All dogs and cats have accidents and make messes sometimes, right? To an extent, that’s completely true. Just like people, pets can get an upset stomach without warning, and be fine a few minutes after being sick.
So what issues demand a trip to the vet? Here are 7 signs you should never ignore.
1. Blood in vomit, urine, or stool: Blood in any way is a sign that it’s probably time for a vet’s help, though some minor scrapes can be effectively treated at home. Blood in your pet’s waste or vomiting with blood, however, should sound the alarm. This could mean urinary tract infections, parasites, or other time sensitive problems.
2. Constipation: Cats should use the litter box once or twice a day. If they’re not, it’s possible they have a hairball that’s blocking their digestive tract — a dangerous problem. Dogs will usually have to go when they wake up and after they eat.
3. Potty messes: Cats who suddenly start making messes outside the litter box could have kidney disease, a urinary tract infection, or bladder stones. Dogs who become incontinent might be senior dogs going through this rather normal aging process, but it can also be a sign of kidney disease. Either way, your vet can help.
4. Losing or gaining lots of weight: Hypo- and hyperthyroidism can cause dangerous weight fluctuations in cats and dogs. Hypothyroidism is by far more common in dogs, and hyperthyroidism is more common in cats.
5. Cloudy, weepy, or irritated eyes: Dogs can be prone to cataracts, which can cause vision loss and glaucoma. They’re more likely in senior dogs. And a cat or a dog with any sort of residue, discharge, redness, or swelling of the eyes could have an eye infection, which could vary in seriousness but will likely need your vet’s help.
6. Behavioral changes: Cats who suddenly start hiding or stop seeking attention could be feeling sick for any number of reasons. Dogs who become more anxious or agitated could be developing OCD.
7. Itching and scratching: All pets will scratch an itch now and then, but if your pet is regularly scratching, it could be a sign of fleas, which can cause skin rashes and carry diseases. Talk to your vet about flea prevention and get rid of those insects!
Tip: If you’re not sure you want to head to the vet over a hairball or some other seemingly small issue, but you really would like to have a professional opinion, call your vet! Most veterinarians will be available by phone, or you may be able to leave a message or talk to a vet tech at the office who’ll have your answer.
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