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Signs Your Pet Needs to Go to the Vet

As a pet owner, you wholeheartedly see your pet as being more than a furry companion. Your pet is a member of your family—and maybe even your best friend! You eat together, watch television, and take daily walks with each other. However, unlike other members of your family who can vocalize when they feel sick or something is wrong, your pet cannot talk to you.

Sick cat with Vet

This is where your expertise as a pet owner comes into play. While there are some illnesses and conditions you can treat at home on your own, there are certain signs and symptoms that indicate your pet should be taken in for veterinary services by an experienced pet doctor.

Here are signs that your pet needs to go to the vet:

Excessive Thirst

Just like humans, dogs and cats should be drinking plenty of water throughout the day to keep them hydrated both inside and out. Be sure to keep tabs on how often your pet drinks water. While your pet is likely to be extremely thirsty after a long walk or a bout of running around, your pet shouldn't be drinking excessively throughout the day.

Excessive thirst may be indications that your pet is suffering from diabetes or some sort of kidney issue. If you think your pet may be drinking more often than usual, keep note of how many times you're refilling his water bowl, as well as how often he's urinating.


It's not unusual for a dog or cat to vomit. We all know that pets are notorious for getting into things they shouldn't and inevitably eating them! This can cause an upset stomach that may cause your pet to vomit. If your pet vomits frequently throughout the day, a trip to the vet is warranted. Other warning signs to be aware of include a fever and blood in the vomit.

Since severe vomiting can cause diarrhea and dehydration, you want to get your pet to the vet as soon as possible.

Change in Eating Habits

We've all had those days when we wake up without an appetite. In pets, it's not uncommon for your dog or cat to turn down a meal every so often. This is especially common during the warmer months when your pet just may not be too interested in his food.

Ill dog not eating

Skipped meals here and there are rarely a cause for concern; however, if your pet has skipped meals for a few days in a row, you want to seek medical assistance.

In both dogs and cats, a loss of appetite may be an indication of:

·  Dental disease

·  High stress

·  Infection

·  Liver or kidney problems

Before rushing your pet to an animal hospital in Fort Collins, ensure you haven’t made any inadvertent dietary changes. Are you feeding a new food? Have you been feeding your pet more treats? Have you changed your pet’s eating schedule? All of these play a role in your pet’s appetite.

Change in Behavior

Most pets are balls of energy. From spending time running outdoors to scrambling through your home, one of the most noticeable indications that your pet is sick is a change in behavior. Dogs and cats who aren't feeling well are often less energetic and might even become lethargic. Odds are your pet isn't interested in playing, going for a walk, or doing other usually enjoyable activities.

Tired dog feeling sick

Since we all experience tired days, sluggishness is only worth a trip to the vet if it lasts more than a few days. A lack of energy may be a sign of an underlying health issue or even a strained muscle. A vet can pinpoint the cause and provide treatment to get your pet back to his normal self.

Dry or Rough Coat

Your pet's fur should be soft, shiny, and thick. Changes in your pet's coat may be the sign of an underlying health issue, such as a skin infection or allergies. A questionable coat should be looked at by an experienced veterinarian to rule out any serious issues.

Many pets suffer from both seasonal and food allergies. In fact, about 30% of pets with food-responsive diseases are also diagnosed with seasonal and flea allergies.1 Both of these conditions cause skin issues, including hair loss, patches, and itchiness.

Dog suffering for allergies

Since it can be hard to determine if your pet is suffering from allergies or a more serious skin infection, it’s best to seek medical advice. The good news is that most skin infections can be treated using all natural medicines. If you want to avoid antibiotics and medications, consider visiting with a holistic veterinarian who may be able to prescribe homeopathic remedies for skin issues, such as aloe vera or calendula.

Unusual Stool

While there's no fun in checking your dog or cat's poop, the fact is that your pet's stool is a good indicator of his overall health. A healthy dog should have firm, small, and moist stools. Poop that is hard or dry indicates a dietary problem, dehydration, or some other issue.

Your cat's stool should be dark brown, firm, and fully formed. Cats with abnormal feces may be suffering from kidney or liver disease or an underlying digestive issue.2 Unusual stool can also be an indication of parasites.

Other poop issues to be on the lookout for that require an immediate trip to the vet include:

·  Mucus or blood in the stool

·  Oddly colored stool

·  Straining

·  Worms

·  Diarrhea or running stool

While the job of being a poo observer isn’t the highlight of being a pet owner, knowing what’s coming out of your pet can give you the peace of mind that Fido is healthy.

Excessive Whining

While pets can't speak up and say that they're in pain, excessive whining, shaking, and panting are all signs that your pet is highly uncomfortable or in pain. Before taking your pet to the vet, try localizing the area of the body that's causing pain. Look at your pet's paws and legs for anything sharp that may be lodged in them or which could have caused a cut or scrape. You'll also want to feel your pet's stomach. A hard, swollen, or distended stomach is a sign of bloat or even an infection.

If your pet shows signs of being in pain for more than a few hours, you'll want to seek medical treatment. Sometimes the issue is something small like a thorn in the paw or something more long-term like the onset of arthritis.

In treating pain, there are all sorts of options, including medication and physical therapy. There’s even the option to use Chinese medicine for pets to alleviate pain and discomfort from certain health conditions.

Sick cat being seen by vets

Sick Pet? We’re Here to Help!

We know there’s nothing more stressful than dealing with a sick pet. As a pet owner, you may feel helpless in getting your pet back to his normal self. If your dog or cat is showing any of the symptoms above or if you have a gut feeling that something isn’t right, we’re here to help!

As a veterinarian in Fort Collins, our goal is to ensure your pet is happy and healthy, now and in the future. For all of your pet wellness needs, look no further than Advanced Animal Care of Colorado.

Contact our office today at (970) 493-3333 to schedule an appointment.


1. https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/food-allergies-vs-seasonal-allergies-dogs

2. https://pets.webmd.com/cats/the-scoop-on-cat-poop

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