You know your pet better than anyone – and you will likely be the first person to spot the signs of trouble. Something obvious like a fall, animal bite or other trauma is easy to identify and should trigger a call to your veterinarian – but what about the less obvious signs of illness? Unlike your other family members, your dog or cat can’t tell you what is wrong, so careful observation is a must. Knowing when to call can help you protect your pet without making you take an unnecessary trip or incur unnecessary expenses. Here are the 5 signs to indicate your pet may need medical attention:
1. Breathing problems
Wheezing, gasping or struggling for breath should trigger an immediate call to the vet. Difficulty breathing can be a life threatening problem on its own; it can also be a sign of another serious issue. If your pet is struggling to get air, it is time to visit the vet.
2. Excessive vomiting
Too much nibbling on grass or overindulging in garbage from the trashcan can give your pet an upset stomach. A single, minor vomiting incident may not be a big deal, but excessive vomiting may be a sign of an intestinal or stomach problem that needs to be investigated. Excessive vomiting can also cause dehydration and lead to additional health problems. If you suspect your pet has eaten something he shouldn’t have, or if there is way too much vomiting for a simple stomach ache, it is time to make a phone call to your vet.
3. You find evidence
If you see signs that your dog or cat has consumed something he shouldn’t have, call your vet immediately. From raiding the Easter basket to nibbling on toxic plants, you may see evidence of his misbehavior. A visit to the vet could help ward off problems if your dog or cat has consumed something dangerous, from a toxic toad to leftover chicken bones.
4. Signs of bloat
Every dog owner needs to know the signs of bloat, a life threatening condition that claims beloved pets every year. Discomfort or pain, a distended abdomen and attempting to vomit without result could all be signs of bloat and should trigger an emergency visit to the vet.
5. Additional problems in an already sick pet
Even minor concerns can grow into big problems if your pet is already sick. Any signs of additional trouble in an elderly, very young injured or already compromised pet should trigger an immediate phone call to your vet.