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Your dog is your beloved companion who sticks by your side through every stage of life and who greets you eagerly at the end of the day, anxious to play. While your dog can't communicate with words, you probably understand his unspoken communication very well. A tilted head and extra good behaviour might mean that he is asking for a treat. A ducked head and the tail between his legs probably mean your pet has done something he knows he shouldn't have done. The better you know your dog's behaviours, habits, and ways of communicating, the better you will be able to tell if something is wrong. When your dog is sick or injured, he will try to communicate that to you. Pay close attention to the following signs that signal illness or injury.

Behavioural Changes When your dog is sick or injured, his behaviours will change. If you pay attention, you will be able to tell whether or not medical care may be needed. Here are several common behaviours associated with illness:

  1. Lethargy

  2. Agitation

  3. Anti-social behaviour

  4. Irritability

  5. Clingy behaviour

General Physical Changes Physical changes are the clearest indicators that something is wrong with your dog and that he needs to be taken to a vet. Here are several key symptoms to watch for:

  1. Sudden weight loss or gain

  2. Cuts and lumps

  3. Bloody sores

  4. Scratching at his ears or shaking his head frequently

  5. Hair loss or a patchy, uneven look to the coat

Respiratory Changes Breathing changes may indicate respiratory illness, and are usually obvious. If your dog is struggling to breathe, check his gums and tongue to see if they are pink. If they turning blue, your pet needs medical care immediately. Watch for these symptoms and signs of respiratory trouble:

  1. A loud cough that disrupts sleep

  2. Wheezing

  3. Noisy breathing

  4. Frequent gagging

  5. Laboured breathing

At Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital, our vets are trained to diagnose and treat these symptoms. We make sure that your pet is feeling better so that you can get back to playing fetch in the park, going on walks, and taking naps in the sun. We understand that your dog is a big part of your life, and we're ready for those 'sick as a dog' moments. If in doubt, don't hesitate--we're ready to help. Call us today at 416-289-2524 for a routine checkup or emergency care. We'll help get your pup back to his normal, playful self once again.

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