Pets are undeniably a part of the family. Anyone with a pet knows they have their own ways of speaking their mind without words. Sometimes, it can be difficult for us to figure out what they mean or understand what they need. It can be difficult to tell when your pet is not feeling 100 percent. This means it’s the pet owner’s responsibility to take note of the warning signs when your best friend isn’t acting normally or as healthy as they should be. We’ll discuss some tell-tale signs which indicate a visit to the animal hospital is in order.
1. Unusual eating habits
Changes in appetite can be an indication of a problem with your pet. If your pet suddenly loses interest in their food for more than a day or two in a row, or if they start eating less than their normal amount, these can indicate a possible health issue. If your pet suddenly begins to eat dirt or unusual objects, or even becomes hungrier than normal, these can also be evidence of a problem. If you are concerned about your pet’s eating habits, please contact your veterinarian.
2. Excessive thirst
There are multiple diseases seen in cats and dogs that can cause increased thirst or urination. It is important to note how often your pet drinks or how often you are refilling the water bowl. If you notice your pet is constantly at the water bowl or begging for water, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian.
3. Licking feet excessively, scooting their rear end, or scratching ears
Healthy cats and dogs should have clean skin and hair without dryness, bald patches, or red areas. Cats should have a clean haircoat that does not appear unkempt or full of dandruff. When your pet starts dragging its rear end across the floor or excessively licking in that area, this may be a sign of parasites, anal gland issues, or even issues with the urinary tract. If you notice your pet licking its feet or belly excessively, scratching at its ears or face, or you notice rashes or red paws, these can be indications of a possible allergy, ear infection or skin sensitivity. If you notice any of these at home, please contact your veterinarian.
4. Changes in urination
If you notice your pet is urinating more frequently, urinating in different places, straining to urinate or producing larger piles of urine, these can be evidence of a possible problem. If you notice your pets urine has a foul smell or a discolored appearance, these can also be causes for concern. If your cat is taking frequent trips to the litterbox, crying when they urinate, or licking their rear end frequently, it can indicate a serious medical condition or emergency. If your pet is experiencing any of these changes or symptoms, call your veterinarian.
Dogs may vomit rarely if they eat too quickly or due to carsickness. Cats may vomit if they groom themselves and produce hairballs. If your pet vomits more than once, vomits several days or times in a row, is otherwise not acting normally, or if you notice any foreign material or blood in the vomit, it is important to contact your veterinarian. Vomiting may be a sign of a serious health issue, such as pancreatitis or an obstruction.
6. Changes in stool
A good indicator of a dog and cat’s overall health is their stool. Moist and firm stool is a good sign while a hard, dry stool may indicate dehydration or dietary issues. Also keep an eye out for worms, mucus or blood in the stool as well as any bouts of diarrhea. If your pet experiences any changes that are concerning, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian.
7. Weight loss or weight gain
Changes in weight can indicate signs of a health issue. If you notice your pet is gaining or losing weight without a change in appetite, call your veterinarian.
8. Red, squinty, swollen, runny or cloudy eyes
Any eye issue is considered a serious one, because your pet’s eyes are so important. If you notice any changes in color, discharge, difficulty opening, redness or green/yellow discharge, definitely give your vet a call.
If you notice your pet is having a hard time getting up or down, seems to be sore, or is limping, these can be signs of a serious health issue, such as a broken bone, arthritis, or other injury. We recommend you do not give your pet any over the counter medication and first consult your veterinarian for help.
10. Coughing, sneezing, or difficulty breathing
When you notice your dog is having difficulty breathing, sneezing or coughing excessively, having nasal discharge or panting excessively, time to call the veterinarian. Panting can be a sign of pain, anxiety, or indication of other health issues.
Each pet shows signs of pain or illness differently, so it is important to pay close attention to your pet’s behavior to assess their overall wellbeing. If you notice any of the signs above, or have any other concerns regarding your pet’s health, please do not hesitate to call your veterinarian or schedule an appointment.