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The downside of dog ownership is that communication can sometimes be a guessing game. This is particularly true when your dog is not feeling well. Sometimes your dog may be “off” – not as energetic or acting odd. This may be nothing, but it could signify a serious health issue. Educating yourself on the signs indicating all is not right with your dog can mean the difference between life and death.

Dog lying on the couch.


If your dog's belly starts to swell for no apparent reason, this could be an indication that it is suffering from Bloat – a condition in which the abdomen fills with gas to the point that it will become tight enough to play like a drum. This is a severe condition as it can decrease its circulation and must be treated by a vet immediately.

Dog being examined by the vet.


Often related to heart disease, fainting can occur when your dog gets excited, and its heart has failed to pump enough blood to its brain. Fainting can also be caused by low glucose levels in the blood, which is often a result of strenuous exercise. Either way, if your dog faints, take him to the vet ASAP.

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When a dog falls over for no apparent reason, it can indicate an inner ear infection. This is very treatable and can be cured with a trip to the vet and a course of antibiotics.

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One of the most common summer ailments dogs suffer from is heatstroke. This can come on very rapidly, even if your dog has not been outside in the heat for a prolonged period. If your dog shows any of the following signs, move him to a shady spot and pour cool water all over his body and then take it to the vet immediately:

  • Heavy panting,
  • Glazed eyes,
  • Rapid pulse,
  • Bright red gums,
  • Unsteadiness,
  • Vomiting.
Dog in front of the fan.


A dog can suffer from four different types of shock: hypovolemic, cardiac, neurogenic, and septic. All four exhibit similar symptoms, including:

  • Pale mucous membranes (inside the mouth, gums, eyes, etc.),
  • Weakness,
  • Rapid pulse,
  • Tangible loss of heat to the extremities, particularly the ears.

The most common type of shock is hypovolemic, occurring when there is not enough blood circulating throughout the body. The cause can include internal or external bleeding or poor circulation. Cardiac shock occurs when the heart cannot pump blood fast enough. Neurogenic shock, although rare, can occur when the dog suffers a massive brain or spinal cord injury. Septic shock occurs when an infection has reached the bloodstream.

Dog lying down on the sofa.

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms or experiences any injury that can cause shock, take it to the vet immediately.

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