Like the human members of your family, your canine companion can become sick. Unlike humans, he can’t tell you about it. Just because your dog can’t talk though, that doesn’t mean he can’t let you know something isn’t right. Here’s how to tell your dog isn’t feeling well and what you can do to help him feel better.
Signs Your Dog is Sick
Just like people, dogs can face many different health issues. Even the healthiest dogs get sick from time to time. Several different signs can point to a problem.
Changes in Behavior
While your dog can’t say out loud that he isn’t feeling well, illnesses and injuries can cause changes in his behavior. A normally social dog may start isolating himself or acting shy. He may growl or become aggressive. Your dog may sleep more than normal. Some dogs seek more attention when they aren’t feeling well.
Some illnesses can cause respiratory problems. Your dog may wheeze or cough. He might have a runny nose. You may notice that his breathing is labored or he’s panting a lot more than usual. If you notice difficulty breathing, be sure to check your dog’s gums and tongue to make sure they aren’t turning blue.
If your dog is sick, he may not feel like eating. He may not finish all of his food or ignore his bowl altogether. He may also start vomiting or have diarrhea.
Sometimes, illnesses can cause physical changes in your dog. You might notice unusual dogs eye discharge, lumps on his body, or that his skin is dry and itchy. He may start shaking his head a lot more than usual.
It’s not always easy to tell the exact cause of your dog’s illness, even when you note all of his symptoms. To find out what’s making your dog sick, the best course of action is to schedule an appointment with your vet. The vet will go over your dog’s symptoms and perform a thorough examination to determine the cause of the illness and the best course of action.
Diagnosing an illness may include:
- Going over your dog’s symptoms.
- Performing a thorough physical examination.
- Laboratory work (blood tests, urinalysis, fecal examination).
- Diagnostic imaging (X-rays, ultrasound, CAT scans).
Treating Your Dog
Once your vet has determined the cause of your dog’s illness, he or she can then advise you of the best course of action to take. In some cases, your vet may recommend that you let your dog rest and make sure that he is drinking plenty of water. The vet may also recommend feeding foods that are going to be easy on his stomach, such as chicken and rice. In some cases, you may be recommended to change your dog’s diet altogether.
With other types of illnesses, such as an infection, your vet may prescribe antibiotics. These may be topical or oral and should only be given as prescribed. The medications are designed to combat the illness and get your dog back to feeling like himself again.
Some chronic conditions may require your dog to take medication long-term. The medication helps to manage the symptoms so that your dog can remain comfortable and get back to his normal self. In certain cases, the best course of action may be surgery.
Depending upon the illness, there may be several treatment options for your dog. Your vet will go over all of your options and discuss the pros and cons of each. In some cases, you may need to try a few different treatments before you find one that works best for your dog. Working together with your vet, you can help get your dog back to normal.
When your dog isn’t feeling well, your vet can help you to get to the bottom of the issue. In addition to diagnosing your pup, your vet can advise the best course of action to get him on the path to feeling better.