A dog can’t directly tell you if he’s sick. All you can do is to rely on clues he left behind. You are not only his care take but his only method to reach a health care provider. It is up to you whether he should visit the veterinarian or not. Whether you know your pet really well or not, here are some things to consider when determining if your dog is sick.

How to Tell If Your Dog Is Sick: Watch Out These 10 Signs!


Lack of appetite

This is one of the most obvious symptoms. If your best friend usually devours his meal but seems to suddenly eat less altogether, it might mean that he isn’t feeling all that well inside. Fever, infections or diseases affecting the liver or kidney and many others could make your dog turn his nose away from food. As a general rule, if your dog misses two meals in a row, consider visiting the veterinarian for a check-up.


Weight loss or weight gain

Increase and decrease of weight are the norms if you alter the feed or the amount of exercise the dog received. Unexpected weight changes, however, are a possible sign that your dog is feeling under the weather.

Hormone imbalance could cause your dog to gain weight while still eating relatively little. Losing weight can be caused by insufficient nutrition from the food they eat or caused by an illness. Prolonged illness especially could affect his digestion and appetite. If you find your dog eating less, encourage it to eat more to ensure he gets the nutrition needed to help him recover.


Lack of energy

This sign is obvious for how to tell if your dog is sick. As you would expect to form an acutely ill dog, they would frequently act duller and generally depressed. You might find them distancing or refuse to interest with familiar people in the usual manner, often refusing to participate in any activities entirely. Often you can find them searching and settling in a quiet, empty room to lie down and rest.


Abnormal temperature

The healthy temperature of a dog range between 37.2 to 39.2 degrees Celsius (99.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit). Keep in mind that your dog could still be sick even if it isn’t running any fever. Contact your vet if the temperature falls or rises outside the range.


Digestive upsets

Diarrhea or vomiting should be a call for concern with your pet. It’s difficult to tell whether it is caused by accident swallowing foreign, indigestible objects or parasites or ulcers. A single instance of such cases shouldn’t alert you that much. Contact your pet if it happens multiple times within 24 hours. If any of the discharge contains blood, the problem could be more serious than expected and you should get immediate care for your dog.


Color of the gum

A healthy dog should sport pink colored gum. If you press them with your fingers, the color should turn to white then back to pink in around 2 seconds on release. If the gum appears paler or takes a bluish gray color, it should call to your attention that he might be having medical problems.


Behavior change

As the pet owner, you should know your dog best. If you find it acting strangely, he’s probably trying to tell you something. In general, look out for the following indications that might indicate your dock has fallen ill:

  • Irritability

  • Lethargy

  • Withdrawal

  • Agitation

  • Clingy or needy behavior



Yes, dogs can cough. Coughing is symptoms for a variety of problems. If you found your dog coughing violently or frequently, often seeming to be grasping for breath, considering visiting the veterinarian immediately.


Breathing problems

Aside from the coughing mentioned above, there is a range of respiratory illness which could be immediately obvious or really subtle for how to tell if your dog is sick. Contact your vet if you notice the following:

  • Persistent gagging

  • A honking cough

  • Labored breathing

  • Noisy or wheezing breathing

  • Persistent nasal discharge (with mucus or blood)

  • Persistent cough lasting more than 24 hours

If you find him having difficulty breathing, check for gum and tongue color. If they aren’t the healthy glow of pink, immediately seek emergency care.


Difficulty rising or mobility issues

If your dog is looking stiff, usually while doing something more physically intensive such as climbing stairs or even getting up, you probably should get him examined. The symptom can be caused by arthritis or hip dysplasia or disease from tick problems. Lyme disease could result in the symptom too, the earlier is your dog treated for it, the better your dog could recover.

We do not condone self-diagnosing and treating your own dog. If you notice any worrying trend in the way your dog behave or showing any of the symptoms mentioned above or if you are still unsure, do not shy away from getting in contact with a professional.


Please Log In or add your name and email to post the comment.