Pet Health
min read

Sick Dog Symptoms: 5 Signs You Should Take Your Sick Dog To the Vet

5 symptoms to look out for that indicate that your dog may be sick and need veterinary attention.

You love your dog and do everything you can to keep them happy and healthy. You feed them, play with them, and give them plenty of love. You want your furry friend to live a long and happy life. The sad truth is that all dogs get sick and sometimes even require a visit to the vet.

In this article, we’re sharing some of the most common sick dog symptoms and the telltale signs of serious illness in dogs. Sometimes even good owners can miss signs that their dogs are sick or injured. Unfortunately, this can lead to severe health problems, if left untreated! We’re going to help you identify some of the most serious symptoms.

5 Sick Dog Symptoms: Warning Signs That Your Dog Needs Veterinary Care

While illness looks different for every dog, some warning signs should never be ignored. A trip to the vet can always be helpful, even for simply providing peace of mind.

Here are five common sick dog symptoms that indicate your pup needs to see a vet ASAP.

Loss of Appetite

A dog who is sick, in pain, or feeling anxious will often lose their appetite. It’s a symptom that can be easily overlooked, however, a dog losing their appetite is always something worth investigating. A loss of appetite doesn’t always signify something serious, but it could be due to:

  • Pain or discomfort of any kind, including infections or dental problems.
  • Stress or hormonal changes
  • Dietary issues or a recent change in food
  • Parasites

Lethargy or Depression

Lethargy or depression can be a sign of an underlying illness or a red flag in itself, so you must always pay attention to your dog’s behavior. If you notice that your dog is not as playful and active as usual, they are sleeping more than normal, and have lost interest in activities they usually enjoy (like playing fetch), don't hesitate to bring them in for a checkup.

Did you know that a dog can be diagnosed with depression? Like humans, dogs can also experience symptoms of depression as a result of things like genetics, life experiences, and their environment. 

A dog experiencing depression will show multiple signs, including:

  • Failure to interact with their surroundings.
  • Clingy behavior
  • Decreased appetite
  • Changes in body language

Excessive Panting or Fast Breathing

Panting is a normal canine behavior and can signify several different things, but a dog who pants excessively should be seen by a vet. 

Not only can excessive panting signify a dog who’s in pain, but it could also point to something serious, like heat stroke, difficulty breathing, respiratory infection, or even asthma. Dogs who pant excessively could also be experiencing disorders, like heart disease, diabetes, or liver disease. 

Don’t hesitate to bring your dog in for medical observation if you feel like their breathing pattern is unusual. Heavy breathing and panting are normal for active, excited dogs. But, continuous panting in one who is calm, or panting that sounds raspy or harsh is something worth paying attention to. 

Inability to Urinate

If you notice that your dog is struggling to go to the bathroom or completely unable to urinate, this is considered a medical emergency. There could be a blockage in the urinary tract, and it is critical to contact your vet as soon as you notice this symptom. One of the first things you may notice in a dog with urinary retention is a weak urine stream. Severe cases could lead to abdominal swelling and pain. 

As mentioned above, you must get a dog struggling to urinate in to see a vet promptly. The most common causes of urinary retention in dogs are due to:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Kidney disease
  • Bladder stones
  • Bladder cancer

Hard Swollen Abdomen

A dog with a hard, swollen abdomen is not a case that should be taken lightly. These symptoms could be caused by something minor, like overheating, but often point to something much more serious.

You must take your dog to the vet as soon as possible if they're exhibiting symptoms of a hard abdomen, swelling in the stomach, or abdominal discomfort. Your vet can help you identify the source of the swelling and guide you in making the best treatment decisions. 

Today’s Veterinary Care is More Affordable Than Ever

Your vet has access to essential medical resources, like x-rays, lab equipment, and other technology that will be beneficial for diagnosing any medical problem. They can also be a valuable resource for information about caring for a sick pet at home. As a pet owner, nothing compares to the help that can be provided by your veterinarian. And, thankfully, affording medical attention and support for your fur baby is cheaper and easier than ever before. 

By using the Fursure Card, our debit card for pet parents, you can now earn rewards toward your pet’s vet care with every purchase you make. This allows you to budget and plan for all of your pet’s health care - including medical emergencies! Sign up for your free card and begin enjoying greater financial security today.


There’s nothing more worrisome than a sick dog. As pet parents, we all want our pups to live happy and healthy for every day of their life. This is why it’s important to know the right times to bring them to the vet. The decision between taking your dog in or not could truly be the difference between life and death, especially in certain circumstances. 

Money should never be a factor when bringing your dog to the vet, and you should always feel comfortable consulting a professional for any concern. You need to know the symptoms that require assistance and to feel confident in paying for the treatment of your choice. The Fursure Card is the easiest way to make this happen. Feel financially confident in taking your dog to the vet and know that you’re always better safe than sorry. Some sick dog symptoms should never be ignored and the five in this post are some of the most important. 

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