Having a dog can be one of the most fulfilling things in the world. You have a companion to play with, a protector to keep you safe, and an alarm clock to keep you in your routine. However, it can also be frustrating. Especially because, even though your dog might be as close to you as a child your dog doesn’t know English, so he can’t tell you what he’s thinking or feeling – especially when something is feeling bad or wrong.
Even though your pet can’t use words to tell you when he’s feeling bad, there are some ways that pets communicate to tell you that they’re feeling sick of off. By learning your dog’s behavior and their body language, and learning to detect when something’s amiss, you can get your dog the proper medical care when he needs it — to ensure he is feeling happy, healthy and like his old self in no time.
Lots of pups can love to be by their human’s side, but if your dog becomes clingy all of a sudden and there’s been no other change in his environment or routine – it may well be that your dog feels sick. Dogs can be clingy when they’re feeling unwell, preferring to stick by the person who provides them care, shelter and nourishment until they start feeling better.
2. Noticeable Changes in Behavior
Dogs can have subtle personality changes or pick up quirky new habits, but it’s a sign that your dog’s not feeling well if you notice drastic changes in behavior. For example, maybe a well trained pup will start urinating in the house regularly. Or, a dog may be restless, unwilling to lay down, or not able to find a comfortable position when he does lay down. If your dog is exhibiting behavior regularly that you’ve never seen before, and seems way out of the realm of normal, be sure to get him to a vet to see what might be bothering him.
3. Extreme Withdrawal
While some animals might get clingy when the feel bad, others will withdraw completely. They might hide away, seeking shelter until their body feels better – like under a bed, in a closet or in a dark corner where they usually don’t spend time. If your dog is withdrawing and hiding away somewhere where he hasn’t before (or for an extended amount of time), get him checked out. Hiding away can be a sign that he’s also fearful due to new feelings in his body.
4. Increased Thirst
Many diseases can cause increased thirst in dogs. So, if you noticed your dog drinking water (and urinating) more than normal, it could be a sign that something is amiss. Some conditions that cause increased thirst in dogs include kidney disease, liver disease and diabetes (and many, many more). If your dog is drinking more water than normal and for an extended period of time, ask your vet about it. If your dog is on medication, it may be possible that the medication itself is making him thirsty.
5. Lost Appetite
Dogs are a lot like humans. When they’re not feeling well, they don’t feel like eating. If your dog experiences a loss of appetite, there’s a chance that he’s feeling sick. Sometimes, a dog’s appetite can change based on the season or if he doesn’t like a specific food. However, if your dog doesn’t want to eat for an extended period of time, or if he’s disinterested no matter what you give him (treats, safe human food, etc.), then it’s worth him to get checked out at the vet.
6. Overt, Obvious Signs
There are some obvious, overt signs that your dog is sick that you don’t want to overlook. Some of those include a persistent cough, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, bright red eyes and lots of eye or nasal discharge. You may also notice signs that your dog is in pain; for example, he might be limping, wincing when you move him or he moves a certain way, or when he lays in a strange position (like propping his neck up on a piece of furniture because it hurts him). Because dogs can’t vocalize their pain or illness, paying attention to overt signs can help you notice that something’s wrong and get him into the vet quickly.
Having a sick pup can be stressful and challenging –especially because your pup can’t tell you what’s bugging him. However, if you learn to look out for the signs of a sick dog, you can not only spot that your dog is feeling off, but also get your dog into the vet quickly, so his illness will only last a short while. Also, to make sure your dog avoids illness in the first place, make sure to take him to the vet regularly. Your vet can check for illnesses that you might not have picked up (especially those in early stages), and also provide preventive treatments that can help him avoid illnesses in the long run, like NexGard for dogs, which helps prevent fleas and ticks.