The Dog Symptom Checker Look Up Your Dogโ€™s Symptoms and What They Could Mean

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vet verified PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian DVM

Is your dog sniffling, coughing, itching, or getting sick on the rug? There are dozens and dozens of symptoms that could mean your dog is getting ill. This list of symptoms tells you exactly which illnesses they may be linked to.

Our dogs depend on us to keep them healthy, and part of that responsibility is taking note of any symptoms that could indicate an illness or injury. Our dog symptom checker is organized so that you can find the area of your dog’s body that is showing symptoms, then check the specific symptom and its common causes.

While useful for sending you in the right direction, this chart does not replace a trip to the veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. Always contact your veterinarian if your dog is exhibiting any unusual symptoms.




Itching, redness, discharge, or odor: Ear infection, ear mites, allergies, ear cysts, mange, wax buildup, tumor

Swelling: Ear cancer, mange

Hearing loss: Deafness

Bleeding: Ear cancer


Discharge, redness, or swelling: Eye infection, allergies, conjunctivitis (pink eye), canine distemper, autoimmune disorder, corneal disorders, dry eye, cherry eye, glaucoma, eye defects, eye injury

Bulging: Cherry eye, glaucoma, eye displacement

Bleeding: Injury, hyphema (blood in front of the eyes)

Blindness: Collie eye anomaly, tumor, glaucoma, seizures, poisoning, encephalitis, meningitis, hyphema (blood in front of the eyes), eye defects, autoimmune disorder, corneal disease

Clouding: Eye infection, eye defects, corneal disease, tumor, glaucoma, cataracts, ulcer, collie eye anomaly

Jaundice (yellowing): Liver disease, liver cancer, infection, heart tumor, stem cell disorders


Abnormal gum color: Heart disease, heart failure, anemia, cancer, tumor, liver disease, kidney disease, poisoning, thyroid disorder, clotting deficiency, hookworms, infection

Bad breath: Gingivitis, mouth cancer, gum disease, mouth ulcer, cyst, cavities, tumor, gastrointestinal problems, kidney disease, retained deciduous teeth

Bleeding: Gingivitis, gum disease, mouth cancer, ulcer, clotting disorder

Difficulty breathing or coughing: Kennel cough, canine distemper, dog flu, infection, pneumonia, anemia, heartworm disease, upper respiratory infection, heart problems (disease, failure, murmur), cancer, poisoning, bronchitis, asthma, hernia, shock, foreign object in throat

Difficulty swallowing: Kennel cough, heart problems (disease, failure, murmur), heartworm disease, infection, poisoning, tonsil, thyroid, mouth, or throat cancer, tumor, pneumonia, hernia, foreign object in throat

Drooling: Rabies, mouth, tonsil, or tongue cancer, yeast infection, kidney disease, ulcer, cyst, cavities, gum disease, poisoning, allergies, epilepsy

Eating Grass, Feces, Other Unusual Items: Stomach inflammation, stomach irritation, acid reflux, infection, poisoning

Vomiting: Swallowing of something indigestible, rushed eating, parvo, canine distemper, tumor, intestinal parasites, allergies, leukemia, heartworm disease, infection, cancer, poisoning, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, liver disease, epilepsy, meningitis


Bleeding: Injury, foreign object stuck in nose, infection, poisoning, tumor, clotting disorder, cancer

Sneezing or discharge: Kennel cough, canine distemper, bacterial, fungal, or viral infections, allergies


Shaking: Ear mites, ear infection, kidney stones, poisoning

Swelling: Allergies, infection

Tilting or Pressing: Rabies, encephalitis, vestibular disorder, brain disorder, meningitis, tumor, cysts

Skin and Hair

Chewing, licking, scratching, flaking, or redness: Parasites, allergies, dry skin, skin irritation, infection, kidney disease, pain, anxiety, boredom

Hair loss: Mange, parasites, allergies, skin irritation, ringworm, ulcer, tumor, cancer, infection, hormonal problems


Blood in urine: Urinary tract infection, kidney disease, kidney stones, cancer, diabetes, prostate disease, bacterial or fungal infection, poisoning

Frequent, painful, or strained urination: Urinary tract infection, kidney stones, kidney disease, bacterial or fungal infection, diabetes, bladder stones, prostate disease, liver disease, cancer

