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Signs Your Dog Needs to Go to the Vet

Knowing when your dog needs to go to the vet can mean the difference between the life and death of your pet.

By Lorna VausePublished 6 years ago 5 min read
Image via Sashank Saye/Unsplash

Dogs have ways of letting you know that things aren't right, as long as you pay attention. Familiarizing yourself with your pup's behaviors helps you to know when your dog needs to go to the vet, but that's not all you need to know. Spotting behavioral changes quickly is helpful. However, it's also essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of common issues that can point to more severe problems. Instead of heading to Google and getting scared sick, research your dog's breed, age, and common ailments. That can potentially save unnecessary visits to the vet, but knowledge will also let you know that your doggo needs to see the doc.

Changes in Diet and Eating Habits

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Not all dietary changes require you to take your dog to the vet, but a complete lack of appetite is a red flag. All dogs get tired of their food at some point. Like humans, they get sick of the same old thing and need a change. However, most doggos are more than happy to eat people food, especially foods that are poisonous to dogs. A marked disinterest in his dish and yours can point to a variety of issues, such as digestion problems, blockages, cancer, or other diseases. Dental disease is another worry; it might be hard for your pup to chew. Don't be worried if your doggo passes on a meal or two every so often, but bear in mind that a healthy dog doesn't turn up his nose at food for very long. If you're tying to be proactive, this veterinary nutritionist-formulated dog food will keep your pet healthy and ready to play at a second's notice.

Changes in Drinking Patterns

It seems odd to say that your dog needs to go to the vet if he's drinking more than usual. Water's supposed to be healthy, right? Generally speaking, that's true. However, excessive drinking points to excessive thirst, which can be a symptom of kidney disease. It's also a sign of diabetes. Pay close attention to how often you refill your dog's water bowl. For pup parents who have more than one dog, keep an eye on each canine to assess their behavior if you suspect that one of them has been drinking more than usual.

Failure to drink enough water points to problems, as well. Not only can your dog get dehydrated on hot days, but lack of thirst is also suggestive of kidney or bladder issues. Your dog might have a urinary infection, stomach problems, or difficulties with swallowing.

An Unkempt Coat

Seasonal shedding is one thing. That's normal. Fur that's extremely dry or rough, however, is another warning sign that your dog needs to go to the vet. The ideal coat is soft to the touch, thick, and shiny—or at least not lackluster; dogs who naturally have matte fur won't necessarily shine. A healthy pup looks healthy, though, and you can tell by the fur and the skin beneath. Dryness or roughness may occur because of an allergy, a reaction to dog food, or a skin problem. You can get your coat questions answered with a quick trip to the vet.

Apathy and Lethargy

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You know your dog's attitude and behaviors. You know when he's lazy versus when he's lethargic. Lethargy and disinterest are significant signs that something's wrong and your dog needs to go to the vet. Give your pup a day or two. An intense day of exercise and high heat can both be culprits. Anything that lasts longer than a couple of days suggests a deeper issue.

Tummy Issues and Bathroom Behaviors

Vomiting, unusual pooping habits, and the need to urinate more often should ring the alarm bells. Dogs throw up occasionally, but persistent vomiting, the presence of blood, or the development of a fever mean that something's wrong with your dog.

The same is true for diarrhea or constipation. The former can cause dehydration in addition to being the symptom for any number of health problems. Healthy doggos have firm stools that are a bit moist and generally small. If they're too loose or hard and dry, a trip to the vet is necessary. Check for worms, and try to see if your dog is straining.

Frequent urination can be a problem, too. It's scarier still if your dog tries to force himself to pee. That can be indicative of kidney disease. It's also a sign of bladder and urinary tract problems. At the same time, senior dogs pee more often than younger pups, so age is a consideration.

Fluctuating Weight

Weight loss that occurs too quickly is almost always a cause for alarm. If your dog is overweight, you might not think that a sudden decrease in weight is a problem, but you need to visit the vet's office. Your vet will likely do blood tests to find out the reason behind your pup's drop in pounds. Bear in mind that rapid weight gain is just as worrisome, and means that your furry friend needs to go to the vet.

Puppy Dog Eyes

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Healthy dogs have bright eyes. Older dogs may develop cataracts over time, but their eyes themselves shouldn't be cloudy, watering excessively, or red. Infection is one possible cause for this. Injury is another. For the sake of your pup's sight, your dog needs to go to the vet as soon as you notice redness or squinting.

Butt Dragging

Some dogs enjoy dragging their butts across your clean rug. They do it infrequently, however. This act is also common for dogs who just got a haircut. They simply have itchy butts. Persistent dragging is more problematic. Your dog might be suffering from worms. Infected or impacted anal glands cause this behavior, as well. Even urinary tract issues can make Fido scoot his behind across the floor. It can also be a signal that your dog's having some problems with diarrhea.

Hide and Seek

Is your dog hiding from you? A dog who hides could be licking his wounds, trying to cope with sickness by himself, or feeling stressed. Pay close attention to senior dogs who do this. They may require fast veterinary care. Once you find your pup, look over him closely and use your best judgment to make sure they are just being playful and are not ill.

Uncharacteristic Aggression

Image via Seth Reese/Unsplash

A dog who becomes aggressive out of nowhere is a dog who needs to go to the vet. Dogs sometimes cope with pain and discomfort by lashing out. They don't want to be touched when they're hurt. Does your pup get vicious when you try to touch a specific spot? That's probably where the pain generates.

When your dog needs to go to the vet, you don't want to waste time. Every second is precious, and besides that, you don't want your pet to live in pain. Man's best friend should get the attention they need as soon as they need it and veterinarians are not trying to steal your money. Make sure to take good care of your furry friend so that you can enjoy your life together as long as possible.


About the Creator

Lorna Vause

Grew up going back and forth between Boston and New York so I have the weirdest accent. Mother of two babies, one of them is furry and meows a lot though

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