Dog Manual


How To Tell If Your Dog Is Sick


When dogs are not well there are ordinarily certain signs that indicate that the pet is indisposed. The most constant symptom is a lack of appetite. This is accompanied by depression, change of disposition, indifferent response to commands or other stimuli, a ruffled and dull hair coat, or a fever.

The normal temperature of dogs is about 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of puppies and excited dogs may go up as high as 102 degrees and still be considered within the normal range. Any deviation from this norm should be accounted for.

The temperature of dogs may be taken with an ordinary human rectal thermometer. The thermometer should be shaken down until the reading is no more than about 96 degrees, the mercury tip is covered with vaseline, the thermometer is inserted into the rectum and allowed to remain in this position for about one or two minutes, then removed and read.

There are many manifestations that point to bodily dysfunction. The eyes may bear an expression of pain, listless-ness, or discomfort; their membranes may be a deep red; and a watery or pussy discharge may be apparent. The nose may be warm, dry, and encrusted, and it may bear a discharge of variable nature. There may be intermittent sneezing attacks. The membranes of the mouth and gums may be inflamed or eroded, and the teeth may be dirty, infected, loose, or encrusted with tartar and emitting a foul odor. There may be a cough; labored, quick, or very slow breathing; or exhaustion after mild exercise.

Vomiting and diarrhea are very common symptoms. There may also be manifestations or obvious signs of injury. Swellings of various sizes and descriptions may appear on any part of the body. There may be expressions of pain, hysteria, or fear. There may further be nervous twitchings, convulsions, partial or complete paralysis. The urine elimination may be dribbling, painful, bloody, excessive, or insignificant in quantity. The animal may have painful bowel movements or strain excessively or unsuccessfully to pass the stool.

The animal may rub on its bottom, shake its head excessively, dig at its ears, have inflamed ear membranes, or be infested with observable external or internal parasites. The skin may be laden with dandruff or scurf and show variable degrees of irritation.

These are the paramount signs of disease in dogs. It is hoped that this concise summary may serve as a simple guide to assist the owner in determining when the pet is not in a normal state of health.