Age being a major factor that helps your dog combat illness and stay mentally as well as physically healthy. Your dog cannot obviously describe symptoms to you, but they can show you signs of disease.

Awareness of the signs of the most common diseases is one way to help reduce your pet’s risk of being affected by them. It’s a little scary to consider that at least 10% of pets that appear healthy to their owners and their veterinarians during annual check-ups have underlying diseases.

People can also spread some diseases (such as mange, ringworm, kennel cough and canine influenza) from dog to dog through shared brushes, collars, bedding, etc. or by petting or handling an infected dog before petting or handling another dog. 

Signs of illness:

  1. Bad breath or drooling
  2. Excessive drinking or urination
  3. Appetite change associated with weight loss or gain
  4. Change in activity level (e.g., lack of interest in doing things they once did)
  5. Stiffness or difficulty in rising or climbing stairs
  6. Sleeping more than normal, or other behaviour or attitude changes 
  7. Coughing, sneezing, excessive panting, or laboured breathing
  8. Dry or itchy skin, sores, lumps, or shaking of the head
  9. Frequent digestive upsets or change in bowel movements
  10. Dry, red, or cloudy eyes

Preventive care screening not only helps to detect disease in its earlier stages, when it is most likely to respond to treatment, it also can help you avoid significant medical expense and risk to your dog’s health if an illness goes undetected. For more information about preventive testing, contact your veterinarian—your best resource for information about the health and well-being of your pet.