9 Warning Signs You Should Take Your Dog to the Vet
Learn about important symptoms that may warrant a trip to the vet.
When to Worry About Your Pet
Your dog is part of the family: he’s your best friend, eats your leftovers, and accompanies you on morning walks. But your dog can’t complain, so how do you know when to seek medical help? How can you tell if that limp signifies a sprain, or that sneeze requires an antibiotic?
Learn the warning signs that mean you should take your pet to the vet.
Odd Eating Habits
It’s not out of the ordinary for your dog to skip a meal or two, especially if it’s hot out. But any more than this should be a red flag that something is off. Two days without eating is a clear sign that your dog should be examined. Some diseases cause dogs to develop unusual eating habits. So if your dog is usually well-behaved, but begins raiding the pantry and garbage, you should take him for a checkup.
Dogs naturally produce a lot of saliva, so they don’t need to drink like a fish. A dog who drinks too much water could be developing a kidney disease or diabetes. You will be able to tell if your dog is drinking too much water if she has an excessive amount of urine, needs to go outside more often, or has accidents in the house.
Rough or Dry Coat
Any pet owner knows that a dog’s coat should be thick, shiny, and soft. A dull coat, or one with rough, dry, or bald patches is an indication that something is not right. The wrong kind of food, an allergy, or a skin disease could be the culprit. Either way, a trip to the vet is a must for a questionable coat.
Sluggish and Tired
A lethargic dog is a sign that something may be troubling him or her. A dog that is lethargic may be uninterested in going for a walk, playing, or participating in activities that once brought enthusiasm. While normal fatigue or sore muscles can sometimes be blamed on the heat, if symptoms persist for more than two days, see a vet.
Occasional vomiting isn’t unusual for dogs—animals vomit more often than humans do to get rid of something that doesn’t agree with them. But if your dog vomits frequently or several times in a row, vomits blood, or has a fever, you should call the vet immediately. Severe vomiting could also cause dehydration or diarrhea, so should be treated early.
A dog’s stool is a good indicator of overall health. A healthy dog will have small, firm, moist stools. Dry, hard stools may be a sign of health maladies, dietary problems, or dehydration. Certain stool shapes may indicate worms, while diarrhea, straining, blood, or mucous in the stool lasting more than two days should prompt a visit to the vet.
Sudden Weight Loss
Even in an overweight dog, sudden loss of weight should prompt you to take him to the vet. Losing weight quickly and unexpectedly could indicate a serious health condition. A 10 percent change in weight is something to bring to your vet’s attention. In small dogs, this may be as little as a one pound weight loss.
Cloudy or Red Eyes
Your dog’s eyes are the gateway to her body. Cloudy or red eyes, squinting, or excessive discharge from your dog’s eyes could indicate an infection. Make sure you bring your dog for a checkup right away; an infection can be cured easily with medication.
Scooting or Dragging Rear
If your dog is scooting or dragging her rear on the floor, she may have worms, her anal glands may be blocked, or she might have kidney disease or diabetes.
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From years of their species living in the wild, dogs instinctively work to appear healthy. It’s important as a pet owner to be observant and aware of the subtlest changes in your dog. You know your dog better than anyone, so if something seems wrong, have it checked. And when in doubt, take your dog to the vet.