With so much on your plate in your busy daily life, it can be easy to let your dog's strange behavior go unnoticed for a few days. Unfortunately, some dog behaviors are warning signs of dangerous underlying conditions that require immediate medical attention. If you see any of the following signs in your dog, contact the vet immediately:
1. Weight loss, decreased appetite
Decreased appetite is often the first sign a dog exhibits when he is sick. While there may be many reasons your dog doesn't want to eat – from an upset tummy to a painful intestinal tumor — it's important to have a vet conduct a wellness exam on the dog. This will rule out any dangerous underlying conditions and help you interpret your pup's strange behavior. When left untreated for a long period, decreased appetite can cause dangerous weight loss and nutrient deficiencies in your dog.
2. Lethargy, uncharacteristic fatigue
If your dog seems exhausted or slow to respond to external stimuli, contact your vet immediately. Lethargy can be a symptom of dozens of life-threatening disorders that may not be obvious on the surface.
3. Aggressive coughing
If you notice that your dog is coughing quite a lot, or that the coughing is hard or he is unable to catch his breath, it's time to see the vet. Coughing can indicate everything from heartworm to respiratory infections or lung tumors and is a symptom that should be evaluated by a medical professional. While it may be nothing more than a tickle in the dog's throat, coughing is a symptom you don't ever want to leave unchecked.
A dog's normal body temperature is between 99.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog's temperature climbs beyond this, it could indicate a dangerous infection or virus. Have the dog seen by a vet to rule out life-threatening illnesses.
5. Labored breathing
If your dog is struggling to breathe properly, take notice. Dogs with these symptoms may be suffering from respiratory failure or heart failure and should undergo a health check as soon as possible to prevent dangerous complications.
6. Difficult urination
A dog that is having trouble emptying his bladder may be suffering from kidney failure, bladder stones or urinary tract infections. Look for symptoms like straining, pain, or frequent, unsuccessful attempts to urinate. These symptoms should be evaluated immediately, as they may indicate a life-threatening condition that can kill the dog quickly.
7. Blood in bodily fluids
If you notice blood in your dog's urine, vomit, or feces, you have a veterinary emergency on your hands. Blood in any of these fluids can be fresh (bright red) or partially digested (tarry, black, or resembling coffee grounds). There are a number of conditions indicated by the presence of blood in these fluids.
If your dog seems restless, irritable, or upset, a variety of things could be to blame. For example, the dog could be in pain or he could be experiencing bloating or discomfort. The dog should be seen by a vet to determine the cause.
A dog that collapses may be suffering from any one of many conditions, including spinal or nervous system problems or respiratory problems. These conditions are serious and require immediate veterinary attention.
10. Red eyes
If the whites of your dog's eyes suddenly become red, the dog may be suffering from eye trauma or an eye infection. It may also indicate problems with blood clotting that can lead to further bleeding. These conditions are dangerous and should be evaluated by a veterinarian whom you trust.
The above-mentioned symptoms can be signs of a number of serious diseases; therefore, it is important to have your pet checked immediately by a veterinarian to determine the exact underlying cause and to prescribe the necessary course of treatment.
Content reviewed by a veterinarian.