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8 Signs You Need to Take Your Dog to the Vet

By Editor
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Many people take their dog to the vet immediately when they detect small changes in behavior, but this can be costly and time-consuming. At the same time, changes in behavior can signal serious underlying health conditions, and early detection is key. If your dog displays any of these signs, it may be time to take them to the vet.

Your Pup Is Tired or Sluggish

We all have our “off” days, but if your normally frisky pup is lethargic for two days or more, this may be a sign he needs to go to the vet. If he has less energy than usual, has difficulty going up and down stairs, hides, or loses interest in play and going for walks, that could be a sign of spinal or abdominal problems, or other conditions that require the attention of a vet.

Your Dog Is Snappy

We don’t mean a good dresser. If a well-behaved pooch suddenly begins to snap, bite, soil the floor indoors, groom herself excessively, or display any other unusual behavior, this may be a sign that your dog is in pain.

He Won’t Eat - Or Is Always Thirsty

Unusual eating habits can be a red flag when it comes to dog health. If your best friend has not eaten for two days, WebMD indicates this can indicate dental problems or illnesses such as systemic infections, liver problems and kidney failure. On the flip side, if he is constantly thirsty and drinks more than usual, this could be a sign of chronic conditions such as kidney disease or diabetes.

You Notice Changes in Your Dog’s Stool

If you notice changes in the color, consistency, odor, or regularity of your dog's stool, this can be a sign that your dog needs to change her diet. However, other conditions may require a trip to the vet. Be on the lookout for diarrhea that lasts over 24 hours, worms, and blood or mucus in the stool. Ever catch your dog scooting along the floor on his rear? This could indicate worms, infected anal glands, or a food allergy.

Her Eyes Are Runny

A dog’s eyes should be free of goop and smelly discharge. If you notice yellow-green discharge, or if your pup is squinting or pawing at his eyes, this may indicate conjunctivitis, allergies, or other eye problems. Your vet can evaluate the cause of the condition and recommend a treatment plan.

Your Pup Threw Up

It is not uncommon for a dog to vomit occasionally, but if the vomiting is frequent, repeated, contains blood, or is accompanied by fever or loss of appetite/energy, your dog needs to be seen by a vet right away.

His Skin Has Lumps

While bumps on the skin are common as dogs age, they can be benign or a sign of cancerous growth. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, almost 50% of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer in their lifetime. If you see any unusual growths, be sure to have them checked out.

Her Fur Looks Dull

A healthy coat is shiny and soft. If your dog’s fur is dry or dull, this could indicate a lack of essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and other dietary deficiencies. If the coat is thinning or has bald patches, one culprit could be thyroid disease. Other signs to look out for include excessive scratching or licking of the skin. Most of these eight symptoms can be treated within 48 hours, while others require immediate medical attention. According to American Humane, if your dog has a bloated hard abdomen, is unable to urinate, has excessive vomiting or diarrhea, has a seizure, or is unable to stand up, go to the vet right away.

A Word About Prevention

Many dog health issues -- including dull coat, skin problems, bathroom problems, cancer, and even anxiety -- can be tied to diet. Want to learn how to prevent health issues before they become a source of worry (and expense)? We recommend all dog owners watch this video by veterinarian Dr. Martin Goldstein on his website In the video, you will learn the top “Dog Health Destroyers” (hint: preservatives, heavy grain fillers, and meat by-products are not your best friend’s friend). You’ll also find out about whole food ingredients that are proven to help with metabolism, allergies, combating anxiety and brain health. There is a lot of information on the internet suggesting various reasons for changes in your dog's behavior but we always recommend consulting with your vet first before making any assumptions from what you read. Healthy dogs are happy dogs and happy owners too!

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