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Taking care of a pet is a lot of work. And while doing your best to look after your dog to decrease their chances of getting sick is important, it’s only part of the battle. Ensuring you’re well-versed in dog health issues and symptoms is just as important.

Knowing important symptoms like why dogs get hiccups may seem inconsequential, but it could help you determine if your pet needs a drink of water or a trip to the vet. Looking after your pet isn’t easy, but by finding out key facts about dog health and wellness, you are one step closer to being dog parent of the year.

Ways Your Pet Shows They Have a Medical Issue

While your pet can’t speak to you, they can communicate to you how they feel through their body language. The most obvious way they’ll try to get your attention to an ailment is if your dog starts whining all of a sudden.

They could either be whining when lifting an injured limb due to the sharp pain they’re feeling or whining as a general tell that they’re anxious or stressed. To determine if your pup has a bigger physical problem, it’s important to look at accompanying symptoms.

Health Issues Related to Food

Do you know how long a dog can go without eating? Well, it depends on the size of your canine, but for small dogs, it can be as little as 12 hours. This may be another way for your pet to communicate to you that something is wrong with them.

While their reasoning can be as small as them just being fussy eaters, the cause can range to issues as serious as organ failure. But, if you notice your pet not eating (or being able to keep food down) for more than a few hours, it can’t hurt to take them to the vet.

It’s also important to know how long a dog can go without water because this is a more serious issue. While dogs can go almost a whole day without eating anything, they can only go a short while without water before it turns into a serious medical issue. Similarly, excessively drinking water can also be an issue.

Again, why they’re not drinking water may also be part of the reasoning. Thankfully, there are a few quick ways to see if they’re dehydrated, like if your dog is panting and restless, vomiting, or if their eyes are cloudy.

Skin Issues

It’s not uncommon for dogs to have skin conditions throughout their lives. This can be brought on by things like the seasons changing, skin infections, or possibly even due to fleas. 

The tell-tale sign of a skin condition is if your dog constantly scratches or seems itchy. You may also notice red and inflamed skin. If it bothers them, patches of their fur might be missing too.

If your dog’s skin issues are brought on by allergies, you might also notice that your dog’s nose is dry and they’re sneezing too. This can easily be cured by taking your pet to the vet and getting allergy medication.

However, if you notice any skin issues that bother your pet, you should take them to the vet for a check-up.

Head Issues

Head issues can range from cognitive problems to head injuries. Similarly to humans, a cognitive issue can also be the cause of an eventual head injury.

Some dog breeds, like Papillons, Chihuahuas, and French Bulldogs, are predisposed to cognitive issues like dementia. It’s difficult to say how long a dog’s memory is, but if you notice your pet staring at blank spaces, is confused, or disoriented, that could be the first signs of dementia. Thankfully, this is mainly in older dogs. 

Ear Issues

If you notice your dogs shaking their heads or scratching their ears, it could be a tell-tale sign of an ear infection. Other signs of ear infections are discharge, debris around the ear canal, and an odd smell in their ears.

Border Collies, Labradoodles, and Basset Hounds are among the breeds most likely to get ear infections. This can be quite painful for your pet if serious. But, it could also be allergies. So, if the problem doesn’t resolve itself within a few days,  it’s best to take them for a visit to the vet.

Digestive Issues

Pets can exhibit very odd (and sometimes disgusting) behaviors to their humans, like dogs eating poop. But, while it may seem odd, these actions are just underlying symptoms of a bigger issue. If a dog is eating their stool, it could mean that they aren’t getting the nutrients they need from their daily meals. 

This lack of nutrients, in turn, causes digestive issues and could also link to another odd behavior. A good example of this is when dogs eat their vomit. If you change your pet’s diet unexpectedly or they have food allergies, it is not unlikely for your pet to regurgitate their meal.

If this happens once in a while, that’s okay. Like with humans, sometimes high-stress situations or anxiety can cause your digestive system to act up. The best is to remove your pet from the environment and monitor them for any other odd behaviors.

If their vomiting is accompanied by bloating, your dog drooling, or your dog is pacing, it could be signs of something more serious. In these instances, a vet is the safest option.

Urinary Issues

As puppies move into adolescence, they may have an accident or two while potty training. But if you’re left wondering, “Why is my dog peeing on my bed?” It may be a sign of urinary issues.

Elderly female dogs are more prone to get urinary tract infections (UTIs) compared to their male counterparts. And, if you notice your dog smells like fish, it might be a sign of a UTI. Other symptoms of urinary issues also include blood in their stool or pee, your pet being very thirsty, and possibly whining when relieving themselves.