25 Top Symptoms in Dogs

Here are the top 25 dog symptoms most people are concerned about

While there are more than hundreds of symptoms in dogs that can get us worried, these are the most common


  • Bad breath –  is doggie breath that is very stinky! When our dog’s breath really smells, there could be an underlying issue.We can mask it with breath fresheners, drops or brushing their teeth with scented toothpaste for dogs, but in the end there is a reason for the dog symptoms they are experiencing. Some of the reasons for the offensive breath could be gingivitis, periodontitis, abscessed teeth, lung disease or kidney disease, tumors in the mouth or something stuck in the mouth.
  • Panting  – is the dogs primary method of cooling itself. It can also be a result of fear, stress, pain and disease or overheating. It is important to watch how rapidly your dog is panting to address if it needs medical attention.
  • Diarrhea – can be chronic. These symptoms in dogs can lead to weight loss and  essential nutrients not being absorbed. When diarrhea persists for 3 or 4 days, it can be from bacterial infections, intestinal parasites, fungal infections, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, blockages or a host of other reasons. Check for mucus or blood in the stool and contact your veterinarian if your dogs diarrhea persists. Letting diarrhea go on can lead to death.
  • Coughing – in dogs is just like we do to remove an offending particle or obstruction in the throat. Coughs that last for a few weeks are more serious. This can be from bronchitis, heart-worm disease, lung tumors, kennel cough or heart failure among a number of other reasons. As always, if a cough persists consult with your veterinarian.
    Constipation – can cause your dog distress and pain. When the dog has difficulty passing stool it is usually dietary, environmental, or from drugs and medication. Sometimes it can be from neurological, endocrine or metabolic diseases. If a dog receives fiber in their food every day and regular exercise, they usually will have no problem with regular bowel movements.
  • Depression– can be from a variety of influences. If there has been a change in the household, a family pet deceased, an illness, a divorce, or a move, this can all lead to behavioral changes in your dog. Dogs are  very sensitive to their surroundings and will pick up on the energy of their owners and mirror back what they are projecting. Pain can be another reason for depression in dogs. Watch closely to the symptoms of dogs to find what  the underlying cause may be.
  • Vomiting – can be very minor or very serious.

    • These symptoms in dogs can be secondary to an underlying disease such as cancer, diabetes, kidney failure or an infectious disease. If a dog appears lethargic or continues to vomit and does not want to eat, then it is important to see a veterinarian. This condition can lead to death if not looked after promptly.


