There are multiple warning signs that your pet may need to visit the veterinarian, and by and large they’re far too many to list. You as the owner know your pet best and if you want to be on the super safe side than essentially any sort of change behaviorally or physically by your pet should warrant a visit. For many pet owners this is simply not in the cards to visit the veterinarian for every issue, it’s not that we don’t love our animals, it is just that we simply cannot afford it. Even though your pet may not express the following symptoms or any variety of them, if you notice a change in your pet and you feel concerned for their well-being than it would be a good idea to always rather be safe than sorry. Unless you’re a licensed veterinarian, there’s truly no way to tell for sure how sick or healthy your pet actually is, let alone diagnose them. In the end you as the owner are the responsible party so you should have final judgment on whether your pet needs to visit a veterinarian, regardless of whether any signs coincide with this article. Nevertheless, here are a few simple ways to check on your pet’s well-being without breaking the bank, and most importantly determine whether it is worth getting an expert opinion.
Rapid weight change
This warning sign is something you may see over the course of a few days or even a few weeks, but if you notice a rapid weight change in either direction in your pet then it is possible that your pet may have something worthy of a visit. If your pet is eating regularly but still losing weight, this could likely be a parasite of some sort, which is treatable, and hopefully not something worse. In stark contrast, if your pet is gaining weight but they are eating the same amount, then this could be something hormonal and lymphatic. In either case or in any other case of rapid weight change, a visit to the veterinarian is certainly warranted. It adds unneeded stress to the body of your pet and likelihood is there is something that needs treating.
Drinking lots of water
If you are observing rapid hydration in your pet and this is also worthy of a check up. Often times dogs and cats, dogs especially, will instinctively drink massive amounts of water when they have just eaten something that was either poisonous or in no way beneficial for digestion. Drinking lots of water is your pet’s instinctual way of understanding that there is something wrong with what they ate. It is quite similar to watching you dog eat grass after he just tasted something that did not sit well. Or your cat, licking their lips after eating a bug. To be observant of this over hydration specifically would be beneficial in the long run as it is likely that your pet will need immediate attention.
Not drinking any water
On the exact opposite note to as listed above, not drinking any water or drinking very little water can be just as massive of a warning sign. There is no real way to tell what the cause is for your pet refusing to drink any water, but water is the source of life, and without everything dies. Clear signs of dehydration should evoke immediate concern for you as an owner. If you’re not sure if your pet is dehydrated, a quick way to tell is to grab and pinch the skin on the back of their neck just behind their ears and lift up. If the skin does not snap back into place, and assuming of course there is not a multitude of excess skin such as in a Bassett hound, then your pet is dehydrated. Important note, the pinching is not necessary in any rough way, you just need to be able to lift the skin upward and be able to observe it fall, so be gentle.
If you have a particularly drool prone pet and be sure to take this into consideration when observing how much your dog or cat is salivating. Over salivation is a clear sign that something is wrong and you should have it looked at by professional immediately. It will lead to rapid dehydration and is likely just the first symptom of many to follow.
A loss of appetite is a clear symptom that your pet is ill. This is assuming you have not just recently changed their diet, because if that is the case they may not be ill, they may just be being stubborn. However, if your pet is not eating and you can’t understand why then this is also worthy of visiting a veterinarian. Often a loss of the desire to eat is connected to a digestion issue or worse.