Determining when to take your dog to the vet isn’t always cut-and-dried. Is that thing your dog is doing normal or is it something you should be worried about?
Of course, every dog’s symptoms should be treated differently. A dog who’s 11 years old, for example, will always be a more likely candidate for a vet visit than a healthy young dog.
How do you know whether your dog need to see the vet? Let’s break down the signs that mean you should absolutely call your vet’s office.
1. Eye Changes
Your dog’s eyes aren’t just a window into his sweet, sweet soul, they’re actually a pretty good indicator of his health. They should be clear and relatively dry (i.e. not too teary) and they shouldn’t produce a ton of excess “gunk” in the corners. Redness of the eyes could indicate an allergy issue while discharge could point to an infection. In some cases, oddly colored or cloudy eyes could mean your dog is suffering from a silent but serious issue such as liver disease.
2. Extreme Itchiness
Dogs are itchy, but if your dog is really itchy? He might have something going on with his skin. Itchiness definitely might mean he’s sensitive to something in the environment or even his food, but it could also be a sign of something more. A lot of persistent infections start with itchiness (or other skin signs like dandruff or hot spots.) Worst of all, fleas and ticks almost always result in extra time spent scratching.
3. Loud Breathing
If your dog’s always been a loud breather, this one’s probably nothing to worry about. But if he’s suddenly been panting or choke-coughing more often there might be something amiss with his respiratory system. The sudden onset of snoring could also point to a respiratory issue, as could a decrease in stamina during play. Have your vet check it out just to be sure.
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4. Tummy Troubles
Look, your dog is going to get an upset stomach every once in a while. But if he’s chowing down on grass four times a week and vomiting three? There’s probably something wrong. Gastrointestinal problems can emerge in all shapes and forms, from constipation to diarrhea to vomiting. If you notice any of these signs or changes in the way your dog eats (or doesn’t eat), call the vet.
5. Broken Housebrokenness
Sometimes when your dog starts having “accidents” in the house, he’s actually having a medical issue. Incontinence might just be a sign of aging in some dogs, but it could also point to a bladder problem or other treatable condition. Likewise, if your dog is using the bathroom indoors and hiding to do it, he could be experiencing pain when he goes.
6. Decrease in Mobility
Many dog owners don’t realize their dog’s mobility is decreasing because it often happens very gradually. Most dogs can – and should! – continue to be walked and exercise throughout their lives. If this feels like an impossible feat for your dog, talk to your vet. It could be that arthritis pain or even excess weight is causing him trouble getting around.
7. Difficulty Breathing
Difficulty breathing isn’t just a sign your dog should go to the vet, it’s a medical emergency. If your pup can’t breathe at all or even if he’s simply making odd noises or movements while trying to breathe, rush him to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic immediately. Can’t quite tell how much air your dog is getting? If his lips or gums are turning blue, it’s time to go.