10 Signs Your Puppy Needs a Trip to the Vet

People love to interact on dog forums.  For those who have time to “chat” with doggy friends, forums can be a great place to go for information.

If there’s one thing that makes me cringe when reading a forum, it’s when someone has come on and described what could be a fairly serious health problem for their dog or puppy and other members are providing input as to what it could be and what the owner should do.

A recent one was a dog owner describing how her puppy was listless and the pup’s urine was very dark brown.  Participants joined in with theories about the possible causes of the abnormally colored urine.

Maybe I’m simple-minded, but there was only one appropriate message for this puppy owner: “Take your dog to the vet right now!”

Here are 10 signs your puppy needs a trip to the veterinarian.

  1. Diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation.
  2. Fever.  A  puppy’s temperature should be 100 – 102.5 degrees.  The temperature of newborn puppies is lower (about 94 degrees) and it gradually increases over time.
  3. Refusing food or water.
  4. Signs of pain (whines, cries, bites/snaps if touched, can’t move, limps, won’t get up).
  5. Breathing problems, such as wheezing, coughing, panting, or gagging.
  6. Discharge from the eyes or nose.
  7. Urine/bladder problems (straining to urinate, bloody urine, abnormally colored urine, or excessive urination).
  8. Injuries (swelling, cuts, bleeding, or puncture wounds).
  9. Activity level changes (very hyperactive behavior or lethargic/listless behavior).
  10. Unusual odor from the mouth or ears.

Readers, are there any other signs I’ve missed?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

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About Canine Good Citizen

AKC Canine Good Citizen Director, Author of the AKC's official CGC book, "CITIZEN CANINE"
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13 Responses to 10 Signs Your Puppy Needs a Trip to the Vet

  1. Christine says:

    One would think it’s common sense to take your pet to the vet if there is an obvious problem, but it truly is amazing how little common sense people exhibit where their pets are concerned. Your neighbor Bob or your cousin or a random person who gave you an opinion are not trained VETERINARY professionals, so why would you listen to their advice over your vet’s? Would you let your neighbor diagnose your child’s illness? Probably not, so why exactly do pet owners show such poor judgment where their pets are concerned?? Get to the vet. The longer you wait, the more serious the problem will become AND the more money (which is often why you aren’t going to the vet right away) it will cost you. Avoiding the problem will not save you any money.

  2. Other signs to look for are pale colored gums, shivering, tremors, seizures or unsteady gate.

  3. Lynn Messer says:

    When I have friends call wanting to know if they should take their dog to the vet, I always recommend at the least to call the vet or if they don’t have a vet on call 24/7, call an emergency vet clinic. i would much rather be safe than sorry, whether it is my dog or someone dog other than mine. Most people don’t know that vaccines are not 100 percent guaranteed to give your pet immunity. I had a five month old German shepherd that got parvo, she had all her vaccines. My vet informed me that they give immunity 80 percent of the time, plus people don’t realize that every wild dog; coyote, fox and wolf carry all the same diseases as domestic dogs. Living in the country your dogs are not “safe” because they don’t live in a neighborhood with many dogs.

  4. Janet says:

    Since I am a breeder (Labrador Retrievers), I am approached occasionally by friends and acquaintances asking what to do about this or that problem with their dog. How could anyone give the right answer without even seeing the dog in person? I think some people hesitate to take their dog to the veterinarian because of the cost. To me, better safe than sorry! Although a veterinarian may not be able to diagnose a problem 100% of the time, they have the knowledge and equipment to do the job. PLEASE take your dog or cat to the vet if you think there is a problem!

  5. Brian Burton says:

    One call I get a lot as a trainer is “my dog had a setback in potty training!” More often than not, there is a medical cause (such as UTI). If your normally house trained dog is suddenly having accidents, whining to go out in the middle of the night, etc – you should see a vet.

  6. Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn’t disappoint me just as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, but I actually believed you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you could possibly fix if you were not too busy seeking attention.

  7. Christine says:

    Dear Veterinarian In Tulsa, OK– to what attention-seeking behavior are you referring?

  8. After I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there a means you are able to remove me from that service? Thank you!

  9. When I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I recieve four emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is a means you can remove me from that service? Many thanks!

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