Five Life-Threatening Disease Symptoms Your Dog May Be Hiding From You –What To Look For & How To Find Them

Could your pet’s life be in danger? Although our pets are very dear to us, due to the communication barriers, sometimes we can miss very important sings they are giving us regarding their health and well being. Because our furry friends are considered family, it is crucial that we treat and take care of them as such. Here are a few easy things things to be checking for regularly to ensure a long, healthy and happy life for your pets:

Disease Symptoms Addressed In This Article:


1. Excessive Drinking

What does this mean?

If your dog seems to be constantly chugging away at the water bowl, especially if he isn’t doing anything strenuous to need such rapid water intake, that is a tell-tale sign that there could be a serious underlying medical issue. Three major issues associated with excessive drinking can point to kidney failure, diabetes, or Cushing’s Disease.

How do I know if the drinking is considered excessive?

If your dog can not seem to quench his thirst, and makes more than usual stops to the water bowl you will notice a consistency in this behavior if there seems to be a problem. If your dog, however, is on the medication Prednisone, one of the indicated side effects is extreme thirst, and in this case the excessive drinking is normal. If you are unsure, call your local veterinarian and ask about your specific breed, giving details about the frequency of drinking for further advice and information.

2. Panting

Why do dogs pant?

Dogs pant as a natural way to cool off, as they do not sweat the same way people do. Panting is about 300-400 quick, short breaths a minute, and is relatively unlabored and natural.

How can I tell if my dog is panting abnormally?

If your dog is panting unnaturally, he may be doing one of the following:

  • Occuring when there is no need to cool down
  • Panting is louder, harsher, or faster than normal
  • Your dog is spending a lot of energy panting, can’t seem to catch their breath

What does excessive panting mean about my dog’s health?

Heatstroke is a very serious possibility when it comes to your dog’s excessive panting. The warmer your dog becomes, the heavier the panting. You may consider heatstroke is the cause if the symptoms are accompanied by excessive thirst, bright or dark red tongue and gums, glazed eyes, high body temperature and elevated heart-rate. Heatstroke has extremely serious and often fatal effects on a dog, so be sure to call your vet immediately if your dog is showing any of these symptoms listed above.

Pain, anxiety, and stress are often causes of excessive, deep panting. Dogs have no way to verbally communicate, so it is up to us to read their body language. If your dog is displaying very bizarre actions such as panting at random, unnecessary times, this can be considered “behavioral panting” and there are usually other signs of discomfort associated with this such as yawning repetitively, crying, whimpering, pacing, licking lips frequently, trembling, hiding, and in some extreme cases, loss of bladder or bowel control. Again, it is important to schedule a time to have your dog examined by your vet if any of this activity persists.

Anemia is when a dog has an unusually low amount of red blood cells and insufficient hemoglobin levels to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues, so he experiences oxygen starvation. Similar to lung and heart disease, anemia’s deprivation of oxygen does cause excessive panting.

Laryngeal paralysis is a disorder in where the cartilage and muscles used to open and close your dog’s larynx are not working properly. When a dog has this condition and takes a breath in, the cartilages do not open correctly, and breathing becomes very difficult and labored. The restricted airflow creates a loud, raspy panting.

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3. Bad “Dog” Breath

Let’s face it, we don’t like the smell of most any dog’s breath- however, specific smells can be tell-tale signs of medical issues lying beneath the surface.

Types of bad breath to be looking for according to

  • Unusually sweet or fruity breath could indicate diabetes, particularly if your dog has been drinking and urinating more frequently than usual.
  • Breath that smells like urine can be a sign of kidney disease.
  • An unusually foul odor accompanied by vomiting, lack of appetite, and yellow-tinged corneas or gums could signal a liver problem.

Having bad breath can be signs of GI problems, diabetes, kidney failure, dental infections, and many more harm-causing ailments.


4. Behavioral Changes – Sleeping and Eating Habits

It is important to monitor how your furry companion is conducting his or her day-to-day activities. Things as simple as sleeping-in more often or a change in appetite can prove to be significant signs your pet’s emotional or physical health is declining.

What does eating or sleeping mean for a dog’s health?

A healthy dog on average sleeps around 12-18 hours a day, but every pooch is different. If you notice your dog is excessively sleeping, or is restless, this can be signs of emotional distress or the onset of a serious medical condition.

What kind of conditions can be behind this behavior?

Common medical conditions associated with changes in sleep habit are Hypothyroidism, which is a common dog disease that might have a hand in slowing down activity. This disease attacks the thyroid gland, which is responsible for metabolism, and is treatable with medications. Another cause of sleep change is diabetes. Your vet will run tests on your dog to see if diabetes could be a possible cause for the change.

Depression is an important cause to consider as well. Dogs are very social, understanding creatures who get very attached to their loved ones, and fall quite into routine. If you have made significant changes at home recently, you may consider that your dog is feeling a little depressed and stressed out. Click here to see what you can do to help with canine depression > 


5. Dry or Itchy Skin / Licking

Everyone gets a little itchy every now and then, but there could be bigger problems associated from the itching.


Allergies – Yes, just like people, dogs can have allergic reactions to allergens in the air along with different foods they consume.

Parasites – Often dormant beneath an itchy skin condition.

Infections – It is important to check your pet’s bothered areas for open sores, wounds or places where they seem to be licking excessively.


If left untreated, these allergies can result in a skin condition called atopic dermatitis, which causes dry skin, itching, redness, and inflammation and can also lead to secondary skin infections. Flea allergy dermatitis, which is an allergic reaction to flea saliva, is the most common skin disorder in American.

Other than allergies, parasites and infections are often dormant beneath an itchy skin condition. It is important to check your pet’s bothered areas for open sores, wounds or places where they seem to be licking excessively. Open sores could be a number of things, and should be looked at by a licensed vet as soon as possible before possible infection spreads, or the open wound allows new infection in.


Anti Itch Oatmeal Spray for Dogs and Cats (Shelter Helper Recommended) – Apply liberally focusing on the dry and matted areas to provide immediate relief.

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Apple Cider Vinegar – use a 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar and water. Gently rub on skin to help alleviate itchiness.

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From The Blog

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