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Nobody knows your dog better than you. So, when your dog's not acting normal, you're the first to notice. But how do you know when what's wrong with your dog is serious? Dogs can suffer from any number of health conditions, and not all are something you need to call the vet about. But you're a dog owner, not pet health expert, so how do you know which dog health symptoms mean what?
Dogs are just like us in that they can experience anxiety. And, over time, can become increasingly stressed. Changes in their daily routine, loud or unexpected noises, and separation from their primary caretaker can all cause a dog to stress out. As can any number of seemingly normal daily events.
According to the American Kennel Club, several behaviors can indicate your dog is feeling stress, including growling, whining, or barking.
Your dog's body language can also communicate stress. Watch for tucked ears and/or tail, raised hackles, lip-licking, yawning, and panting. Additionally, both pacing and freezing up (stiff and immobile) are also signs your dog may be feeling anxious.
To reduce your dog's stress, you'll want to remove or reduce all stress-inducing triggers and provide a healthy supplement formulated to combat nerves.
Any number of ailments can cause itchy skin for your dog, including things like allergies and fleas. So how do you diagnose which it is? Let's break each down by their symptoms.
According to Chipman Road Animal Clinic in Lee’s Summit, MO, and PetMD, the list of dog symptoms for allergies are:
Excessive scratching, itching, biting and licking
Red or scabbed skin
Itchy runny eyes
Sneezing and coughing (if asthma)
Itchy base of tail (usually common in flea allergies)
Loss of fur
Gastrointestinal (GI) signs
And here's the list of dog symptoms if your dog has fleas:
Excessive scratching, itching, biting, licking
Loss of hair (primarily over the lower back, tail and rear leg region)
Abnormal red patches of skin
Small bumps around body or neck area
Yeast and bacterial infections
When it comes to checking your dog for fleas, the Chipman Road Animal Clinic suggests running a flea comb through your pooch's fur. If you find "pepper-like" residue, your dog most likely has fleas.
Hip and joint issues are a common problem for older dogs, especially among larger breeds. These issues make life difficult for you aging pup, and also decrease your dog's quality of life.
The list of symptoms indicating your dog may be suffering from hip and joint issues are numerous, but can include:
Favoring one side
Slower, more limited movements
Running with both hind legs moving together
Frequent wobbling/loss of balance
Swaying/leaning in one direction
Slow/difficult movement when sitting, lying down, or standing up
Decreased interest in going on walks
Reduction of muscle tissue in hind legs (this can result in ‘skinny hips’)
Feeding your dog a daily supplement packed with inflammation-busting ingredients can help ease stiffness and pain.
Canine gastrointestinal issues are often caused by a bacterial infection. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the list of dog symptoms to watch out for include:
Loss of appetite
Straining to defecate
You can help reduce the likelihood that your pup will suffer from gastrointestinal issues with a probiotic supplement. These specially-formulated supplements help maintain a healthy GI system, resulting in stronger immunity and making it easier for your dog to fight off potential pathogens.
Knowing the variety of symptoms different health issues can produce makes it easier for you to figure out what's wrong with your dog.
And while diagnosing a sick dog can be complicated, we hope the information we've provided gives you a starting point when it comes to distinguishing between possible ailments.
Once you've got a better idea of what's wrong with your dog, you'll know which course of action to take next.
Remember, if, at any point, you're worried about the severity of your dog's symptoms, be sure to seek the advice of a licensed veterinarian.