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10 Warning Signs That You Should Take Your Pet to the Vet

Unfortunately, pets cannot talk, which means they cannot tell us they feel ill or whether some part of their body hurts. And even if that would prove itself useful, there is another solution. By paying special attention to sudden changes in our pet’s behavior and doing a little bit of research on what these symptoms could mean, we can avoid more serious illnesses in the future.

That’s why, today, Bright Side decided to do some research online so that you can see if your pet suffers from any of these symptoms and figure out what they could mean.

1. Tearing eyes and winks

If you see that your pet often has teary eyes and is constantly winking, it could be suffering from an illness. In any case, we have to pay attention to what could be going on because cats and dogs do not show emotions through tears. Of course, that means it’s important to take your pet to the vet for a check-up as soon as possible.

  • If your cat often has teary eyes and you notice it starts winking more than usual, it might have conjunctivitis, allergies, or maybe even a foreign particle in its eyes. You should also look for red marks in their eyes.
  • If your dog has teary eyes, especially if it’s just one, this could also be a sign of a corneal injury, conjunctivitis, allergies, tumors, or even an obstruction in their tear duct.

2. Overgrooming its paws

If your pet constantly feels the need to lick or bite its paws, it could be experiencing pain or itching that bothers them in and around their claws. You really have to pay close attention to your pet if you notice that this habit is becoming very constant as the days go by.

  • You probably know that cats have a habit of licking their paws every day, but you should pay attention to whether they lick their paws repeatedly and if the area around their claws becomes red or starts to lose hair. This might indicate that they suffer from allergies, intolerances, or parasites (among other things).
  • Dogs can have problems with their claws, especially if they change color or break easily. The conditions that can cause these symptoms can be allergies, tumors, or metabolic diseases.

3. Excessive drooling

It’s common for some pets, like dogs, to produce a lot of drool. However, if you notice that the amount of drool your dog is producing gets out of hand, you might be witnessing one of the first symptoms of an illness. As for cats, visible salivation is always a clear sign that something might be wrong.

  • When it comes to dogs, hypersalivation can be due to intoxication, foreign objects inserted or stuck in their mouth, infections, or stress, among other causes.
  • On the other hand, for cats, visible salivation is never a common thing and could be caused by an infection, oral problems, stress, or salivary gland disorders.

4. Low or seemingly sad mood

Depression in pets, like in humans, is hardly ever talked about, despite the fact that it is much more serious than a simple bad disposition or a blue state of mind that can be shaken off at will. It is an actual illness that, most of the time, is dealt with in secret and that, in the case of your pet, could prevent it from behaving normally.

  • If your dog shows depressed behavior that does not go away after a short amount of time, it could be suffering from depression due to trauma, hypothyroidism, fever, or cataracts, among other possibilities.
  • If what we’re dealing with here is a cat, a sad mood can be linked to emotional problems, especially if it stops playing or partaking in normal habits like sharpening its claws. There are many reasons why this could happen. Some of the most common are jealousy, stress, and anxiety. In any case, we’re talking about an illness that can cause a huge amount of discomfort or even traumatic shock.

5. Sudden weight loss

Being overweight isn’t the only weight-related problem that could put your pet’s health at risk. A sudden loss of weight for no apparent reason could also be a clear symptom of a serious underlying illness in pets.

  • The causes of weight loss in pets should always be determined by a veterinarian after a careful examination, to find out what’s really happening. Some of the most common reasons for an animal to lose weight very quickly include internal parasites, hyperthyroidism, cancer, or heart problems — so make sure you go to your vet as soon as possible.

6. Constant scratching

Scratching, in dogs and cats, is a normal habit that, at first sight, should not involve any risk for their health. However, if on top of scratching itself constantly, your pet is also losing hair on different parts of its body, it might be suffering from a disease.

  • Dogs that feel itchy and constantly scratch themselves could be suffering from a food allergy, dermatitis, fungus, or skin irritations, among other things.
  • Cats often scratch or lick themselves as if there was no tomorrow when they feel a part of their body is itchy. That’s normal. However, if they do so constantly for days, it might be due to a fungus, allergies, eye problems, or even an object stuck in the cat’s nose.

7. Lack of hair around the eyes

You should always pay attention to hair loss in pets. If it happens around the eyes, your pet could be suffering from a serious condition and should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

  • If your dog has hairless areas around its eyes, and if, in addition, it is accompanied by reddened areas, this could be caused by mites, a compromised immune system, fungi, or allergies.
  • If your cat has lost hair around their eyes, this could be related to constant scratching caused maybe by an itch or a specific discomfort. Those, in turn, could be caused by conjunctivitis or even a foreign object that ended up in the cat’s eye.

8. Doesn’t want to go out for a walk or play at home

When a pet refuses to participate in its daily activities or even walk, most of the time it’s due to an inflammation in the joints that makes it very difficult for them to play or in severe cases, to walk.

  • If your pet refuses to walk or has difficulty with simple physical activities, it could be a symptom of osteoarthritis, pain in their paws, or even the possible tearing of the cruciate ligament in the knee, which can be very painful.

9. Constantly shakes its head or scratches its ear

When a pet scratches its ears and shakes its head frantically, it is a clear sign that something might be happening in or around the ear region. Head movements that clearly show that your pet is trying to get rid of something stuck in its ear or intense scratching in that area are reasons to go to the vet. He or she will then examine your pet to figure out exactly what the problem is.

  • Keep in mind that if your dog shakes its head and constantly scratches around the ear area or neck, it could mean that it has a foreign object stuck in its ear, otitis, ticks, or bruises, among other possible causes.
  • If your cat feels discomfort in its ears and shakes its head constantly, it could be a symptom of having a foreign object stuck in its ear, an infection, inflammation, otitis, or allergies, among other possible causes.

10. Sudden overeating in a compulsive way

Just like lack of appetite, pets can experience a sort of anxiety that leads them to eat more food than they really need. This could also be a symptom of an underlying health issue in your pet. Clearly, there are breeds of dogs and cats that need to eat more than others. And since there are so many varieties of pets, each one can be different, so it’s important to ask for a vet’s opinion.

  • If your dog continues asking for food desperately, even after having eaten its normal intake, it might be suffering from diabetes, hyperthyroidism, problems in the digestive system, or intestinal parasites that lead it to overeat.
  • On the other hand, cats, especially spayed cats, are more eager to eat than before their surgery. That, of course, changes their habits and makes them gain weight. Polyphagia can also be caused by certain medications, hormonal problems, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism.

Have you ever noticed any changes in your pet’s behavior that made you think something was wrong? You can tell us how you solved it and what you went through in the comment section!