Since dogs are incapable of telling their owners when something is wrong it’s incredibly important for every dog owner to pay close attention to signs that their pet might be ill. The following are symptoms that every dog parent should know as it could ultimately save their dog’s life.
It’s normal for dogs to pant when they are hot. Since dogs can’t sweat through their skin the same way that humans do, they pant to circulate cooler air through their lungs and to release heat.
However, if they suddenly begin to pant excessively without becoming overheated or the won’t stop panting after an appropriate period to time in cool air, it could be an indication that something is seriously wrong.
Excessive panting can be a sign of:
- Heatstroke: If a dog is exposed to high temperatures for an extended period of time, they might be unable to regulate their body temperature through panting. As their core temperature rises, their body will become dehydrated and proteins will begin to break down. This condition is life-threatening and dogs with suspected heatstroke should be cooled down and rushed to a veterinarian immediately.
- Anemia: Anemia means that a dog has a reduced number of red blood cells. Since the red blood cells carry oxygen, dogs with anemia might have difficulty circulating enough oxygen through their body. One common sign of anemia is panting.
- Heart Disease: An enlarged heart can also impact oxygenation and cause a dog to pant. The sooner a dog is diagnosed with heart disease the better their prognosis.
- Laryngeal Paralysis: Commonly called “Lar Par”, this condition occurs when the muscles that help to open and close the larynx don’t work properly.
A random cough here or there isn’t anything to worry about but if your dog begins to cough and the cough persists for more than a day or two, you should consider making an appointment to see the doctor. A cough can be a sign of:
- Pneumonia: With treatment, the majority of dogs with pneumonia recover. However, if left untreated, the dog can develop sepsis.
- Lungworm: Many dog owners have never heard of lungworm, which is actually a type of roundworm. Dogs become infected if they eat or play with slugs, snails, or even frogs. Without treatment, the infestation will grow unchecked and can result in death.
- Heart Disease: A persistent cough is another symptom of heart disease in dogs.
Abnormal Pupil Dilation
Although you might not naturally look at your dog’s pupils to check that they are equal and reactive, meaning that both eyes dilate normally at the same time, it’s a good idea to take a peek now and again.
Anisocoria is a condition that means one pupil is larger than the other. While some dogs have a congenital defect that results in this abnormality, it is more often an indicator of an underlying disease, such as:
- Cancer: Dogs can get tumors in their eyes. With treatment, this cancer could be contained to the eye, however, it must be caught quickly.
- Hepatic Encephalopathy: When a dog has liver disease it can ultimately impact their brain because of a build-up of ammonia in the body, causing anisocoria.
- Disc Herniation: Although rare, anisocoria can be a symptom of a disc herniation.
A Change In Bathroom Habits
Most dog owners could set their clocks based on their dog’s bathroom habits which is why it’s so important to sit up and take notice when those habits suddenly change. This could be an indicator of:
- Bowel Obstruction: A bowel obstruction is typically caused by a foreign body such as a rock, towel, or toy that was swallowed.
- Kidney Disease: Dogs with kidney disease will have the urge to urinate frequently.
- Internal Parasites: Although many dogs are unharmed by internal parasites, left untreated some animals suffer from life-threatening conditions like malnutrition and anemia.
The medical term for increased thirst is polydipsia. This symptom can be caused by:
- Kidney Disease: Dogs with kidney disease will drink a lot more water than normal.
- Diabetes: When the body isn’t producing insulin to regulate glucose, the kidneys go into overdrive trying to remove the excess glucose from the body through urine. This is why one of the first indicators of diabetes is excessive thirst, the body is making more urine to remove glucose.
By knowing these symptoms you could potentially help your pet by having their medical condition diagnosed quickly.