Itchy eyes, ignoring food, looking sad and tired -- we all know what you're thinking when your pup looks like this: "Is it time to take my dog to the vet?"
Dogs have solidified their position in life as man’s (and woman's!) best friend. From the wag of their tails, to their playful tactics, these incredible companions have become beloved members of the family, and as such, we want them to be happy and healthy. Unfortunately, when Fido starts feeling funky, he simply can’t tell you what’s wrong. Even if you know your pet well, it can be hard to tell if they are suffering from an illness or injury.
Typically, dogs don’t show clear signs of them feeling sick or in pain. This is a trait that served their wild ancestors well in helping them to hide sickness from predators, but it does pose a challenge for pet parents. The last thing you want is for your dog to get seriously sick because you did not recognize the warning signs! Here are some ways you can determine whether or not you should take your dog to the vet.
Important Note: We are (still) not veterinarians! The tips below are general recommendations on when to be worried about your pup, but you know your dog best -- if something's not right, take her to the vet. Or at the very least, give your local animal hospital a call. Many vets and veterinary assistants are qualified to give you some advice over the phone, or let you know if it's time to bring your pup in for a check-up. (Check-PUP? We'll leave.)
Change In Eating Habits
I don’t know about you, but my dog loves the sound of her food hitting the bowl. She will drop whatever toy – or person—she is playing with and come running when it’s time to eat.
Having a food-motivated pup makes it easy to know something is up -- when she suddenly stops eating, I know I should be worried. Some dogs might be a little more lackadaisical about food than others, but it is not healthy for any dog to consecutively skip more than two meals a day.
If your dog goes more than a day without eating, you should take them to the vet. This could be a sign of a digestive issue or obstruction. The same goes for if your dog is attempting to eat more food than normal. This is not an emergency, but you should make an appointment to check there is not an underlying issue, like a tapeworm or other digestive issue.
Change in Drinking Habits
As with eating, if you find yourself refilling the water bowl more than usual, or your pup is needing to go outside to “use the potty” more often, there could be an issue. An increase in drinking habits and frequent potty breaks could be an indication of diabetes or kidney disease. If your dog shows signs of excessive thirst for more than a day, it's a good idea to get her checked out.
Changes in Bowel Movements
Picking up your pet’s poop is probably not on your list of favorite things to do (at least you can accessorize with one of our fabulous Poo Bag Holders) but it is a good way to keep an overall check on your dog's health. This is gross, but changes in your dog's poop consistency, color, or... let's say... "ingredients" can all be signs of something else going on.
If your dog has diarrhea lasting longer than 24 hours, DEFINITELY give your vet a call. This can indicate digestive inflammation, a blockage, serious allergy, or disease.
There’s no need to sound the alarm if your pet throws up some food once in a while, especially if he ate something weird (lookin' at you, partially-digested stick and strange-colored chew toys) but if the puking persists for more than 24 hours, it would be best if you took him to the vet immediately.
Persistent vomiting is a red flag that your pooch ate something poisonous, or at the least, something that's not agreeing with her stomach. In serious cases, vomiting blood or mucus (sorry, we know it's gross) is also a sign that your dog needs to see a vet immediately.
Abnormal Gum Color
Quick question: What color are your pet’s gums usually? If you don’t know, you should take a look -- now! Go ahead… we’ll wait.
So, were they nice and pink? Pink gums are a good sign that blood is circulating normally through your dog's body. Gums are a great place to see this because they’re packed with capillaries, the tiny vessels that carry oxygenated blood through the tissues.
If your dog’s gums look pale or white, that could suggest something is wrong with their circulation. Pale gum color usually indicates severe anemia, often caused by blood loss. Also, just because you don’t see any blood doesn’t mean your pup is an anomaly. Dogs can bleed on the inside of their bodies too. If there is an accident or trauma to your dog, keep an eye on their gums. It could save their life!
Important Note: Dogs who are in heart failure or have breathing problems will sometimes have gray or blue gums. This is a sign of impending respiratory distress, and they need to get to a veterinarian at once. This is particularly important for "squashed nose" breeds like pugs and French bulldogs, who are much more susceptible to breathing issues than other breeds.
A dog’s eyes have the power to speak a great language. With that said, the most common of all the symptoms to warn you that your pup is unwell is a change in their eyes. If your dog’s eyes are becoming dry or reddish, they may have an infection or injury.
In addition, discomfort in the eyes causes them to be watery or have an excessive discharge of mucus (yep, we're being gross again), which can indicate blindness due to aging. A common sign of vision loss from age is something called "cataracts", where the eyes look filmy or foggy. Your pup also might be a little more confused than usual, bumping into things or whining / acting distressed when nothing else seems to be wrong. If your dog is confused and getting scared of an environment she usually finds comforting and familiar, make sure to take her to the vet ASAP -- especially in aging dogs or dogs with diabetes, this could be a sign of vision or hearing loss.
In conclusion, ask your vet!
At the end of the day, the phrase “better safe than sorry” truly does apply to our best furry friends. By keeping an eye out for when your best bud is behaving out of the ordinary, you can do your part by ensuring they live a long and healthy life. Frenchie Bulldog loves to be a part of your pup’s happy and healthy life with the latest and greatest harnesses, hoodies, and accessories. Don’t forget to share your photos with us – find us on Instagram @frenchie_bulldog.