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Is My Dog’s Unusual Behavior a Sign of Health Issues to Worry About?


Dear VetBabble: Are My Dog’s Symptoms a Cause for Concern?

My dog has been sleeping a lot lately, won’t eat, but drinks water regularly. This morning, he had runny, dark-red stools that don’t look like blood. He is also vaccinated. Should I be worried and take him to the vet as soon as possible?

Understanding Your Dog’s Symptoms

Dogs, just like humans, can experience a variety of symptoms caused by different factors. Feeling lethargic, showing a lack of appetite, and having diarrhea are all symptoms that could indicate a potential problem. It is essential to keep an eye on your dog’s overall behavior and take note of any unusual habits they may be exhibiting. If you’re unsure how to differentiate between tiredness and lethargy, make sure to read our article on recognizing the difference between a tired and lethargic puppy.

Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs

Diarrhea in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including dietary indiscretion, stress, and infection. Dark red stools may indicate that your dog’s diarrhea is caused by something more severe, such as internal bleeding. If your dog experiences frequent episodes of diarrhea or if you notice blood in their stools, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. For more information on the potential causes of diarrhea in dogs, check out our article Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea?.

When to Worry About Your Dog’s Symptoms

While it’s normal for dogs to experience an occasional bout of diarrhea or feel tired after a long day, persistent symptoms could be a sign of a more significant problem. Here are a few indicators that might suggest a visit to the veterinarian is necessary:

  • Lethargy: If your dog’s energy levels seem lower than usual for more than a day or two, it could be an indication of an underlying issue.
  • Loss of appetite: A dog’s appetite can vary depending on their diet and exercise levels, but if they’re refusing to eat for more than 24 hours, there could be a more severe problem at play.
  • Dehydration: Dehydration can occur when a dog isn’t taking in enough water, especially if they’re experiencing diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog’s skin loses elasticity or their gums become dry and pale, it’s time to see a vet.
  • Bloody or dark red diarrhea: As mentioned earlier, dark red diarrhea may indicate internal bleeding, which requires immediate veterinary attention. Be sure to check out our article on when to worry about diarrhea in dogs to learn more.
  • Vomiting: Occasional vomiting can be normal for dogs, but if it occurs frequently or is accompanied by other symptoms, it’s important to seek veterinary care. Read up on vomiting in dogs: causes, treatment, and when to worry for more information.

In your case, the fact that your dog is experiencing multiple symptoms, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, dark red diarrhea, and dehydration, is a strong sign that you should take them to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. The vet can help determine the underlying cause of these symptoms and provide appropriate treatment options to ensure your dog’s health and wellbeing.

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