What to do When You’re Worried About Your Dog

Being a dog owner is hugely rewarding – raising a dog with a sweet temperament means you have a playmate, best friend, and constant companion. It’s a huge responsibility: you need to ensure that dog is well behaved, clean up after it, and keep it happy and healthy to ensure it doesn’t present a risk to other dogs or indeed to people.

What people don’t talk about as much is another side to dog ownership – that it can be nerve wracking! Having a dog is not unlike having a toddler: they have a huge capacity to get themselves into trouble, to injure themselves, to eat things they shouldn’t and to get sick, without the ability to communicate what’s wrong!

Today we’re taking a look at what you can to reassure yourself when you’re worried about your dog, and make sure you’re giving it the best care possible.

Knowing the Signs Something is Wrong

The first thing you need to know is what to look for that indicates something could be wrong – the tells that your dog uses to let you know they’re in distress. The most important thing you can you do is know your dog. All the clearest ways they can signal distress or pain are deviations from their normal behaviour, so knowing what normal is lets you spot when things aren’t normal.

Increased aggression and barking from a dog that isn’t normally as vocal can be a sign of pain as can increased or obsessive grooming, and illness might be indicated by changes in appetite, as well disturbed breathing. If your dog is normally very sociable but starts hiding away from people, or is normally more private but starts to demand more attention, it could be a sign something is wrong.

Getting Advice

Knowing where you can go to get advice is important when you worry your dog may be ill. Vet advice is the most valuable, but it can be difficult to get an appointment in an emergency, or to justify an expensive appointment when you’re not sure what, if anything, is wrong.

Online services can help to bridge the gap, with vets available at shorter notices and lower cost to help advise you – including letting you know whether you should be making an appointment to bring your dog in for a more detailed examination or treatment.


You shouldn’t dismiss one of the most important resources you have at your command: other dog owners. If you’re lucky enough to befriend a more experienced dog owner, they can be a valuable source of advice and reassurance, whether it’s to let you know that your dog’s behaviour is nothing out the ordinary and you can happily relax, or to tell you that your worries are well founded and you should see a vet, both outcomes help to guide you down the right path and develop your confidence for the future.

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