Got a hunch your dog is unwell? Here are some of the key signs to watch for…

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A healthy dog is alert, active, interested. He’s eager to go out for walks, enjoys his food, and loves being talked to and stroked. When you brush his coat it gleams, his weight is suitable for a fit, lean animal, and his breath smells fresh. However, like you, your dog can get poorly. So, in addition to a general lethargy, here are some signs to watch for that could suggest he’s under the weather.

1. IN AND OUT

You know your dog best, so you’ll be aware of his normal daily bladder and bowel habits. If you notice he is weeing and pooing more or less than usual – and his diet hasn’t changed – keep a close eye on him and if symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, take him to the vet.

2. FOOD MATTERS

If your dog suddenly loses his appetite, gains or loses weight, vomits or has diarrhoea, this indicates that he is unwell and should see a vet. Typically a healthy dog thrives on a diet of 50 per cent wet food and 50 per cent dry food, balanced to suit his breed, weight and gender. Create a tailored menu for your dog with the Pedigree Tracks App.

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3. A HEALTHY MOUTH

A dog that is not as lively as normal, is drooling, has bad breath, or is finding chewing difficult may have a problem with his teeth. Sadly four out of five dogs over the age of three years have gum disease, caused by the build up of plaque and tartar around the gum line. Brushing your dog’s teeth daily is the best way to look after teeth and gums. In addition, using a product such as Pedigree DentaStix every day can reduce the build up of tartar by up to 80 per cent.

4. BREATHE EASY

Any sign of laboured breathing, such as panting, wheezing or coughing, or a nasal discharge, indicates that you should take your dog to the vet immediately.

5. CAN’T SETTLE

If your dog is agitated or irritable, shaking his head persistently, or scratching his ears a lot, he may have an ear infection. Or there could be a foreign body such as a grass seed in his ear. The ear may appear red or swollen, or there may be a discharge. It’s also possible that he has a parasitic infection, such as fleas or ticks, or may even have an allergic reaction. Regardless of the reason, you should take him to see your vet.

Above all, trust your instinct. You know your dog better than anyone – and if you’re concerned, don’t hesitate to take action.