Irrespective of a dog’s age, the owner plays a major role in helping her remain healthy and combat illness. A dog cannot describe symptoms to the owner but can show signs of disease. Being aware of the signs of the most common ailments is one way of helping reduce a dog’s risk of being affected by them. Below are signs that a dog may be ill.

Diarrhea and Vomiting

Often, dogs vomit occasionally without being seriously ill. However, when a dog vomits several times a day, lacks appetite and acts lethargic, it needs a vet’s attention. Another serious sign of illness is vomiting digested blood that has the appearance of coffee grounds. Bloody vomit can be caused by gastric ulcers or swallowing foreign objects that irritate the stomach. There are many other causes of diarrhea or vomiting, such as gastrointestinal illnesses or parasite infections like roundworms, hookworms, giardia or whipworms.

Lack of Appetite or Inactivity

These two symptoms in dogs are vague, but a veterinarian should be consulted if they persist. Dogs stop eating due to several reasons such as fever, stress or pain. An absent or reduced appetite is a reason to take a pet to the vet, particularly if it goes on for more than 24 hours. A drop in energy levels can be caused by many things, including major problems like heart disease.

Excessive or Less Frequent Urinating

Excessive urinating and thirst might spell diabetes. However, increased urination can also signal kidney, liver or adrenal gland disease. With an increase in urination, housebroken dogs may begin wetting in the house. A pet that sleeps through the night can suddenly increase the frequency of nocturnal bathroom trips. The owner may also notice that the pet is filling the water bowl more often. On the other hand, straining to urinate or little urinate is a signal of bladder stones or urinary tract problem.


Coughing is among the pet symptoms that need to undergo evaluation, particularly if it is persistent. Chronic coughing can be a sign of heartworms, heart disease or lung diseases. A dog may suffer from kennel cough, which is an infectious tracheobronchitis capable of causing a hacking, harsh cough. Kennel cough for most dogs is just a mild nuisance that disappear within a few days. In the case of puppies, kennel cough can lead to fatal pneumonia.

Kennel cough can also be more serious for dog breeds that have pushed-in faces like bulldogs, Boston terriers and boxers. Their respiratory systems can be compromised by their odd head anatomy, resulting in breathing difficulties. A dog or puppy with kennel cough may be getting pneumonia if it develops more serious signs such as nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite or a productive cough. Any cough that lasts for sometime should be brought to a vet’s attention. However, pet owners can vaccinate their dogs against the organisms that lead to kennel cough. The owner should also tell a veterinary doctor about discharge from the ears, eyes or nose, as well as persistent sneezing.

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