    • Drinking or Urinating a lot – can be from several different diseases. If your dog has an excessive thirst or is having to urinate constantly, they could be suffering from a variety of illnesses. Some of these diseases are diabetes, kidney failure, liver disease, pituitary gland problems, thyroid issues, an infection or a urinary obstruction. There are many more potential reasons for the dog symptoms and tests would need to be done to rule out what is causing the condition.
    • Red Eyes – can be caused from inflammation in the eye, glaucoma, diseases of the external eyelids, conjunctiva or cornea. Usually the symptoms in dog will be redness, squinting, pawing at the eye, tearing of the eye, increased blinking or a discharge from the eyes. Other dog symptoms could be cloudiness of the eye or a decrease in vision. Another possibility is that the dog scraped the cornea and it is irritated. Always check with your veterinarian if the condition persists.
    • Flatulence – is also described as gas or farts. Some gas production is normal but when it is constant and foul smelling it is a reason for concern. Usually swallowing of air from eating too quickly will cause these symptoms of dogs. Diets that are high in fiber can also cause gas in dogs. When the flatulence is foul smelling, it could be malabsorption issues with their food. If they are eating a low grade food they can suffer from poor digestion and inadequate nutrient uptake. Other concerns could be gastrointestinal cancer, lymphosarcoma or inflammatory bowel disease. Allergies to certain foods can also be the cause of these symptoms in dogs.
    • Hair Loss – occurs in all dogs with the exception of those breeds who do not shed. Hormones will affect a dog’s hair growth as well as their diet. A deficiency in the hormone thyroxine will result in the thinning of the coat. Antibiotics, allergies, mange and other fungal infections can lead to dog hair loss and a thinning coat.
    • Hearing Loss – affects many older dogs. Deafness in dogs can result from neurological issues, waxy buildup or ear infections, drug toxicity, or inherited abnormalities. Most owners notice symptoms in dogs when the dog is not responding to verbal commands. Many dog symptoms involve shaking the head or pawing at their ears and responding only when they can see you. Most older dogs will gradually develop a hearing deficit but it does not make them unable to function and lead a full life.
    • Lameness – in any dog can result from trauma, a life-threatening condition, or an underlying illness. Should your dog become lame on one or more of their limbs you need to check out the underlying cause. A dog that cries out in pain upon moving is needing medical attention. A reluctance to go up and down stairs could indicate arthritis in the knees or even hip dysplasia. This dog symptom could be only a strained muscle or too hard a playout with their friend. Monitor your dog and determine when it is sore and to what degree. Get it checked by a professional if necessary.
    • Lethargy – can be caused by an underlying disease or it could just be a state that an animal is in due to not feeling totally well. Some causes for concern are electrolyte abnormalities, inflammation or infection, anemia,  heart or respiratory disorders. These symptoms in dogs can relate to a wide array of conditions. Keep a watch on your dog for changes in their demeanor, a reluctance to play, tremors, weakness of any kind and changes in levels of consciousness. There are so many reasons why your dog could be feeling lethargic.
    • Sneezing – is normal for all dogs. Sometimes a sneeze can result in a reversed sneeze which sounds frightening but is really harmless. When sneezing is chronic then we need to worry. If your dog has a constant running nose afterwards or has a blood tinged discharge, then see a veterinarian. Sometimes a foreign body can cause this symptom in dogs. Viral infections, tumors, fungal infections and seasonal allergies and sinus disease can all be causing the sneezing. Most often, it is something fairly normal.
    • Obesity – is the most common condition in our society and it usually always relates back to the nutrition a dog is being fed. The main reasons for obesity are overeating and lack of exercise. An overweight dog can not function very well with its breathing or with its mobility. Obesity places an enormous amount of stress upon the dog’s joints and respiratory system. An overweight dog needs more exercise, food reduction and limited treats.  Seldom is it due to a thyroid imbalance or other imbalance in their body.
    • Pain – symptoms of dogs should never be ignored. Pain in any form needs to be dealt with and its cause determined. There are so many reasons for a  dog to be suffering from pain and recognizing it as soon as possible is important. Is the pain asociated with trauma, exposure to heat or extreme cold, spasms of tissues, joints or ligament strains, inflammation of tissues or gastrointestinal disorders. Most dogs will tend to hide their discomfort because that is how they survived in the wild. If your dog symptoms involve pain, have a veterinarian look into it immediately.
    • Stool Eating – in dogs is usually caused from a lack of digestive enzymes or hydrochloric acid. The feeding of poor quality diets or genetic flaws can also lead to this condition. A dog who is not assimilating their food well will turn to other sources and this can involve other stool for nutrients. A trace mineral deficiency could play a role in this dog symptom. Supplementing with a digestive enzyme could help as well as changing their food to a much higher quality.
    • Scratching – can be associated with allergies, bacterial skin infections, skin parasites and yeast infections. Sometimes if a dog is bathed too often it can lead to dry skin and cause irritations, or the shampoo used is an irritant itself. Flea allergies can also lead to incessant scratching and secondary skin infections. Scratching symptoms in dogs can lead to a whole host of reasons and ruling out allergies or fleas  is a good first choice.
    • Hot Spots – is a condition that can really get out of hand if not dealt with promptly. This condition is known as wet eczema and has open sores that your dog continually licks and bites, making it worse. Some say this is caused by internal stress, a food allergy or the body trying to rid itself of toxins. Be sure to deal with these right away or they can get pretty nasty and infected.Download the Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs
    • Lumps or Bumps – on a dog can be fairly common. Many of these are just a nodule on the skin, an abcess or cyst, or a lipoma which is an accumulation of fat. Some lumps can be cancerous and all of them should be checked. Pay attention to the bump if it is growing or bleeding. Watch  if the color has changed or if it is where an injury occurred. Stay on top of any lump you find on your dog. Get a veterinarian to check it for malignancy or it could lead your dog to death. I explain all about this in Chapter three in The Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs.
    • Odors – in dogs can be from bacterial skin infections or antibiotic use. Odor symptoms in dogs can have an underlying condition  and  needs to be checked. Some cancers can have a very pungent odor and is detectable by the smell. Of course if the dog has been outside and is wet, we all know what wet dog odor smells like. If there is an unusual odor coming from your dog, have it checked. I explain in Chapter three about how my dog developed a very strong odor when she got cancer and it is a smell I will never forget.
    • Scooting – around on the floor or in the yard is the dog symptoms you will see with impacted anal glands. This is the most likely reason your dog will do this and other reasons would be allergies, fleas, itching, hair mats and skin parasites. If your dog is dragging  their hind end around on the floor or there is a foul odor from the anal area, chances are likely they have a condition that needs to be dealt with.
    • Urinary Incontinence – in a dog can result from an abnormality at birth or from hormonal imbalances. Urinary tract infections, bladder stones and weakness of the sphincter mechanism can also cause this. It is important to have the condition checked and any infection ruled out. Dogs which are spayed sometimes develop this condition.
    • Straining to Defecate – is very obvious when seen in your dog. It can be very painful and can indicate a more serious illness is present. There are a multitude of reasons for these dog symptoms and they range from constipation being the most common one to cancers and herniation. Disorders of the prostate, infections, foreign bodies, fractures and strictures are  all possible causes for the painful and strained defecation. Dietary being the most common reason for this condition is also one of the simplest to correct. Don’t let this dog symptom go unchecked.


