How To Spot Rabies In A Dog

Updated on August 10, 2021

Having a dog with rabies is a startling discovery to make. However, not knowing the signs associated with the disease is even more terrifying. Given the rapid onset of the illness and how low the survival rates are once the side effects show, it pays to know the symptoms of the infection before it goes past the point of no return. If you find out your dog contracted rabies, take them to the vet right away. You should also learn all you can about dog bites in Phoenix to make sure you stay safe. 

While the probability of your canine contracting rabies is extremely unlikely, particularly since most states require all canines to be immunized, there is still a chance, especially if your dog is bitten by a wild animal. The following are the most prominent side effects of a dog with rabies that you should be on the lookout for:


Usually, the primary sign of rabies (just as with plenty of other illnesses) is reduced activity. If your dog is acting abnormally drained or low-energy, it very well may be a manifestation of the beginning of rabies.


One of the more general manifestations that can be ascribed to rabies is that canines with this sort of condition frequently have a high temperature. While a fever is never an indication of rabies when on it’s own, it’s a good complementary symptom to keep an eye out for. 


Like with other pet conditions, vomiting is frequently a sign that your canine is fending off something. While a vomiting dog is not usually a reason for you to race to the veterinary clinic, if you suspect it could be an underlying symptom of rabies, or another medical emergency, then don’t hesitate in taking your dog straight to them.

Extreme Slobbering

One of the more apparent symptoms of rabies is forming at the mouth. This occurs because of a loss of motion of the jaw or throat. A dog with rabies frequently has issues gulping, which can cause slight slobbering (not to be mixed up with regular slobbering, this is if your canine normally slobs around), or hard and fast foaming. Another consequence of jaw/throat loss of motion is the inability to eat or drink, which should be taken as another possible symptom of rabies.  

Stimuli Sensitivity

Canines experiencing rabies will be more sensitive to sensory stimuli like prevalent light, contact, and sound. Photophobia, or sensitivity to light, is the most striking issue with dogs suffering from rabies, which causes them to retreat from lit regions and in some cases, squint more than usual. Problems with sensitivity to sound and contact can be harder to observe when they initially manifest, but can develop to such extremes that they lead to seizures.

Odd Behavior

Aside from foaming at the mouth, dogs with rabies often showcase some odd behavior, which you should be on the lookout for; they include:

  • Unchecked hostility
  • Visualizations (barking harshly to nothing)
  • Self-mutilation
  • Flimsiness or confusion (an appearance of tipsiness)

Known to make even the best dogs hostile, rabies can also have some social effects. There is the broadly seen “irate” kind of rabies, in which a canine will display forceful conduct – snapping, snarling, and crying suddenly. And there is the more quieted “crippled” sort of rabies (also known as imbecilic rabies) in which a canine seems feeble in coordination, bringing about a loss of motion. Cases can shift, and in most situations, canines will show a combination of these two kinds of conduct, frequently with quick changes between the two.

Since the chances of surviving rabies are very minimal, it is essential that once you suspect your dog of having the condition; you take it to the vet as soon as possible. Failure to do so can result in the biting of someone, which can lead to even bigger problems. Early treatment is also the most obvious opportunity for your dog to survive.

In Conclusion

The information above is not intended to serve as a substitute for the expert guidance that vets offer regarding the diagnosis and treatment of dogs. As a result, you should only use it for general directions and seek medical advice if you feel your dog is sick.

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