When to worry about your pet
Your dog is part of the family: he’s your best friend, he eats your leftovers and accompanies you on morning walks. But your dog can’t complain, so how do you know when to seek medical attention? How do you know if that limp means a sprain or if that sneeze needs an antibiotic?
Read further the warning signs that indicate the need to take your pet to the vet.
1. Strange eating habits
It’s not unusual for your dog to skip a meal or two, especially in hot weather, but more than that should be a warning sign that something is wrong. Two days without food is a clear sign that the dog needs an examination.
Some diseases cause dogs to develop unusual eating habits. If your dog is usually well-behaved but starts raiding the pantry or the garbage, you should take him in for a checkup.
2. Excessive thirst.
It is important to know how much water your dog drinks per day. A dog that drinks more water than usual could develop kidney disease or diabetes. You can tell if your dog drinks too much water by filling the water bowl more than usual, or if he urinates too much, has to go out more often, or has accidents in the house.
3. Coarse or dry coat
The dog’s coat should be thick, shiny and soft. A dull, rough, dry or bald coat may indicate that something is wrong. An inadequate diet, allergy or skin disease could be the culprits. In any case, a visit to the vet is a must for a questionable coat.
4. Appearing sluggish and tired
Lethargy is a sign that something may be bothering the dog. A lethargic dog may not be interested in playing, going for walks, or participating in activities he usually enjoys. Normal fatigue or muscle soreness can sometimes be due to high temperatures, but you should see your veterinarian if symptoms persist for more than two days.
Occasional vomiting is not uncommon in dogs. Animals may vomit to get rid of something they don’t like. But a little vomiting should be a cause for concern. For example, the veterinarian should be called immediately if the dog
- vomits frequently or several times in a row
- vomits blood
- has a fever
Severe vomiting can also cause dehydration or diarrhea, so you should seek medical attention immediately.
6. Unusual stools
A dog’s stools are a good indicator of his overall health. A healthy dog has small, firm, moist stools. Dry, hard stools can be a sign of illness, feeding problems or dehydration. Take your dog to the veterinarian if any of these symptoms are present:
- presence of worms in the stool
- diarrhea for more than 24 hours
- blood or mucus in the stool
7. Sudden weight loss
Even in an overweight dog, sudden weight loss should lead to a visit to the veterinarian. Rapid and unexpected weight loss could indicate a serious health problem. If the dog loses 10 percent of his weight, take him to the veterinarian. In small dogs, weight loss can be as little as one pound.
8. Cloudy or red eyes
Cloudy or red eyes, squinting or excessive discharge from the dog’s eyes could indicate an infection or injury. Be sure to have your dog checked immediately. Diseases affecting the eyes can progress rapidly and cause blindness. Medication can be used to treat an infection or relieve clinical signs.
9. Moving or crawling on the back
If the dog is moving or dragging its butt on the floor, it may have worms, clogged or infected anal glands, urinary tract infection or diarrhea.
10. Emergency symptoms
Take the dog to a veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic if any of the following symptoms are present
- open wounds or possible broken bones, such as those caused by road kill or other trauma
- stops breathing or becomes unconscious
- repeated vomiting or vomiting of blood
- sudden collapse or difficulty breathing
- bleeding from the mouth, nose or eyes
- possible poisoning from eating something poisonous
- extreme pain, manifested by moaning or trembling
- hard, swollen abdomen