Subtle signs your dog might be feeling poorly

It can be distressing when you feel like something isn’t right with your dog. When you can’t communicate but you can clearly tell that they’re not feeling like his or her usual self, it’s normal to start worrying about their health.

While protecting your dog’s health and seeking the correct treatment is part of your responsibility as an owner, it’s important not to get preoccupied or misinformed. And since almost one in three UK households owns a dog, spreading awareness is important too.

Whether you’re new to owning a dog or adding another member to the pack this year, it’s always worth knowing some of the crystal-clear signs of illness. When your dog needs to see a vet, it’s vital to act sooner rather than later.

How do you know if your dog is ill?
Knowing how to spot basic signs of illness can vary depending on the type of dog you have. In addition to their size and sex, a dog’s temperament could determine how it behaves and acts when it’s not feeling very well. For specific guidance on your dog’s breed, it’s always a good idea to contact their breeder or a qualified veterinarian.

A few types of unusual behaviour to look out for include:

Resting more than usual.
Lethargy indicates that your dog has a lack of energy, so you should always try to notice when your dog isn’t as interested in the daily walk. They might also be unwilling to play or follow their usual daily routines. If they’ve been excessively sleepy for more than a day or two, it’s time to see the vet.

Excessive thirst.
If your dog seems more thirsty than usual or is urinating more or less than they usually do, there could be an underlying health issue. While it could be as simple as dehydration, it could also point to a urinary tract infection or even something more serious. It’s one of the tell-tale signs of canine Cushing’s Syndrome, which can be successfully treated with medication. Keep an eye on your dog’s drinking habits to make sure they’re healthy.

Vomiting and upset tummy.
It’s a clear sign that something is not quite right if your dog is being sick or has diarrhoea. Occasionally and especially in puppies is normal for a dog to have a quick bout of an upset stomach and feel better the next day.

But if your dog has been being sick repetitively still isn’t feeling better after a couple of days, it’s time to visit your vets. And if your he or she seems unable to move in addition to the symptoms, you should visit an emergency vet straight away.

Unusual behaviour.
If your dog is acting differently to usual, it could mean that they’re not feeling very well. For example, sudden changes from being an affectionate but to acting easily irritated, this could be a sign that your dog is in pain.

Your dog might also be crying, barking or whining more than usual if they’re in pain. Sometimes, it can be easy to confuse a dog in pain with one that’s simply being naughty. Don’t immediately correct a certain behaviour if you’re not sure why your dog has started doing it.

It’s always better to catch on to your dog’s illness as early as possible. They can’t tell you how they’re feeling, so it’s up to you to spot the early signs when something’s not quite right. Even if your dog is healthy now, knowing what to look out for could potentially be lifesaving in the future.

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