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While many people think of veterinarians only when their pets are having healthcare problems or for ...
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When to See the Vet

Many pet owners wonder when it is the right time to take their pet to the vet and when they may be overreacting. This can be especially true of first-time pet owners. Naturally, pet owners love their animal friends and want to make sure they are providing the best care possible. Understanding the difference between something that will resolve itself on its own and the true need for veterinary care can help to ensure a long and healthy life for your relationship with your pet.

One of the first steps in understanding when it’s the right time to take your pet to the vet is understanding what is normal for your pet. This will help you to understand when you pet may be really sick.

Be aware that pets are much like people in that they are very individual. Just as no two people are alike, neither are any two dogs or cats or any other animal. That isn’t to say there are norms for every type of animal or even breed but every animal does have their individual and unique way of going about things.

There are some circumstances; however, which may indicate the need for a trip to your vet’s office. For example, try to be aware of your pet’s feeding and drinking habits. Anytime your pet increases their water intake, this could be a sign of any one of several different diseases including diabetes, kidney failure or hyperthyroidism. Dogs and cats should drink about one ounce per pound per 24 hours. So, if your canine friend weighs ten pounds, he should be drinking about 10 ounces of water per day. Kittens and puppies will have higher liquid intake requirements, but this rule remains true for most adult cats and dogs. If you notice a change in your pet’s intake habits, it is a good idea to call your vet.
Many pet owners often associate the presence of a dry nose as an indication their pet is sick. This is true, to a degree; however, the presence of a dry nose doesn’t automatically mean an animal is sick. It could simply be they have become hot during a period of the day. Usually the matter will resolve itself before the day is out. That said; however, if your pet’s nose remains dry and cracked for a prolonged period of time, you should definitely call your vet for an exam.

It may also be appropriate to see your vet if your pet begins to urinate in odd places. While many people perceive animals as ‘acting out’ over displeasure, the truth of the matter is that urinating in odd places can be a sign of a urinary infection. In some animals this can be a life threatening condition that could result in death within a very short period of time. If your animals begins to urinate in strange places, it’s always best to see the vet immediately rather than simply assume your pet is upset over something.

Other situations you should be on the lookout for which indicate the need for a trip to the vet include:

Unusual bumps on your pet’s skin. Like humans, this could be a sign of potential tumors.

Sudden shortness of breath-may indicate a heart problem.

Changes in appetite-could indicate kidney failure

Sudden weight gain or lose

Lethargy that lasts for more than 24 hours

Sudden changes in temperament

Abdominal swelling


Rashes, excessive shedding

Diarrhea that lasts for more than 24 hours

Diarrhea with blood

Continuous vomiting

Of course, it must also be mentioned that the best steps you can take for ensuring a health pet is preventive maintenance. That means making sure your pet sees the vet twice a year for routine check-ups.
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