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Just for Kids: How to Tell If Your Dog is Sick

By: Virginia Wells

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One day you might notice that your dog is acting "funny." Sometimes a dog can be sick for days before you know about it. Sometimes the best way to tell that your dog is sick is to learn everything about your dog so that you will know when he isn't feeling well. You should know how he sleeps, eats and plays. And if anything changes, tell your parents.

Here are some other things to watch for:

  • Eating. If you notice that your pet is refusing food, he might be getting sick. Sometimes that is one of the first signs. Dogs may sometimes eat less in hot weather, but if it continues more than a few days, tell your parents to call the veterinarian.

  • Drinking. You may notice that your dog is drinking a lot. This is not normal – unless the weather is hot. If your doggie is really lapping up a lot of water, he may need to see a veterinarian.

  • Red gums or eyelids. Your dog's gums and eyelids should be pink. If they are red it might be allergies. Or if your dog has other signs of illness, like vomiting, it might be something serious.

  • Panting. Dogs pant when they are trying to cool off. But they also pant when they are in pain or if they are having trouble breathing.

  • Coughing or hacking. Your dog might cough if he has a virus, but if he is also panting and doesn't want to eat, it might be something serious. Tell your parents to call your veterinarian.

  • Urinating. If your dog has trouble going, or if his urine is very dark, there might be a problem. This might mean he needs to see a veterinarian.

  • Diarrhea. Dogs often get diarrhea from eating something they shouldn't. But if he has a fever or is vomiting, too, then he might need to see a veterinarian.

  • Appearance. If you dog doesn't feel well, he might look different. His ears might be droopy and his coat might be dull and dry.

  • Attitude. Dog's that don't feel well often want to sleep more and don't want to play. They often just lay around.

    There may be other things you notice. If you are If your dog is sick, you need to take him to see the veterinarian right away. Sometimes if you wait too long, your pet might get a lot sicker. Also, be careful handling your dog if he is sick. Although he may not mean to but he might try to bite if he is in pain or not feeling well.

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