Just like us, pets can get sick sometimes. They can’t talk to us to tell us what is wrong, so we have to observe their behavior in order to know if they are not feeling well. This can be tricky sometimes, because pets often hide their illness or pain as an instinct for survival. Check out these six signs that your pet may be sick, and if you notice any of them, be sure to call your veterinarian!
1. Change in appetite
This is one of the most common and easiest signs to notice with your pet. Usually, sick pets will have a decrease in their appetite and not want to eat as much as they normally do. However, Hyperthyroid and Diabetes are two serious diseases that can actually make your pet eat more food than usual. Keep an eye on the food bowl and measure how much you are putting out for your pet to help you decide if their appetite has changed.
Any time your pet seems to be slowing down or has a lack of energy, that’s a sure sign that he or she may be sick. Weakness, dull attitude or lack of normal energy levels might be the only clue that something more serious is going on inside. Even in older pets where we expect to see “slowing down” with age, there are many medications and helpful treatments to address arthritis and other causes of decreased energy.
3. Change in water consumption
If your pet has a change in how much water they are drinking, they could have a serious illness. Diseases such as Diabetes, Cushing’s and Kidney Failure will all cause pets to drink more water than normal. This change in water consumption can be gradual, so if you think your pet might be drinking more than normal, have your veterinarian check bloodwork to screen for these diseases.
Occasionally pets throw up their food or water, especially if they eat too fast. However, if your pet vomits more than once or is showing any other signs of illness, that’s a red flag that they need to be seen by your veterinarian. Vomiting can be caused by many serious illnesses such as pancreatitis, toxin ingestion, kidney failure, diabetes and gastrointestinal foreign bodies (items that get stuck in the stomach and intestines that are not supposed to be there such as toys, balls, socks, bones, etc.). Vomiting is a severe sign of illness and should be investigated and treated to be sure that there is no life-threatening illness occurring.
Loose stool is never a good thing! Not only is it a pain to clean up, but it often means something is going on with your pet’s health. Parasites (worms) are a major cause of diarrhea, but feeding a new food or getting into the trash can wreck havoc on your pet’s gastrointestinal system. There are many effective diarrhea medications that your vet can prescribe, but it’s important to find the cause of the diarrhea in order to fully resolve the problem.
Pets can get coughs just like people. If your pet is coughing, they could be experiencing an illness related to the lungs such as pneumonia, bronchitis, kennel cough or other infectious respiratory disease. Coughing can also be a sign of heart worms, congestive heart failure as well as cancer. If you pet is coughing, be sure to have your veterinarian assess the cough with a stethoscope and take x-rays to look for enlarged heart size, lung tumors, or signs of infection