Incontinence: Aging, kidney disease, urinary tract infection, bladder stones, spinal cord disease, paralysis, seizures


Blood in stool: Parvo, canine distemper, stomach or intestinal bleeding, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, poisoning, parasites, infection, ulcer

Constipation: Dehydration, ulcer

Diarrhea: Parvo, canine distemper, parasites, food allergies/intolerance, poisoning, liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, infection, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, cancer, ulcer


Pain: Tumor, urinary tract or intestinal obstruction, twisted spleen, infection, gallstones, trauma, poisoning, liver disease, cancer

Swelling or distention: Bloat, heart disease, heart murmur, cushing’s disease, foreign body in gastrointestinal tract, kidney inflammation, tumor, liver fistula


Limping, stiffness, or difficulty rising: Hip dysplasia, arthritis, meningitis, rocky mountain spotted fever, lyme disease, spinal cord disease, bone or joint cancer, infection, nerve or muscle disorder, injury, back or neck problems


Aggression: Rabies, poisoning, meningitis

Disorientation or loss of balance: Rabies, vestibular disorder, meningitis, high blood pressure, seizures, cancer, encephalitis, eye defect, coma, liver fistula, brain injury, brain tumor, brain parasites, epilepsy

Increased thirst: Kidney disease, liver, disease, liver fistula, cushing’s disease, diabetes, bacterial infection, poisoning, cancer

Lack of appetite or weight loss: Canine distemper, poisoning, cancer, liver disease, intestinal problems, parasites, meningitis

Lethargy, weakness, depression, or hiding: Canine distemper, parvo, kennel cough, heart disease, heart failure, heart murmur, heartworm disease, cancer, cushing’s disease, kidney failure, liver disease, lyme disease, rabies, tumor, meningitis, anemia, encephalitis, infection, arthritis, hip dysplasia, poisoning, tumor, pneumonia, diabetes, anxiety


Fever: Canine distemper, bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, abscess

Paralysis: Rabies, spinal cord injury, botulism, poisoning, meningitis

Seizure: Poisoning, canine distemper, head injury, rabies, meningitis, encephalitis, brain tumor, epilepsy

Many of the health conditions listed in this chart require immediate veterinary attention. If your dog is showing symptoms of an illness or injury, don’t wait -- contact your veterinarian right away to schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find out what's wrong with my dog?

If your dog is showing signs of illness, it is best to take them to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Only a veterinarian can diagnose and treat your pet, as they have the knowledge, skills, and tools to identify what may be wrong and provide the necessary treatment. If you are concerned about your pet's health, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian. They can advise you on the best course of action for your pet.

What are the signs of a serious illness in dogs?

Signs of serious illness in dogs can include changes in appetite or water intake, decreased energy or activity level, vomiting or diarrhea, coughing or sneezing, difficulty breathing, changes in behavior or mood, lameness or difficulty walking, and abnormal discharge from the eyes, nose, or mouth. If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, it is best to take them to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, and any sudden or persistent changes in your pet's health should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

What is the most common disease in dogs?

The most common disease in dogs is dental disease. This can be caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth, which can lead to gum inflammation, infection, and tooth loss. Other common diseases in dogs include skin allergies, ear infections, digestive issues, and arthritis. Some breeds are also prone to certain hereditary health conditions such as hip dysplasia, bloat, and certain eye diseases. To keep your dog healthy, it is important to provide regular veterinary check-ups and a balanced diet, as well as regular exercise and proper dental care.

When should I be concerned about my sick dog?

You should be concerned about your sick dog if they are showing symptoms such as prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, increased lethargy, difficulty breathing, persistent coughing, or any sudden changes in behavior. Additionally, if your dog has been injured or if their symptoms persist for more than a day or two, it's best to seek veterinary care. In any case of serious or concerning symptoms, it is always best to consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What are the first signs of parvo in a dog?

The first signs of parvo in dogs can include vomiting, diarrhea (often with blood), loss of appetite, fever, and lethargy. Parvo is a highly contagious viral disease that affects dogs and puppies and can be life-threatening if left untreated. If you suspect that your dog may have parvo, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination and may run tests, such as a complete blood count and biochemistry profile, to diagnose the infection and determine the best course of treatment.

More on Dog Health

Top 7 Dog Heartworm Treatments
Flea Repellents in Topicals vs. Flea Pills
10 of the Best Rated Dog Foods

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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