You know your pet better than anyone, and yet they still probably surprise you. Just when you think you’ve got them pegged, they do something (or opt-out of the expected behavior) that makes you wonder if all is well. When it comes to assessing how they feel physically, it can be anyone’s guess. Because they are hardwired for self-preservation at all costs, the animals we share our lives with could be suffering needlessly. That’s why it’s imperative to know and be able to recognize the five common signs of pet illness never to ignore or dismiss.
What to Look For
It’s not uncommon for pet owners to miss the subtle signs of pet illness until they become undeniably obvious. A delayed response can reduce effective treatment options, possibly affecting longevity and quality of life.
Tuning into your pet’s behavior patterns, habits, and personality characteristics can lead to seeking veterinary help early on. This timing influences early diagnosis and a better prognosis.
Signs of Pet Illness
If you notice any of the following signs of pet illness, start taking notes to share with your veterinarian. It’s important to have as much information as possible as we begin to assess the following possible symptoms that your pet is unwell:
- Eating/Drinking. As a creature of habit, your pet anticipates and relies on timely meals. If they skip a meal or two, simply try to offer something neutral to soothe an upset tummy. If they are still not eating, please make an appointment for your pet to be seen as soon as possible and avoid a pet emergency. Excessive water consumption can also be a sign of pet illness.
- Appearance. If you start to notice a greasy coat, tangles, mats, missing patches of fur, dandruff, or other skin or coat issues, it’s time to investigate the cause. Also check for foul odor from mouth, discharge from the eyes or ears, an unsanitary bottom, and general stinkiness. All of these are helpful details to share with your veterinarian.
- Withdrawal or Clinginess. It’s important to note that really any changes to your pet’s behavior are reason enough for concern. However, extreme displays of suffering may present as either total isolation away from household noise/activity, or anxious clinginess to their owner.
- Vomiting. We’re not talking about an occasional hairball, or something gross your dog ate but can’t digest. Repetitive or consistent episodes of vomiting, however, are cause for concern. If they throw up right after a meal, they could have a reaction to the ingredients or are having trouble breaking down hard kibble. Stomach bile or water regurgitation should not be accepted as normal.
- Vocalization. An otherwise quiet pet that starts to cry, whine, or whimper is trying to communicate that they don’t feel well, or that something hurts. You might be able to figure out what’s bothering them and fix it (like a certain noise or experience), but sometimes you might need to reach out for more help. That’s where we come in!
Stay Ahead of Any Curve Balls
The more we know about your pet’s needs and health care requirements, the more we can influence their overall wellness.