• 57°

Guest Column: 9 reasons to see your vet

Guest Column by Michelle Nelson

Michelle Nelson is the owner of The Pet Authority.

As a pet owner, knowing when to seek veterinarian advice can be a hard decision. We don’t want to run to the vet for no reason, but we also don’t want to ignore a health situation and make it worse. Here are nine common reasons you should see your veterinarian.

Michelle Nelson

1. Trouble urinating: If your pet seems to have discomfort while urinating, strains or urinates frequently with little results, there is an underlying issue. If your pet cries while urinating, frequently licks that area or just keeps watching that area, it’s time for a trip to the vet.

2. Change in your pet’s stool: Sudden changes in appearance or frequency of stools that last more than a couple of days may be the result of diet-related issues, parasites or a bacterial infection. If you ever see blood in the stools or urine, medical attention needs to be sought right away.

3. Increased water consumption: If you are suddenly filling the water bowl up more frequently (along with increased urination), this is a very common sign of urinary tract issues, diabetes and kidney disease. Medical attention is a must.

4. Loss of appetite and/or weight loss: This is a very common symptom as your pet ages and often is due to an underlying issue. Yes, your pets often become more finicky about their food as they get older, which often can be resolved by rotating food options from canned to freeze-dried or simply changing up proteins with every bag. But if your pet loses more than 10% of their weight, this should warrant a wellness exam by your vet.

5. Frequent vomiting: If your pet vomits one to two times in a 12-hour period and returns to their normal self, they probably ate something that just didn’t agree with them. If the problem persists, they become lethargic or are just not themselves, something much more serious can be going on.

6. Coughing: If it lasts more than a day, most often some type of treatment is needed. Coughing is a symptom of kennel cough, bronchitis, pneumonia, heart disease or heart failure.

7. Hair loss: What we see happening on the outside of our pets’ bodies is most often reflective of what is happening on the inside. It could be as simple as just a needed diet change, but medical issues need to be ruled out first.

8. Extremely tired or lethargic: If your pet’s loss of energy goes beyond 24 hours, it can be a signal of numerous underlying disorders — it’s time to see your vet.

9. Change in behavior: When in pain, cats tend to hide. Dogs, on the other hand, tend to look for comfort from their human companions. If you notice any behavior change lasting longer than 24 hours, it’s time to see your vet.

This list can keep going, from a change in their breathing pattern or eye coloration too discovering a new lump. You know your pet better than anyone else, so if you feel that something is off, trust your gut and visit your veterinarian immediately.