One of the hardest things for a lot of new pet owners is figuring out whether their pet is healthy, whether it’s a little under the weather with something that will get better of its own accord, or whether it needs to see a vet. Figuring out when you should take your dog to the vet will give you peace of mind and help you to avoid potentially serious health conditions.
Subtle Warning Signs
Often, when a dog gets sick it’s obvious – if your dog has hemorrhagic diarrhea, or collapses suddenly, then it’s clear that there’s something very wrong and that you should take it to the vet immediately.
Other health issues are far more subtle, though, and it can be hard to decide whether to take the dog to the vet.
One common warning sign that something is amiss is if your dog’s gums are pale in color or if they are blue or grey. Red gums that don’t flash white then return to a healthy pink when pressed can also be a warning sign.
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your pet’s gums on a regular basis, so that you can get a feel for what they look like when they’re healthy. This will make it easier to spot unhealthy gums.
Another thing to watch is if your dog struggles to urinate. This can be a symptom of a bladder infection or of bladder stones. Infections are distressing but aren’t life-threatening. Bladder stones, on the other hand, are very serious. Both issues need checking by a vet.
If your dog goes for more than a day without eating then you should have them checked out by a vet. Dogs rarely drink enough water to hydrate themselves, so they need the extra liquid from food to avoid dehydration. Some dogs do skip the odd meal from time to time, but longer periods without eating are a warning that something is wrong.
If your dog is coughing, then it could be a simple bug, but it could be pneumonia or from exposure to something poisonous, so it’s worth checking. It’s also worth checking if your dog is limping or clearly in pain, because there are many potential injuries and illnesses that could be causing a dog to have difficulty walking or to be showing signs of pain.