When a pet has a change in behavior, it may be a sign that something is amiss. Dogs and cats can’t tell us when they hurt or don’t feel well. However, pet parents that see them every day will notice when the pet isn’t being their usual self. Here are four signs to watch for, that can indicate your dog or cat is ill and may need to go to the veterinarian.
1. Vomiting or diarrhea
One sign of a serious health issue that your pet can exhibit is vomiting or diarrhea. Blood in vomit or diarrhea can be a sign of gastric ulcers or the presence of a foreign body, such as when a pet eats something they shouldn’t have like a tennis ball or some ribbon.
2. Changes in bathroom habits
Another possible sign of illness is an increase or decrease in urination. Increased urination can be a sign of diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, or adrenal gland disease. A lack of urinating or straining to urinate can be a sign of bladder stones or an obstruction of the urethra. An obstruction of the urethra is a life threatening condition.
3. Appetite changes and acting lethargic
A lack of appetite or lethargy is a concern, especially if it lasts more than 24 hours. Often times, lack of appetite or lethargy accompany other signs of illness. To note, cats are more prone to consequences from not eating.
4. Acting in pain
Typical “I’m in pain” behavior includes hiding, refusing to eat, sluggish or slow movement, vocalizing, trying to bite when touched, shaking, and panting. Sometimes these vague signs are the only thing that a dog or cat will show, even if there is something serious going on inside their body. Sometimes, pain is from musculoskeletal pain and can be relieved with pain medication. However, serious life-threatening diseases can sometimes be present with pain as the only sign.
If your pet is exhibiting any of these signs or is not acting like him or herself, give your veterinarian a call. They know your pet and its history, and can help determine the best next steps you should take.