Your Dog is Sick: How Worried Should You Be?

Worry is one of the unfortunate side effects of owning a dog. You get the joy and loyal companionship of man’s best friend, but you also have the responsibility of caring for your best friend! A dog can’t communicate with you directly, and tell you exactly what’s wrong, so when they’re sick it’s hard to know how worried you should be. Most dogs will, on at least a few occasions through their lives, eat something that disagrees with them and experience a bit of sickness and feel dejected for a day or two – this is nothing for you to worry about, you just need to keep them hydrated. But there are some serious conditions that start the same way, but continue for days or escalate into life threatening issues! If your dog keeps vomiting then it can’t hold down food and water, and even if the underlying cause is nothing to worry about this means hunger and dehydration, which you definitely need to worry about!

Symptoms to Look Out For

These are some of the most important symptoms to be aware of. If you see these, then you need to book a visit to the vet at the first opportunity.

  • Retching

A dog that keeps gagging and retching without vomiting could be suffering from a serious condition called bloat. In bloat, a dog’s digestive system gets twisted around itself, and fills with gas. This can be a fatal condition and in many cases requires surgery to resolve.

  • Blood in urine or stools

This is a symptom that could indicate all sorts of serious health problems, from internal trauma to kidney or liver disease or even cancer! Sometimes, blood in the stool is caused by an easy to solve problem and is nothing to worry about, but there are enough serious conditions that it’s worth getting checked by a vet without delay!

  • A hunched posture

Developing a hunched over posture is your dog adapts to pain in and around the belly. It’s an attempt to protect this area, and spare it from harm as it moves around. If your dog suddenly develops a hunched posture – and especially if there’s no sign of trauma you can see. Injuries can be a serious matter in themselves, but if there’s no visible injury, pain can be a sign of kidney disease, bladder problems or arthritis.

If you’re alert to these serious symptoms, then you can judge a bit better whether you need to worry about your dog, or just keep them comfortable and let time sort out their digestive problems.