How to Know if Your Dog is Sick

Are you a nervous Nellie?

When I first became a Chihuahua mommy, I was a nervous Nellie! It was like having my first two-legged baby again. Every little thing or behavior that was not typical, I thought for sure they were sick and rushed them to the veterinarian. The first few years I spent a small,….. no, make that a large fortune on vet bills (I think I put all their children through college).

Just to name a few, there was the time that I dropped a tiny piece of chocolate on the floor and before I could bend down and pick it up, one of my Chis scarfed it down. Well, everyone knows that chocolate is poison to dogs, right? I rushed him directly to the vet’s office. I found out that even for a Chihuahua that tiny piece of chocolate was not enough to even make him sick. The amount of chocolate that is toxic depends on the size and weight of the dog. Had I known I could have saved myself a lot of money. (I will have a chart of the amount of chocolate that is toxic in our November Newsletter, so be sure to SUBSCRIBE now.)

How about the time that he started honking like a goose? I was sure that he couldn’t breathe! I rushed and I mean RUSHED him to the vet’s office. If I could have gotten a police escort, I would have. I found out that he had what is called “backward sneezing”. Although it is a condition that should be looked at by a veterinarian, it is not an emergency and I certainly didn’t need a police escort.

chihuahua being examined by a vetI could go on, but I’ll save myself the embarrassment. I jokingly tell people that I am known as the crazy Chihuahua lady at the vet’s office. I have been there enough times that they certainly do know me and my dogs, but they have assured me that I am not “the crazy Chihuahua lady”.

How do you know if they need to go to the vet?

So what’s a Chihuahua mommy to do? How do you know if it is serious or not? I mean you don’t want to make a mistake and not take them to the vet and find out later that you should have. But, at the same time, you want to avoid spending money at the vet if it’s not necessary.


  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting or diarrhea lasting over 24 hours
  • Swelling anywhere
  • Loss of appetite (if refuses to eat anything for 48 hours)
  • Persistent nasal discharge
  • Wheezing
  • Persistent gagging
  • Labored breathing
  • Urinary or fecal accidents in a house trained dog
  • New or changing lumps or bumps
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Hair loss

If you see any of these symptoms in your Chihuahua, it’s time to take them to the vet. Remember, annual exams at the vet’s office though are the best way to prevent serious health problems before they become harder or more expensive to treat.


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