As humans, we all get sick from time to time and when we do we can communicate what is ailing us. But, when your dog gets sick it may be a little harder for them to communicate that they feel under the weather. That is why it is important that all dog owners understand the various sign sand symptoms of illness. Additionally, it is important to understand the difference between symptoms that necessitate immediate care vs. those that should simply be monitored for a day or two. Many dogs will show no symptoms of illness at first so it can be hard to tell that your dog is not feeling well. But, there are some subtle (and not so subtle) symptoms that you should keep an eye out for. If you notice any of these signs it can never hurt to take your dog to the veterinarian just to be safe but some are sure signs you need to get your dog to the veterinarian right away and others may pass with time and rest.
You know your dog so you know what is normal for their behavior and what is not. Any time something out of the ordinary is noticed it is a good idea to keep an eye on that behavior and see what may be causing it. They may have simply eaten something that is upsetting their stomach or be suffering from some allergy symptoms. But, it also could be the sign that something serious is going on. If you notice any of the following symptoms you should keep an eye on your dog and see if they last more than a few days: lethargy, diarrhea, nasal discharge, vomiting (not excessive), poor appetite, weakness, increased salivation, increased water intake/thirst, constipation, wheezing, whimpering, limping, panting, wheezing, and increased or decreased urination. If any of those symptoms last more than a few days or seem to worsen in severity it is probably best to take your dog to the veterinarian.
In addition to mild symptoms that may go away in a couple of days, there are more severe symptoms that necessitate an immediate visit to the veterinarian. These symptoms include imbalance or dizziness, inability to walk, bloated abdomen, seizures, discoloration of gums or pale gums, difficulty breathing, unresponsiveness, signs of severe pain, an elevated body temperature (taken with thermometer), or collapse. Any time you notice any symptoms that concern you, it never hurts to call your veterinarian to run the symptoms by them and ask for directions as to how to assist your dog best. Your veterinarian may encourage you to stay home and monitor your dog or they may tell you to bring your dog in or to an emergency clinic so that they can receive any necessary treatments.