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How to Tell if Your Dog Is Sick: 5 Major Signs Something Is Wrong

Dogs may be able to speak English in movies, but in real life, they can’t communicate with us when something is wrong. However, they are very expressive and can often indicate that all is not well when they’re feeling sick. There are often several telltale signs to help you find out how to tell if your dog is sick.

Below, we list several of the most common warning signs and when it’s worth getting them checked out by a veterinarian.

How to Tell If Your Dog Is Sick: They’re Throwing Up or Have Bad Diarrhea

Like humans, vomiting and diarrhea are both common signs that your furry friend is feeling unwell. However, consistency here is what’s more critical. If they have a bad stool or just throw up once, it’s likely that just ate something that didn’t sit well with them. If they have more than one episode of this, chances are that they need professional medical attention.

They Aren’t Eating Their Food (Loss of Appetite)

This one may be harder to spot, but if your pup isn’t feeling good, they may be avoiding eating their food. As each dog has their own type of appetite when it comes to food. Some dogs eat more, others tend to eat less. In any case, keep a watchful eye on them and if they’re either avoiding their food or only have a few bites it’s a good indication something is wrong.

If they don’t eat for more than a day, book an appointment with a vet near you.

Sick dog at Kelowna vet

They’re Drinking More (or Less) Water Than Usual

Just like eating, it’s a good idea to check in on your pet’s water-drinking habits if they’re going overboard on their water or haven’t had a sip. Drinking too little can indicate they’re not feeling well and drinking too much water can indicate that your pet has a fever, hormone issues, diabetes, or kidney disease.

If you’re noticing this is a persistent issue, or particularly if they’re not drinking or eating, book an appointment with a Kelowna vet.

They’re Having Issues Breathing

While some breeds like pugs, Shih Tzus, and bulldogs generally have issues breathing due to their face shape, all dogs can get breathing problems. In some cases, it may just be mucus build-up, but it may also be more problematic like a cold or kennel cough. If you hear honking when they breathe it could be a sign of severe issues, especially in smaller breeds and they need to be taken to see a vet immediately.

If your dog has breathing issues that are more than just a stray cough, take them right away to see a vet as soon as you’re able to see one as it could be life-threatening.

They’re Suddenly More Aggressive or Lash Out (Or the Opposite)

If your dog is suddenly snapping or growling without reason when you try to pet them or won’t let you near them, they could be sick. They may not be able to let us know how they’re feeling, but they can display personality traits that are unlike their usual selves.

The same goes if they’re unusually lethargic, withdrawn, or low energy when they usually are bounding around the house wanting to play.

Any signs of sudden changes are a good reason to watch for any of the other issues mentioned, and if they continue, see a vet.

Overall, if you’re ever unsure if your dog is sick, book an appointment with a local veterinarian and they’ll be able to treat your pet if they need treating.



If your dog seems sick, book an appointment with us today so we can help them get back to their healthy selves.