The Furry Critter Network

Canine Health Symptoms

When it comes to the health of the pet, vets are certainly the experts but you, the owner would be the “first responder”. Vets were trained to act on the symptoms but you would be in the position to know anything unusual in the appearance and in the behavior of the pet not only because of the close proximity you have with the pet but also because you know the pet much better than the vet. Owners would be upset when the pet gets sick primarily because the situation would somewhat be a guessing game. Dogs, no matter how intelligent cannot tell the owners what ails them. Dogs indeed depend on their human friends not only for their basic needs but also for their health care. As with any kind of ailment, prompt treatment is necessary to give the pet a good chance to recover fully. Dogs have the tendency to nurse what ails them - ALONE. Ailing dogs would usually hide in dark corners. It is necessary therefore for a dog owner to be a keen observer to be able to see symptoms of health concerns.

So what are the telltale signs that all is not well with the pet? Knowing the illnesses most common for a particular dog breed would be a big help. Vomiting and diarrhea are very common in dogs especially in puppies. This condition may not be a symptom of a health concern given the voracious and indiscriminate eating habits of the pet. Dogs not only have gigantic appetites, they also have the tendency to eat rotten things and spoiled food. These habits often result to diarrhea and vomiting bouts but once the dog has eliminated the unwanted substances from its system, vomiting and diarrhea will stop. Vomiting and diarrhea can be a sign of distemper, parvovirus, allergies, food poisoning and intestinal parasite infestation.

A distended and painful abdomen can mean that the pet is suffering from canine hepatitis or canine enteritis. The dog may be harboring freeloaders in its intestines. Severe roundworm infestation can cause abdominal swelling. Bloat, also known as gastric dilatation is a life threatening condition. In a few hours the pet can die if treatment is not immediately administered. Abdominal swelling that occurs when the stomach fills up with air is one of the symptoms of this health concern. Unproductive retching, shallow breathing and profuse salivation are other symptoms of bloat.

Blood in urine, incontinence and urinating difficulties can be due to urinary infection or to a blockage in the urinary tract caused by bladder stones. These symptoms can also indicate prostate enlargement, other prostate problems and kidney disease. Inflamed joints, lameness, movement difficulties are signs of canine muscle and joint problems such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation and arthritis. Musculoskeletal disorders can occur in dogs of all ages but this condition is more prevalent in aging dogs. We know that scratching is a natural behavior of dogs. Excessive scratching can be a sign that the dog is bored. It can also mean that the dog is infested with parasites.

Every dog lover should know the facts concerning the health of the pet. Knowing the symptoms of the most common canine health concerns will enable the owner to get medical help for the pet. The vet will administer the necessary treatment but it would be up to the dog owner to make the first move to save the life of the pet. Dogs are wonderful creatures. Since domestication, these animals have made a significant difference to human’s way of life. Dogs though would be entirely dependent on their human family. The kind of existence these animals would have would depend on the care provided by the owners. In spite of protective measures, canine diseases cannot be totally prevented. A fair amount of knowledge about canine illnesses will enable you to get the necessary medical attention for the pet.

Back To Canine Article Menu

Featured Rescues

"Don't Shop ... Please Adopt"

laptop pro


The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.

Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.

The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

laptop pro


If you can’t find the pet you’re looking for on Petfinder, don’t give up. Some shelters maintain waiting lists for specific breeds, so don’t be afraid to ask! There are also breed-specific rescues for just about every breed, and most of them post their pets on Petfinder. (Petfinder can even e-mail you when a pet that fits your criteria is posted — just click “Save this Search” at the top of your search results page.)

laptop pro

Rescue Me

Jeff Gold, Founder, Rescue Me! Animal Rescue Network

Jeff Gold lives in Watkinsville, Georgia on the same property as Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center, with 18 rescue animals. Shown with him in the photo to the left are Maggie, Izzie and Cortez. In 2003, after learning there was nobody doing boxer rescue work in Georgia, Gold founded Boxertown, an organization which helped find homes for over 500 boxers during its first two years. Based upon this success, Gold came up with the vision for Rescue Me! ― a network which helps all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals find good homes, anywhere in the world. is also a free service of Rescue Me! and provides the world's largest and most up-to-date directory of animal rescue organizations for all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals, including a comprehensive directory of wildlife rehabilitators in over 150 countries.