The first three weeks of your puppy's life are critical to his survival, development, and socialization. During this time, your puppy experiences numerous physical and behavioral changes which you should watch out for. Here are 9 early signs of a sick puppy that you should be aware of.

1. No appetite

Many puppies suffer from lack of appetite. This is normal and generally temporary. The most common cause for lack of appetite in puppies is a change in food. Puppies can also get sick or stressed and this can cause them to stop eating.

If your puppy is not eating, the first thing you should do is take his temperature. If he has an elevated temperature, it’s likely that he has an infection and he needs antibiotics. In most cases however, your puppy will be fine without antibiotics as long as you give him some time to rest and recover from whatever caused the problem in the first place.

2. Diarrhea

Diarrhea is an early sign of a sick puppy. It can be caused by a number of different diseases, and it’s important to know what to look for so that you can take action quickly.

If your puppy begins having diarrhea, you should watch them closely for other signs of illness. This includes vomiting, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

There are many causes for diarrhea in puppies such as parasites like worms or giardia can cause diarrhea in puppies. If your puppy has recently been exposed to other dogs or animals in the home, they may have picked up a parasite from them. This is especially common during spring when worms are most prevalent in puppies.

It is also possible that your puppy has bacterial infections like Salmonella which can also cause diarrhea in puppies as well as other illnesses such as urinary tract infections (UTIs). This can lead to more serious complications if left untreated over time such as kidney failure later down the road if not treated properly now at home first before progressing any further down this path due to neglecting early signs.

Hence, if your puppy shows any of these symptoms, it’s important to take them to the vet immediately.

3. Lethargy

Lethargy means that a puppy is not feeling well and doesn't have the energy to do anything. This can be from any number of things, but it's important to know what lethargy looks like so you can recognize it as an early sign of illness in your puppy.

Lethargy in puppies usually comes from a bacterial infection, lack of hydration, or lack of nutrition. This can also come from exposure to toxins or environmental hazards such as chemicals or parasites. 

So if you notice that your puppy is lethargic or has been acting this way for more than 24 hours, it's important to bring him in for a checkup with your veterinarian immediately!

4. Vomiting

Vomiting is one of the first signs of a sick puppy. The young animal's digestive system and immune system are still developing, making it more vulnerable to pathogens and disease.

This can be an indication that your puppy has a viral or bacterial infection, or simply overeaten his food. In some cases, it can be caused by allergies to certain foods or medications.

So, you should contact your veterinarian if your puppy vomits more than once every 24 hours or has blood in his vomit. Most especially if you see blood in the stool but not in the vomit, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. 

However, vomiting blood indicates internal bleeding and requires immediate attention from a vet who can do bloodwork and x-rays to determine the cause of bleeding.

5. Fever

A puppy's fever is one sign of illness, but it could also be just a mild case of the sniffles. You should consider taking your puppy to the vet if you think her temperature is over 101 degrees Fahrenheit or she has a fever for more than a few hours.

A dog's normal body temperature ranges from 100.5 degrees to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38-39 degrees Celsius). If your pup's body temperature rises above this range for any reason including exercise, heat stroke or other environmental factors, it can cause her to become lethargic and display signs of discomfort.

That’s why, if your dog has a fever, be sure to take her temperature several times over the course of an hour so you know whether it's rising or falling. If it doesn't appear to be going down within 10 hours, call your veterinarian right away.

6. Excessive panting

Excessive panting can be caused by a variety of factors, including infection, heat stroke and dehydration. The most common cause of excessive panting in puppies is overheating. Overheating is the most common reason that puppies die from heat stroke in summer months. Puppies have not yet developed the ability to sweat or regulate their body temperature on their own, so they depend on you to help them stay cool during hot temperatures.

Thus, puppies also need water more than adult dogs do because they don't get as much moisture from their food as adult dogs do. You'll want to keep an eye out for signs of dehydration, such as dry gums when you pet your puppy or urine that is dark yellow instead of pale yellow or clear.

So ,if you notice that your puppy is excessively panting or showing any other signs of illness, contact your veterinarian right away!

8. Hypoglycemia 

The condition occurs when there isn't enough glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream to meet the needs of your dog's cells. Normally, your pet's pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream to help cells absorb glucose from the blood. But if the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or your pet's body doesn't respond normally to it, the cells can't use glucose as fuel. That leads to an energy crisis for the cells and symptoms of hypoglycemia, weakness, disorientation and sometimes seizures or coma.

Hypoglycemia can be caused by many factors such as genetics, infections, trauma and medications are some of them but it usually comes on quickly after eating (when blood sugar levels are highest), so it's important to recognize early signs of a sick puppy or young dog who has just eaten and then suddenly starts acting strangely.

It is also important to note that hypoglycemia in puppies is a serious condition that can lead to death if not treated promptly. If your puppy is showing any of the symptoms of hypoglycemia you can also give him or her something sweet to eat immediately!

9. Nasal discharge

Puppies will often exhibit nasal discharge when they're sick or stressed out. In some cases, this might be due to a viral infection or other illness. In other cases, however, the discharge can be caused by allergies or environmental irritants like dust and pollen.

The first time you see nasal discharge in your puppy, you should take him to the vet for an examination. The vet may recommend tests such as bloodwork and x-rays to determine if there's an underlying condition causing the problem. If no underlying conditions are found, then treatment will focus on helping your puppy feel better and get back on track with his regular routine.

As they say, prevention is the best cure, and this is just as true with pet health.The sooner you notice that there's something wrong, the better the chances of catching whatever it is before it gets any worse. This article isn't meant to be taken as an all-encompassing guide on everything to look for when your dog is ill, but it lists some of the most common symptoms that people tend to miss or ignore.
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