Have you ever looked at your pet and wondered if her behavior warrants a trip to the vet.  Below is a compilation of symptoms that could indicate a problem.

Early Warning Signs of Illness: the Basics
The following signs of illness can indicate potentially serious problems. If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, you should call your veterinarian for a consultation:

  • She seems tired or sluggish.
  • She has trouble urinating or she’s urinating more than usual.
  • She’s dragging or scooting her rear on the floor. She may have worms, her anal glands might be blocked, or she might have kidney disease or diabetes.
  • She’s drinking a lot more water than usual.
  • She refuses to eat for more than two days.
  • She eats a lot but is losing weight.
  • She’s drooling a lot. She might have tooth or gum problems, or she could have gotten into something poisonous.
  • Her gums are red or swollen.
  • Her eyes are cloudy or red, she’s squinting, or has a lot of discharge from her eye.
  • She’s gasping or short of breath.
  • She flinches or whimpers when she’s touched.
  • She has any kind of lump on her body.
  • She vomits, gags, repeatedly. Vomiting is the most common symptom, and can indicate a variety of problems: food allergies, parasites, intestinal disorders, poisoning, diabetes, kidney disease. Occasional vomiting may just mean the dog ate something that didn’t agree with him, but frequent or consistent vomiting should be checked out, especially if the dog also has a fever with diarrhea and is losing weight.
  • Her coat is rough or dull.
  • She is unspayed and has a vaginal discharge.
  • She coughs or vomits up blood.
  • She has a temperature over 103 degrees.

The following signs of illness can indicate very serious problems. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your dog to the vet immediately:

  • She’s dehydrated. Pinch the skin at the back of her neck. If it doesn’t return back in place quickly, she might be dehydrated. Another sign of dehydration is dry or tacky gums.
  • Her gums are pale, white, or blue.
  • She can not urinate.
  • She faints or collapses.
  • She has a seizure or convulsion.
  • She becomes overheated.
  • Her abdomen is enlarged. She might have a gastric torsion (a twist in her stomach), mammary tumor, heart or liver disease, peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal lining), or pyometra (uterine infection).
  • She’s unable to use her back legs.

You know your pet the best and can pick up on some of the nuances of behavior that are out of the ordinary. If you are ever in doubt call your family veterinarian.  If it is after hours and any of the signs of illness from the bottom list are present get your animal to an emergency vet hospital as quickly as possible.