Does Your Dog Have Anemia – Signs and Symptoms and What You Need to Do


When you first adopt your dog and bring them home, all you can think about is the many happy years ahead where they will be part of your family, and they are healthy and happy. As a dog owner, you are probably willing to do whatever is necessary to give them a long life, making sure you provide for all their needs. But what happens when your dog isn’t acting like their usual happy, peppy self? Well, it can point to all kinds of things from minor to severe, and so any change in behavior needs attention.

Anemia isn’t often talked about and certainly isn’t a buzzed about illness in dogs, but the fact is that it can occur and can be quite serious if left undiagnosed and treated. But how do you know if your dog has anemia? Let’s look at some warning signs and symptoms.


One of the first signs you may notice in a dog that has anemia is lethargy. What this means is that they don’t have much energy, are sleeping much more than usual, they don’t have the energy or desire to play with you or exercise, and even seem out of it – unable to get up and move around.

Their Gums Have Changed Color

Another tell-tale sign, and often the most noticeable, is a change to the color of their gums. A healthy dog should have pink gums, meanwhile those with anemia will have a white cast to their gums or pale pink. In other words, the gums start to lose their color and become pale.

Labored Breathing

Any time your dog seems to have a hard time breathing and is working harder to get that breath, it needs to be taken seriously. This can point to a variety of issues, with anemia being one of them.

A Loss of Appetite

Dogs are notoriously known for their rather ‘healthy’ appetite, and typically you don’t have to force them to eat. If they suddenly have a decrease in their appetite, this is another potential warning sign.

Showing Weakness When Moving Around

Then there is weakness when they move around – another potential sign that anemia could be the culprit.

What Can You Do About It?

Obviously, if you suspect your dog may be suffering from anemia, it’s important to get them checked as soon as possible. The faster you see the vet and get the dog diagnosed, the better the outcome usually is. It can be life-threatening if left untreated, so time is of the essence. Your vet will be able to diagnose how severe the case is, and then prescribe a treatment plan. This plan may include steroids, vitamins, antibiotics, erythropoietin injections, surgery, or other options.

Anemia in dogs cannot be cured, but there are treatments that can be administered that will help to manage it and improve their health and quality of life.

An Illness that Needs to Be Taken Seriously

Unfortunately, anemia is a very serious illness, especially when left undiagnosed, which is why it’s so important to always be aware of your dog’s health and behavior and be sure to react when there are changes.

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