The Symptoms of dog illness can be difficult to notice. When do you know your dog is sick?

What are the symptoms of dog illness? Nothing tugs at my heart strings more, or makes me feel more helpless, than a sick child. Right after that on my personal helpless list is when my faithful dog companion is ill.

My first dog, given to me by my parents when I was five years old, was my best friend for eighteen years. Many a night as a child I crawled onto his dog blanket and slept with him when he wasn’t feeling well, and the day he died was an incredibly sad day. Any of you who have raised children and had dogs as pets can testify that when either of them are ill it is readily apparent if you are tuned into the small signs.

Dogs are susceptible to many of the same illnesses as a human being; the only difference between the two is a person can speak and tell you when they aren’t feeling well. A dog, though unable to verbalize, does exhibit symptoms of dog illness that are pretty obvious if you know what to look for. The major roadblock in spotting these symptoms is the fact that dogs are loyal and faithful and will try instinctively to mask the fact that they are ill because they so crave your attention. Do not be fooled; rely on your intimate knowledge of your canine and be on the lookout for various “signs” that your dog is ill.

To list all of the symptoms of dog illness would take more space than I am allotted in this article. Some are very obvious, like bloody stool, bloody urine, diarrhea, lameness, excessive scratching, and vomiting. I should note, however, that the aforementioned symptoms are only obvious if you, the owner, witness them, and many times days will pass before an owner notices bloody stool or vomiting.

Other symptoms of dog illness are not nearly as obvious; appetite gain, constipation, excessive scratching, peculiar odor, these are things a typical owner may notice but think nothing about for days. As stated earlier, your faithful companion will oftentimes try to act normal in an effort to please you and gain your affection and attention, thus effectively hiding some symptoms of illness.

After years of raising dogs I have found that the most effective way of telling if my dog is ill is to trust my instincts. More than anyone else, I know the daily habits and routines of my pet. I know when he is off his feed; I know when he is less active or acting more aggressive. Little signs that most people would think nothing of should be obvious to a dog owner who loves their dog. Once you notice a change in the behavior of your dog, monitor closely to see if this is just an anomaly or a sign of actual illness. As the number one advocate for your dog, it’s up to you to be vigilante, attentive, and pro-active to assure that your pet stays happy and healthy.

Contributing Author - Bill Holland

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