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Dr. Elliott: Dog Health Symptoms

Here is a simple guideline of some of the common canine problems.

May 24, 2018 3 min read
Dr. Elliott: Dog Health Symptoms

Many individuals call me asking to help with dog health symptoms. This is a sample guide of dog problems and what to look for:

Deep Breathing - check the color of mucous membranes (purple or dark blue indicates a problem showing a lack of appropriate or sufficient amounts of oxygen getting into the system. Fluid buildup in the lungs is a cause of breathing distress and coughing and should be checked immediately by a veterinarian.

Obesity - many factors contribute to this problem, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, junk food treats, and too many table scraps. These items can lead to an uptake of too many calories that will lead to fat buildup. Upwards of 45% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight. The rib cage of a dog at its proper weight can easily be felt when gliding your hand over the chest cavity.

Diarrhea - dogs of all ages may experience a bout of diarrhea at some point in their life. The most common causes of diarrhea are:

  • roundworms
  • tapeworms
  • food allergy
  • IBD
  • bacterial infection
  • eating table scraps
  • frequent change of diet
  • excessive consumption of treats
  • eating outdated and spoiled foods.
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Bad Breath - may be associated with the following conditions:

  • a fractured or distressed tooth
  • oral tumor
  • eating cat feces
  • kidney problems
  • diabetes.

Constant scratching of mouth and/ or painful signs may be indicative of tooth problems. The inability to open or close the jaw, or move the tongue may indicate either a nerve or muscle problem.


  1. Facial swelling - could signal an allergic reaction to a food, mite or flea bite.
  2. Multiple lumps on skin - indicates an allergic reaction.
  3. Hair loss in various areas - ringworm, bacterial infection or mange problem.
  4. Red swollen area - abscess, infection.
  5. Constant scratching - food, contact or airborne allergy, mange.
  6. Coat Issues - the majority of skin and coat issues can be traced back to the following:
    • improper nutrition
    • lack of essential fatty acids in diet
    • inexpensive commercial dog foods
    • shortage of essential nutrients in diet

Some of the better dog foods are: Raw food diet - Bravo, Kibble - Great Life Performance Pet Products (this food has a very active nutrient system).


Lumps - many pet owners will feel lumps under the skin and may observe growth. These can be fatty tissue growth in an overweight dog, or cancerous tumors. It's a good idea to have them checked to make sure they do not develop into a serious health problem.

Rectum gliding - this can be simply an itchy rectum and since a dog can’t scratch his rectum, a pleasure filled way to relieve the itch is to glide on pavement or grass. Glands may need to be drained. If a dog has worms you will notice some white items in stool looking similar to white rice. If the rectum is swelling,this may also indicate the presence of a tumor.

Seizures - may originate from a lack of oxygen to the brain, lack of proper electrical current to the brain, excessive toxins in the system, or a brain tumor. Another contributing factor may be incorrect levels of glucose and calcium.

Typical signs of seizure would be:

  • sudden collapse with muscle activity
  • contraction of neck and head muscles

Dogs coming out of seizures may experience fright and crying sounds from this unnatural experience. Give them comfort and talk quietly to them to help calm them down.

If you have questions - please contact me at