Does My Pet Need a Vet? 5 Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

Pets are exceptionally skilled at hiding illness or injury signs, and problems are usually significant before they cause outward issues obvious to pet owners. But, by closely monitoring your furry pal for changes, you can get them the care they need, when they need it.

Don’t miss the following five often-ignored clinical signs that mean your pet needs veterinary care.

#1: Behavior changes in your pet

Your pet can be quite the character, acting like a Sour Patch kid—sour and sassy one moment, sweet and cuddly the next. Yet, as your pet’s constant companion, you know their typical behaviors best, despite how they can fluctuate. But, personality, attitude, and some behavior changes can indicate that your pet has serious underlying health concerns that need addressing Watch for the following clues:

  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Hiding
  • Avoiding interaction
  • Irritability
  • Aggression toward you or other pets
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Excessive vocalization

Any illness or injury can unsettle your pet and cause behavior changes that mean they need veterinary attention, despite not knowing the underlying cause, especially if the changes are ongoing or dramatic.

#2: Appetite and thirst changes in pets

If your pet shows unusual changes in appetite or thirst for only a day or two, that typically is not cause for concern, but chronic or major alterations should be addressed. Pets can display changes in their eating and drinking habits for a wide range of reasons, and this outward barometer is an excellent indicator of what’s happening inside.

Appetite and thirst changes in your pet may signify:

  • Pain
  • Dental disease
  • Endocrine disorders (e.g., diabetes, Cushing’s disease)
  • Organ dysfunction (e.g., kidney disease, liver disease)
  • Gastrointestinal illness
  • Toxin ingestion
  • Diet change
  • Changing weather and temperatures
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Cognitive dysfunction

The best way to monitor your pet’s food intake—and manage their weight—is to portion out their meals. If your four-legged friend goes from inhaling their food to leaving some behind at each meal or suddenly starts draining their water bowl, they need a veterinary exam.

#3: Activity changes in pets

Changes in your pet’s activity levels or mobility are a sure sign something is bothering them. Pets who are restless and agitated may be in too much pain to relax comfortably, may be nauseous or anxious, or showing cognitive dysfunction signs. If your pet is spending more time sleeping, they may also be in pain or feel unwell because of an illness or chronic disease.

While a decrease in energy levels after an intense hike or long day of play is normal, if your four-legged friend doesn’t bounce back, they may be injured or ill.

#4: Elimination changes in pets

If your once perfectly house-trained pet is now using your rug as a bathroom, something is amiss. Many pet owners believe their furry pal urinates or defecates inappropriately out of spite, but you can rest assured that your cat is not peeing on your coat because you gave them only three treats instead of four.

Instead, urination and defecation changes that include altered frequency, amount, consistency, and color, may indicate the following problems:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Feline idiopathic cystitis
  • Urethral obstruction
  • Urinary crystals or bladder stones
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Foreign body ingestion
  • Incontinence
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Cancer

A host of other issues also can trigger changes in your pet’s urination and defecation habits, so you must not ignore this problem. Monitor your pet’s bathroom activities, whether outdoors or in the litter box, to ensure they can eliminate comfortably and normally, and schedule an appointment if you notice ongoing problems.

#5: Skin and hair coat changes in pets

Some seasonal fluctuations in skin and hair coat conditions, such as mild dryness in the winter and shedding in the spring, can be normal, but many serious health concerns can cause chronic changes that do not resolve or become worse. Your pet needs veterinary care if they exhibit any of the following skin and hair coat changes:

  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Oozing skin
  • Pustules, sores, or scabs
  • Lumps or bumps
  • Unusual skin, ear, or paw odor
  • Hair loss
  • Coarse, dry fur
  • Greasy skin and fur
  • Unkempt haircoat
  • Shaking their head and ears
  • Scooting along the ground
  • Excessive chewing, licking, or scratching

These skin and hair coat changes can be triggered by a wide range of causes, from external parasites and allergies, to endocrine disorders and skin cancers, and should not be ignored.

While you may be tempted to rush to Harbor Pines Veterinary Center for every unusual change you see in your pet, they may not always need veterinary treatment. However, some issues always warrant a veterinary exam. Do not hesitate to contact our team if you think your furry pal may need an appointment.

About the Author

Call Now Button