Dogs are a lot like humans in a sense, and their health starts to change as they get older. It is important to understand that dogs age a whole lot faster than humans do. You have heard the saying that one year in human years is about the equivalent of 7 in dog years. This is so true. This is why it is so important to stay on top of your pup’s health and wellness.
No matter how old your dog is, it is important for you to help them to stay as healthy as they can be. It is impossible for a dog to explain to you when they don’t feel well, so you have to be proactive and keep an eye on any changes in their behaviors. The good news is that dogs definitely exhibit signs and sick dog symptoms.
Being aware of their signs and symptoms will help you to get proper medical treatment so that issues don’t get worse. In fact, many pets look really healthy, but still have underlying conditions.
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Some sick dog symptoms To Look For
- halitosis, or bad breath
- excessive drooling
- excessive urination
- excessive drinking
- changes in appetite
- weight loss / gain
- changes in level of activity
- changes in attitude
- excessive sleeping
- extreme panting
- labored breathing
- dry skin
- stomach upset
- cloudy, dry or red eyes
If your furry friend is showing any of these signs or symptoms, then it is a good idea for you to call and make an appointment with your veterinarian. Don’t just assume that the changes that you see are associated with your dog getting older. This isn’t always the case. Sometimes there are underlying conditions that may not be that evident, to even the most seasoned dog owner.
What to Do if You Notice Sick Dog Symptoms
If you notice that your dog has any of these symptoms, or if they just have overall changes in their mood or other behaviors, call your vet. They will likely recommend that you bring them in for an exam so that they can do some preventative care testing. Here are a few common tests that they may recommend, depending on the signs that your dog is exhibiting:
- electrolyte testing to rule out dehydration and electrolyte imbalances
- heartworm testing
- tick-borne illness testing
- infectious disease testing
- blood count tests
- urine screens
- thyroid tests
- ECG screening
These are all tests that will help to rule out certain underlying conditions that may be causing your dog to have symptoms of illness. Your veterinarian will be able to give you a good idea of the types of tests that are best for your dog. Some of these tests, however, can be expensive. Just talk to your veterinarian about your options and what will be the best thing for your pup.
One of the best things that you can do for your dog is ensure preventative care for them.
Preventative screening is a very important tool that helps to detect disease early on so that it can be treated effectively. The key is to make sure that you get your pup into the veterinarian at least once each year. They will do a physical exam and let you know what tests are going to be best for them when it comes to prevention. The sooner you find a disease, the easier it is to overcome it! As you know, medical technology is at a peak right now, which makes it even easier to detect and prevent illness.
If you find out that your dog is, in fact, sick, then you will want to make sure that you follow an effective course of treatment. Depending on your dog’s particular ailment or disease, your veterinarian will recommend a plan of action to treat the condition. It is really important to follow their instructions and advice so that your pup can make a complete recovery and be back to their usual self. Sometimes a treatment plan may be as easy as a prescription for some medicine or changing their diet, while other times they may require more intensive treatments. This really just depends on your dog’s particular situation, and it will vary from one case to the next.
What About Home Remedies?
Many people ask us if home remedies are a good idea when it comes to treating symptoms. We never recommend using a home remedy to fix a symptom, because it could very well just be like putting a Band-Aid on the problem. You don’t want to give your pup something to treat their diarrhea when the diarrhea could be caused by an underlying condition. You don’t ever want to self diagnose your dog, because you never know when you may have a serious health concern on your hands. If you just simply cover up the symptoms with home remedies, you could be making matters worse for your dog.
Tips for Keeping Your Dog Healthy
Now that you know more about the signs and symptoms of illness in your dog, it is time to take a look at some tips that will help to ensure that your dog stays healthy. If you start out from day one with good health and good nutrition, chances are you will build a lasting foundation of good health for your pup that will carry into their senior years.
Here are a few things that you can do:
#1 – Make Sure You Are Feeding Your Dog a High Quality Premium Dog Food
Pets that eat premium quality dog food that is rich in nutrients and proteins tend to be healthier. They have shinier coats, and their skin is healthier, and they even have better eye health and function! A well balanced diet also helps to ensure that your pup has a good immune system. It can even boost digestive health and bone and joint health as well. Look for a food that meets your dog’s life stage requirements for either growth or maintenance.
#2 – Avoid Obesity in Your Pups
Overweight pets have a lot more health issues than pets that maintain a healthy weight. Obesity not only affects their heart, but it can also put undue stress on their joints. If your pet needs to lose a few pounds to be at a healthy weight range, talk to your veterinarian about good ways to help your dog lose weight. They may recommend a weight loss diet and exercise to get you started in the right direction.
#3 – Schedule Regular Veterinary Visits
Taking your dog to the vet each year is really important. We already covered the reasons why, so just make sure that you schedule the appointment. If you skip a year, a lot can go on with your pet’s health. Don’t risk it, just call and make the appointment. Many veterinarians will send little reminder cards in the mail to let you know that it is time to bring your pet in. Talk to your vet and see if this is something they do to help you remember.
#4 – Ensure Proper Dental Health
Many pet owners don’t understand the importance of keeping their dog’s mouth clean. It is really important because the mouth is a breeding ground for disease and sickness. By brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, and having professional cleanings as needed, you can keep your dog’s mouth in tip-top condition. There are also dental treats that help to keep the tartar and plaque from building up, and many dry kibble formulas are also designed for optimal dental health. Don’t underestimate the importance of taking care of your dog’s teeth and gums.
#5 – Protect Your Dog
Did you know that many people just let their dogs run free? This is really dangerous. This puts them at risk in more ways than you would know. Dogs that are allowed to run free are much more likely to be hit by a car, attacked by other dogs or wild animals, or exposed to infectious diseases. When you are out and about, keep your dog on a leash. If you like to let them outside, make sure that you do it in a fenced area so that they aren’t at risk.
As you can see, it is really important to pay attention to your dog’s health. You should always be observant of their behaviors and any sick dog symptoms that they may exhibit. If you notice symptoms early on, you are that much more likely to help your dog make a speedy recovery from whatever may be wrong with them. You can’t just ignore the signs, because that will just allow the condition to get worse over time. It could even result in death if you don’t catch it soon enough.
I've been a dog lover since the day I was born but it's the current four legged love of my life, Phoebe who inspired me to create the Munch.Zone.
We moved together from Israel to New York in 2013, love hiking together, and never pass up a trip to the dog park. Watching her over the years sparked so many questions about dog behavior and health needs, and it wasn't always easy to find answers. Thus, the Munch.Zone was born.
On any given day you'll find me watching Netflix originals, eating popcorn, and thinking about how to get into house flipping.