Signs that your dog may be unwell

Signs that your dog may be unwell

It is important to know how a dog behaves normally to ensure that you can notice behavioural changes which may indicate something is not right with them.

One of the first things you may notice if a dog is in pain or unwell, is any sudden changes in their behaviour.  The dog may start acting out of character, become anxious, seem stressed, lethargic, not willing to exercise, refusing to eat or drink, eating more or less than usual, become bad tempered or aggressive.

There could also be physical signs for example, struggling to get up, breathing differently, excessive panting, coughing, sneezing, pacing, limping, gait, pain when touched in a certain area, scooting their bottom across the floor, have difficulty urinating or defecating.

Continuous loose stools, diarrhoea, repetitive vomiting, sudden weight loss, a housetrained dog toileting inside, excessive itching, head shaking, and hair loss are all good indicators that a dog may be unwell.

Warning signs of neurological disorders can include aggressive behaviour, seizures, walking unusually or in circles, issues with balance or coordination, gait, lameness or flaccid paralysis, a housetrained dog toileting inside or blindness.

If your dog is experiencing any of the listed behaviours or symptoms, please consult your vet for advice on what steps to take next.



1. BCCS (2019) ‘Unit One of the Accredited Canine Health and Nutrition Course’
2. PDSA (2020) ‘Taking care of your pet’ –
3. VetStreet (2020) ‘Seven warning signs your dog might be sick’ –
4. MatthewsOpenAccess (2016) ‘Behavioural signs and neurological disorders in cats and dogs’ –
5. Sevneurology (2020) ‘Neurological disorders dogs treatable’ –

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