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The Most Common Dog Illnesses: Symptom Checker

The Most Common Dog Illnesses: Symptom Checker

There will be times that our beloved canine companions are feeling under the weather, but how do we know when to be concerned and what they might be experiencing? Our Bedford vets share some of the most common dog illnesses and provide a symptoms checker to compare their symptoms to help determine when to seek care.

How To Know What My Dog's Symptoms Mean?

There are many symptoms that can be quite common among multiple conditions such as scratching or lethargy. Below our Bedford vets discuss some of the most common illnesses and conditions that your dog may experience and what symptoms they may have if they do suffer from any of these illnesses.

The Most Common Dog Illnesses

Below are some of the most common conditions that our vets in Bedford see on a regular basis:


Parvovirus is a serious life-threatening viral disease that is also extremely contagious. Common symptoms include severe vomiting, lethargy, dehydration and a lack of appetite, and bloody diarrhea.

This illness can spread to any animal, person or even object that touches an infected dog's feces. The best possible way for you to protect your dog from this disease is by ensuring they are vaccinated for parvovirus.

If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, you will need to contact your vet immediately. Parvovirus can be fatal.


Diabetes is a complex disease that can not only affect humans but affect our dogs as well. The exact cause is unknown and there are a variety of symptoms, including lethargy and dehydration.

Type I diabetes is considered the most common form for dogs and requires your pet to undergo insulin therapy to survive.

Luckily, this illness is considered to be a manageable disorder once diagnosed — but untreated, diabetes can lead to additional health problems, like cataracts, coma and even death.

If you notice any of the symptoms of diabetes in your dog then it is imperative to contact your vet as soon as possible to set up an examination for your dog.


Despite the name, ringworm isn't a type of worm at all, it is actually a type of fungus. This fungal infection is also very infectious and so great should be taken to protect yourself and other humans and pets in the home if your dog becomes infected.

This illness can cause skin lesions or patchy bald spots, but a dog can also carry the fungus without showing any symptoms whatsoever. 

Ringworm can spread quickly to other animals and even infect humans. Bring your pet in to see the vet if they are showing any of these symptoms.

Ear Infections

Ear infections are one of the most common conditions seen in dogs and can have various causes. Typical symptoms can include repeated scratching, ear odor and a lack of balance.

While in most cases, your vet will be able to quickly clear up the infection through cleaning and medication, serious chronic infections can ultimately require surgery. One of the most common symptoms — head shaking — can also be so forceful that it can rupture vessels within the ear.

If your dog is shaking their head more frequently or violently than normal, you should make an appointment for a check-up. Your vet will diagnose your dog and recommend the necessary treatment to get your dog feeling great again.

Kennel Cough

Similar to a chest cold in humans, this disease occurs when respiratory infections cause inflammation to your dog's windpipe and voice box. Dogs with kennel cough will have a dry, hacking cough that can sometimes bring up foamy phlegm or nasal discharge.

Kennel cough often clears up on its own, but is another illness that is very contagious for other dogs. If you think your pet has kennel cough, you should immediately isolate him or her from other dogs and call your vet.

Symptom Checker For Dog Illnesses

While it would be nice if our pets could tell us when they don't feel well, their inability to speak means it's up to us to notice whenever they seem a little under the weather or are behaving unusually. Although this list does not cover all symptoms of illness in dogs, it may help you to spot the signs when your dog isn't feeling well.

Symptoms of serious illness in dogs can include:

  • Uncharacteristic changes in personality such as sudden aggression, short fuse, or lack of interest in play
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Constipation (could indicate an obstruction which is an emergency situation)
  • Accidents in the house when your dog has always been well trained
  • Repeated bouts of diarrhea
  • Repeated bouts of vomiting 
  • Breathing difficulties including coughing, congestion, wheezing, or uncharacteristic snoring
  • Bluish tinge to the lips, tongue and mouth
  • Lack of appetite
  • Relentless itching, scratching, licking or pawing at a particular spot on their body
  • Pawing at eyes
  • Seizures
  • Hiding, resisting being touched
  • Whimpering
  • Tail tucked and ears down

If your dog is showing any of the symptoms listed above, or behaving in a manner that gives you cause for concern, it's time to call your vet. When it comes to your dog's health it is always best to err on the side of caution.

Catching and treating a condition in the earliest stages could save you money in the long run and save your dog from having to deal with a condition that has become more advanced.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you think your dog may be experiencing the symptoms of one of the conditions listed above? Prompt treatment is key. Book an appointment with our Bedford vets today.

We're accepting new patients! Book your pet's first appointment today.

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