If only our pets could talk. Not only would we get a glimpse into their world, but we’d also instantly know when something is wrong. But since cats and dogs can’t speak our language, it’s crucial for pet owners to pay close attention to their furry friends’ behavioral changes and not to downplay any they may notice. The signs of a pet emergency may not always be obvious, but by keeping a watchful eye and taking swift action, you may be able to keep your pet safe and healthy. And if you spot any of the following warning signs, take your pet to see your veterinarian immediately.
- Respiratory issues
It’s normal for your cat cat to let out the occasional sneeze or for your pup to pant a bit after a long walk. But any other respiratory issue is a big red flag. Breathing difficulties can turn fatal very quickly and can be hard to recognize in some animals. It might be obvious if your dog is breathing hard, but your cat may be more subtle with mouth breathing or wheezes. The bottom line is that if you think your pet is “breathing funny,” you should take it very seriously. Get them in to emergency vet services before it’s too late.
- Stool problems
No one likes to talk about defecation, but your pet’s excrement can be a telltale sign that something’s amiss. By cleaning your cat’s litter box and picking up after your dog every day, you’ll probably have a good indication of what’s normal and what’s not. If you notice blood in their stool or they’re dealing with constipation or diarrhea, you’ll need to take them to see your veterinarian. Even if it ends up being a one-off incident, at least you’ll have that knowledge. It’s better to be safe than sorry, after all.
Some owners mistake their pet’s pain for simply being quiet or tired. But if you notice a sudden shift in your healthy pet’s behavior — like if they’re acting disinterested, lethargic, or simply aren’t moving — it’s not just because they didn’t get enough sleep. It can be a sign of significant pain or illness, so you shouldn’t chalk it up to being worn out. You know better than anyone how active your pet normally is; if they’ve deviated from that baseline, it’s time to get them checked out by the vet.
- Changes in eating and drinking habits
Dogs are notorious for being obvious about their eating and drinking habits. If your usually famished pup suddenly isn’t interested in having his dinner or is drinking less water than normal, take him to the animal hospital to be sure something bigger isn’t at play. Cats are typically more stealthy about eating and drinking; in fact, you may rarely see your cat drink out of her water dish on a regular basis. But you still need to monitor how much your cat eats and drinks on a daily basis. If she goes a day without eating or ups her water intake significantly, this could be a sign of kidney failure, diabetes, obstructions, or other health issues.
- Repeated vomiting
Your dog or cat may occasionally vomit if they eat something yucky, but it’s definitely not a normal occurrence. If your pet vomits repeatedly, it could be a sign of major illness or even ingestion of a toxin. Many pet owners aren’t aware that foods and plants that are totally safe for humans can be hazardous for the animals they love. Read up on household items that are dangerous for your pet and be sure to keep them away. And if your cat or dog vomits more than once, you should take them to your veterinarian to get checked out.
Your pet relies on you to keep them safe and healthy. Although many pet owners are wary of running to their veterinarian for every little issue, it’s vital to recognize the warning signs of major health complications. If your dog or cat exhibits any of these signs, seek out emergency vet assistance right away.