What dog symptom concerns you? Share your comments and information below.

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16 Responses to 25 Top Symptoms in Dogs

  • Breanna Thompson says:

    My dog hurt her leg walking down the steps this morning, when that happened she cried out a lot and my mom gave her some pain relieving medicine but it didn’t seem to do anything. Throughout the entire day she stayed in one spot a lot and is panting constantly, she is also shaking slightly and has a runny nose. I put ice on her leg for about 10 minutes and it seemed to help slightly but she won’t stop panting. What should I do?

  • helga says:

    Hi Breanna,
    Has your dog had surgery on her leg? Is it her forelimb or hind limb? Has she had cruciate surgery? I do not know your full circumstances so am in the dark. I will say, that if your dog is panting like that she is in pain and stressed. I would get her to a vet in case she injured something or re-injured a procedure that was done. What kind of pain medicine did your mom give her? If it was Metacam she would be relieved of her pain and not still distressed. It is not worth second guessing and putting her or yourself through agonizing questions about if she did or did not hurt herself. Please take your dog to your vet and make sure she is okay. Please let me know what happened and the outcome. Don’t beat yourself up, accidents happen. I sincerely hope she is fine and that it was just a scare. I wish you all the luck!

  • deirdra williams says:

    My dog seems to be hyper active. She just gets into these frenzys. When u tell her to stop something she challenges u by biting and jumpin around on u. U can’t walk without her biting and jumpin on u. If I leave her site and close the door she barks and won’t listen to stop. She drinks and pees a lot and she also drinks her pee and eats poop. She’s 8mons. French bulldog. Nothin I’m doing works. Please any idea what can be wrong???

  • helga says:

    Hi Deirdra,
    It sounds like your little bulldog is having the young puppy insanity switch go off in her head each day or night. All young puppies have a little moment in the day and / or night where it is like a switch goes off in their brain and they run around like nut cases and are totally wound up. It is a brief moment of insanity that kicks in! I say insanity, however it is perfectly normal. If she is behaving hyperactive, she may not be getting all the energy spent that needs to be burnt off each day. Sometimes this can lead to anxiety or stress which can cause them to eat their own poop or even their own urine. If a dog has a nutritional imbalance they will also eat the stool of other animals. Usually they are lacking in a digestive enzyme of some sort. Sometimes behavior modification trainers are the route you may need to go. If she is crate trained, you can do a time out in the crate and wait her out till the barking stops. After she has settled, give it 10 or 15 minutes and let her out and praise her for being good. Once she understands that being calm she gets rewarded, she will be that way more often. Never use a crate for punishment. They will associate it as something not good then. Perhaps seek out a trainer that can help you with her and make sure she gets her energy spent each day, but being careful to not overdo it since she is still so young and her growth plates are not finished yet. You don’t need her to have a knee injury or hip injury! Create a daily routine of exercise and obedience and then down time in the crate. It will help her understand what is expected of her and look for a trainer who uses positive reinforcement. All the best of luck!

  • jason says:

    hi my female staffy marly has been panting for a long time almost since I got her I was just sitting wwith her and noticed a clear liquid coming from her nose iv done a bit of cheking myself on the net and found that there could be some thing wrong with her I very concerned any insight you could offer would be appreciated emencley kind regard jason ianna
    p.s there has been no blood or sneezing

  • helga says:

    Hi Jason,
    Your girl could have an allergy to something. If she is not sneezing and not having nose bleeds which can be serious in nature, it sounds like an allergic reaction to some substance. This could be something she is eating, her bedding material, or even the possibility of a grass spear stuck up her nostril. If she is panting continuously and has a clear nasal discharge 24/7 then I would get her checked by a holistic vet. Dogs will have a runny nose at times but not always. Dogs pant to cool down, from anxiety, from stress, from nervousness, from excitement, and anticipation. More information is needed to come up with a conclusion on how come she is behaving like this and has a nasal discharge. Please get her checked by a vet for her and your best interest. They are our precious companions and we need to ensure nothing serious is happening. I wish you all the best…

  • emy says:

    my dog’s been having diarrhea for over 6 weeks and had hind leg weakness and wasn’t able to walk until three weeks ago but the diarrhea is chronic. All tests r negative. Over $3000 in vet bills and still no cure for the diarrhea. She was suspected of having polyradiculoneuritis. I just wish someone could help me!!

