8 Common dog health issues symptoms

In this article, you will find out what are the most common dog health issues symptoms. With specific knowledge of veterinarians and many dog owners’ experiences, we covered the most popular signs of serious diseases in dogs such as the painful abdomen, bad breath, vomiting, diarrhea, panting, dragging bottom, and more.

No matter how much you love your furry friend, there is one thing you cannot overcome. Even if you try hard, there is no way to fully understand what your dog says. Of course, humans and dogs can communicate successfully especially by body language and different voice tones, but when your pooch suffers from any ailments, it won’t tell you right away. The key is to observe your dog very carefully, especially when it’s getting older. Dogs health changes with age and unfortunately our four-legged friends age much faster than we do. 

It’s very important to understand, that you as a dog owner are 100% responsible for your dog’s health, regarding its age. You must regularly check your dog’s health and help it fight the potential disease. Your dog can’t precisely describe its symptoms to you, but it can show you some signs that you should pay attention to.  

Since your dog won’t come to you and tell you what is wrong with it, you should be aware of the signs of the most common dog health issues symptoms. After reading this article you should have a better understanding of your pooch’s odd behavior. Being observant as a pet owner may reduce the chances of your dog seriously suffering or dying from any disease. It is quite similar when it comes to humans – the earlier you notice even the tiniest symptoms of a disease, the more chances for a full recovery. Don’t forget about regular checkups with a veterinarian, because they are the most valuable source of information about your dog’s health.  [1]

Top 8 dog health issues symptoms

1. Bad breath 

This symptom is not only unpleasant for dog owners but also indicates some serious health problems such as oral infection and gum disease. Try brushing your dog’s teeth more often, provide it more water to drink, and also try dental chews and dogie oral gels and rinses. A multifaceted approach is the most beneficial in this case.

In some cases, bad breath in dogs can be caused by objects stuck in the mouth (such as a piece of bone or a stick) which can cause inflammation inside the mouth. Bad breath may be also caused by gut problems, kidney disease (breath smells like ammonia), liver disease (musty breath), or diabetes (sweet smell). If you start noticing that your dog’s breath smells worse than usual and brushing its teeth doesn’t change the situation, contact your veterinarian. He will further investigate the cause of your pooch’s bad breath and treat the cause. [2]

2. Painful Abdomen 

Stomach swelling in dogs or pain in the abdomen can be a life-threatening emergency but it can also mean that your dog just ate too much. If you’re sure that your dog’s diet just fine, consider one of the following health conditions bloat, gastric dilation volvulus, peritonitis, cancer, ascites. When it comes to puppies, severe roundworm infection can cause a swollen and painful abdomen. Remember that even a brief exam of your dog’s abdomen by a veterinarian can help recognize some signs of stomach trouble. [3]

3. Blood in Stool

This symptom is an indicator of some serious dog health issues. Whenever you see blood in your dog’s poop, immediately call a vet. Observe your pet and assess its overall health. If it seems pretty normal it’s probably not that urgent. However, if you notice any changes in your dog’s normal behavior such as lack of appetite, vomiting, and looking unwell, visit the closest emergency veterinary hospital right away. Some serious causes of blood in dogs’ stool are hematochezia (bright red blood or fresh-looking blood in stool), melena (black inky stool with jelly-like consistency), parvovirus, cancer, bacterial and viral infections, or inflammatory bowel disease. [4]

4. Blood in Urine

Severe urinary problems can be quickly diagnosed after there is blood in your dog’s urine. Dogs, in general, are affected by many lower urinary tract problems such as diseases or infections of the bladder, urethra, and prostate. Urinary problems also point out to bladder stones or bladder cancer. Each one of these conditions can manifest with blood in your pet’s urine. The causes of bleeding in the upper urinary tract in dogs include kidney infection or kidney cancer. Some causes for blood in dogs’ urine may affect both upper and lower urinary tracts, ex. when the animal is hit by a car and suffers from a ruptured bladder. [5]

5. Diarrhea

There are many health issues in dogs that cause diarrhea. The most common ones are stress, infections like parovirus, intestinal parasites, overheating, and food poisoning. It is quite hard for the pet owner to miss doggy’s diarrhea – look for loose, watery, or even liquid stool. Remember that diarrhea leads to dehydration so make sure to provide your dog with plenty of fresh water to drink. Take your pooch to the vet if diarrhea persists for more than one or two days. [3]

6. Dragging Bottom

Bottom dragging by a dog is often called scooting and is always a sign that something is irritating your dog. Dog owners often find this symptom quite annoying, because nobody wants to look at their pet dragging and rubbing their anus along the grass, ground, or even worse carpet or couch. Dragging bottom may indicate health problems such as infection, worms, or inflammation. It is often a symptom of anal sac problems or fecal contamination. Some dogs drag their bottom when they suffer from rectal prolapse. If you notice that your dog is scooting frequently and also licking at the anal area, talk to your vet. Treatment of any of these conditions is usually simple and can relieve your dog a lot. [3]

7. Panting

It is normal for dogs to pant, especially after a long walk, when your pooch is excited or when the weather gets really hot. Heavy breathing occurs when your dog needs to cool itself down quickly and effectively. However, excessive panting can be sometimes a sign that there is something wrong with your pup. Panting can be the symptom of overheating, coping with chronic disease, or experiencing a life-threatening trauma. 

Other conditions which are often connected with heavy breathing in dogs are heatstroke, poisoning, heart failure, Cushing’s syndrome, respiratory disorders, pain, or allergies. If you suspect that your dog pants due to the heatstroke and you observe other symptoms including seizures, vomiting, and diarrhea, move your dog immediately to a shady spot, provide it with fresh water to drink, and give your vet a call. [3]

8. Itchy ears 

Itchy ears in dogs are most often the first sign of ear infection. These are very common to most dogs. Dogs normally scratch their ears from time to time, but the problem starts when they scratch their ears excessively. The most common reasons for that are mites, parasites, foreign bodies in a dog’s ears, or yeast buildup. Itchy ears in dogs also indicate ear drum rapture and environmental allergies. Whenever your dog starts to excessively scratch its ears take it to the vet for a check-up and an ear inspection. The earlier you find the cause of itchy ears the simpler will be the treatment. [6]

Now that you know what are the most common dog health issues symptoms, you can take better care of your pooch. Since your pet won’t tell you how it feels today and what bothers it, it’s your responsibility to observe your dog and take him immediately to a veterinarian if one of the 8 listed down here symptoms show up. 

You learned what does it mean when your dog has a painful abdomen, bad breath, when it vomits, has diarrhea, blood in urine or stool, scoots, pants, or has itchy ears. For the wellbeing of your pooch keep in mind all 8 dog health issues symptoms which we covered in this article. 

As dogs age, the chances are that more symptoms will occur. However, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t watch closely your little puppy. Each dog deserves a great life full of happiness and free of disease and discomfort. Be your dog’s additional pair of eyes and ears, observe it closely, and always keep phone number to a veterinarian with you. Remember that a healthy dog is a happy dog! 

Cynthia L. Collins

Cynthia L. Collins

Devoted dog lover, a dog mom to her two rescued Shih Tzus Romeo and Elvis, and an Australian Shepherd, Bandit. When she isn’t working, she volunteers in a local shelter and various animal welfare organizations.

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