dog not feeling well

Signs To Tell Your Dog is Not Feeling Well

Recently, my dog seemed incredibly tired after a fairly normal day. I was trying to figure out if I should call the vet but before doing that, I decided research just how to tell if your dog is not feeling well. Below are a few tell-tale signs to be on the lookout for.

Color of Gums – Pale Gums Can Indicate Your Dog Is Not Feeling Well

Did you know that your dog’s gum color should always be a light pinkish red? If you notice that their gums are more pale or white in color, this is cause for concern. Pale gums can indicate systemic issues such as anemia and blood loss.

It’s best to monitor gum color for a few hours and call your vet if the coloration does not return to normal.

You can check out what healthy gums versus unhealthy look like here.

Bowel Movements

Bowel movements are one of the easiest ways to see if your dog is feeling unwell.  Loose or watery stool can indicate bowel irritation and difficulties digesting. Often times, owners will notice bowel movements to be encased in mucus. Constipation can also occur directly after bowel irritation or as a result of not drinking enough fluids. Keeping hydrated is the most important thing for your dog while they weather these symptoms.  Call the veterinarian when irregular bowels continue longer than 48 hours.

Energy Level

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if your dog is just tired or is really suffering from an underlying condition. With age, energy typically tends to decrease but it’s cause for concern if you see a sudden and drastic change in behavior. If you notice a noticeable difference in your dog’s energy level, the most likely causes are improper nutritional balance, systemic illness or muscle pain. All of these conditions merit a trip to the vet for a more thorough, diagnostic evaluation.


If your dog is like mine, then they are always hungry! That’s why one of the easiest ways to tell if your dog is not feeling well, is by their appetite. Occasionally, dogs can even exhibit pain while eating. Dental disease or a broken or rotten tooth typically cause this pain.

Separation anxiety can impact appetite as well. It is fairly common for a dog not to eat unless their owner is home with them. Sometimes, dogs choose to avoid food and treats all together when they are put in unfamiliar or stressful surroundings like a kennel.

Lastly, and most commonly, dogs loose their appetite due to an underlying illness or stomach upset.


Perhaps the most concerning characteristic a dog can exhibit, is a sudden change in temperament. A once happy-go-lucky dog, turns impulsive and easily irritated. Dogs typically indicate pain by becoming more snippy or in some cases, more lethargic. Muscle pain can also be the cause of irritation when petting a dog.

If you are worried about your dog’s health or overall demeanor, we encourage you to reach out to your veterinarian.

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