Pets add so much flavor and variety to our lives – and that’s one thing we love about them. But what happens when things are little too out of the ordinary … when something just feels off? At that point, it’s important to pay close attention to the habits of our beloved pets. Since they (typically) lack the ability to form words, they must use other ways of communicating that something is wrong. Look out for these seven common warning signs that your pet’s health could be at risk.
[Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals – nor do we pretend to be them on the Internet. Your vet always knows best. When in doubt, play it safe and check with them.]
1. Lack of Appetite
When something is wrong, pets will intuitively stop (or reduce) eating, allowing more energy to go toward healing – rather than digesting. Sometimes dogs can be picky (as they’re holding out for human food), but if this persists for a couple days, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
2. Repeated Vomiting or Diarrhea
Occasionally, your pet might eat a plant or something questionable that causes them to throw up, or maybe loosens the stool up a bit. That is usually no cause for concern. But if the problem continues, or you see any blood in the vomit or stool, it is best to check in with the vet as soon as possible.
3. Urinating More or Less Frequently
If your normally house-trained pet is having regular accidents indoors, it could be a warning sign. The same thing goes for dogs that typically sleep through the night, but have been requesting nocturnal potty breaks. Increased urinary activity – as well as excessive thirst – could be a sign of diabetes, adrenal gland disease, or liver/kidney disease. Too little urination, or straining to urinate, often points to a urinary tract infection or bladder stones.
Chronic coughing can be a sign of heart disease, heartworms, lung disease, or an infectious tracheobronchitis known as “kennel cough.” This is a harsh, hacking cough that can be especially dangerous for puppies, as well as breeds whose faces are “pushed-in” (boxers, pugs, bulldogs, etc.), as the design of their respiratory system may cause more problems.
5. Stiffness, Lameness, or Inactivity
This might point to hip or spine arthritis, disc disease, ruptured ligaments, or hip dysplasia. It’s always best to check with your vet in cases like this.
6. Obsessive Scratching of the Ears
We all get an itchy ear from time to time, but if your pet seems to be “going at it” more than usual, or rubbing up against furniture more often than usual, it could be a sign that they are suffering from an ear infection – or at least some excess debris. Besides consulting with your vet, one option is to use a pet ear cleaner that is free of harmful chemicals. This can help to clean out the debris and fight inner-ear bacteria.
7. Bad Breath, Yellow Teeth, and Inflamed Gums
Your pet’s mouth can often be a looking glass into the state of their health. If their gums get infected, harmful bacteria is likely seeping into their bloodstream and circulating to their vital organs. One of the most effective ways to clean your pet’s mouth, get rid of bad breath, and fight gum disease is our vet-recommended Pet Dental Water Additive. Of course, if you feel the problem is severe and deserves immediate attention, you can speak with your vet and schedule a professional cleaning.
Sharing is Caring
Do you know someone who loves their pet? Share these tips with them so they too can stay on the lookout for these important warning signs.