Restlessness

Anal problems:

  • Scooting, dragging his bum on the floor
  • Blood in stool
  • Change in poop consistency and colour
  • Pain or reluctance to be touched near the tail
  • Frequent licking of the anal area
  • Swelling on either side of the anal area (inside or outside)
  • Dog jumps to check his bum, as if he’s been bitten or stung