  • delia guzman says:

    my puppy is 7-8 weeks old. he was not doing well when i got him, but i couldnt leave him with the lady that was selling him for 300.00 and with noticiable signs of abuse. he ate and drank as if he never had anything before. He started to do really well once we had him vet checked and was playing a couple of days after all his vaccinations. then all of a sudden, he started to sound as if he had fluid in his lungs, straining to poop, then green diarrehha, didnt want to eat, and couldnt walk. he had no strength. what can this be? I gave him some peanut butter and a sip of water then he seemed to be okay for now. he is sleeping now. Im going to see how he does today then i will take him in the am to the vet since there is no animal hospital close. has anyone been thru or seen this in a puppy that im sure was not old enough to be away from his mama. he only weighed a little over a lb when i saved him.

  • helga says:

    Hi Emy,
    I am sorry for your issue! I do not feel it is polyradiculoneuritis basing it on the diarrhea and hind limb weakness. She needs to see a vet and if you can a holistic one. Diarrhea is usually pointing to a digestive unbalance or an allergy of some sort to food or environmental. I am not a vet and I think you need to get her into a place where some testing is done to determine if it is diet related. Sometimes if a spine is out of alignment it can cause these symptoms. Possibly an adjustment could cure it all? Again, I am not a vet so suggest you get in to see a holistic vet if you can. All the best…

  • helga says:

    Hi Delia,
    First of all, a puppy weighing only a pound is incredible to survive. Thanks for rescuing this precious baby! He needs to be thoroughly checked over by a holistic vet if you can get him to one. Be careful in vaccinating him because his immune system may not be up to it given his circumstances. He definitely needs TLC and good nutrition and hopefully that will help with the diarrhea and his digestive system. Best of luck and keep close tabs on your little miracle!

  • Charity says:

    my lab and part something weighs 106 she is very fat.anyways she has a hot spot on her ankle or above on leg and itgets worse ive tried treating it but now she has this god aweful smell to her .too me it smells like death .she’s only 4 yrs old ….please give me some advice .thanks

  • helga says:

    Hi Charity
    If your dog has a hot spot that smells foul, it probably has an infection now. She will need antibiotics if that is the case. Please get her to a vet and they will shave the fur or cut the fur away around the area and clean it up and then treat her with the right antibiotics. For future reference, hot spots can be remedied with Dr. Dobias Healing Solution which is all natural. Good luck!

  • kirsty green says:

    my 12 year old maltese x shitzu ran away and 3 days later I got him back from the impound. Ever since then hes been having a lot of poo accidents inside, which he normally doesnt, he has runny poo mostly, blood in his poo, today his poo has a green tinge to it… Any help as to what it might be? I have been feeding him only dry food in the hope it will settle his timmy but will be taking him to the vet if it continues,been going for 4 days now :(

  • Louise says:

    My puppy is 6 weeks old and we brought him home a couple days ago. He was doing really good and is already kennel trained and soar potty trained. He seems to have extreme constipation but when he does poop, it’s soft and a little runny. He has had his deworm stuff so I don’t think it’s that. Also his eyes are getting extremely red on the sides. We live in an apartment complex and I don’t know if he could of picked something up from another dog or what’s going on. He tries to eat the grass but I don’t want him to as he hasn’t had his shots because he’s too young. Please help he’s my only friend as I just moved here because my fiancé is in the army. I don’t know what I would do without him. :(

  • helga says:

    Hi Kirsty,
    Please get him to a vet. If he has blood tinged stool there is a reason and it needs to be treated. Feeding dry food will not solve the underlying issue here. if your dog has chronic diarrhea get him looked at asap. He could have gotten an intestinal parasite, bacterial infection or it came about from undue stress. All the best with your dog!

  • helga says:

    Hi Louise,
    Sorry to hear of your little darling! The deworming can give runny poop initially. The red eyes and eating of grass sounds like a reaction to something he is either eating or to an allergy in the environment. Eating grass is if their stomach is upset. Your puppy is so young to have all this and I would get him to a vet to be on the safe side of things. His immune system is not built up yet and he is susceptible to contracting something if he has been around other dogs or walked on the ground and picked up something. He should be looked at by a vet asap. Hang in there, he will be fine if you get him checked and find out what is troubling him. All the best and keep me posted!

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