While our cats and dogs can't tell us when something is wrong with them, they usually display physical symptoms to let us know something’s up. Most of the time, it’s nothing, but other times, it could require professional care. To help you identify when *exactly* you should take symptoms seriously, we reached out to licensed veterinarian Dr. Kitsie Torres of Royal Canin.
Here, she explains the different symptoms cats and dogs usually exhibit, what causes them, and what these could possibly mean for our pets.
You might notice your cat vomiting hairballs or your dog throwing up leaves it ate outside, but if they have been vomiting "more than three to four times within 24 hours; they have been vomiting intermittently for two weeks; or they are also exhibiting other signs of illness, such as lethargy and diarrhea," then they might have a more serious problem. "Vomiting has several causes: bacteria, viruses, parasites, gastrointestinal obstruction, food intolerance, pancreatitis, toxins, and many more," says Dr. Kitsie. Make sure to take your pet to the vet ASAP so they can properly diagnose them.
Loss Of Appetite
While our pets do get a little picky about their food at times, Dr. Kitsie says that it starts to be an area of concern when they do not touch it—including their treats—for over a day. According to her, some health problems that are associated with this loss of appetite include “dental or gum disease, pain, and illness such as systemic infection [and] parasites.” It may also be caused by stress, behavioral problems, and fussiness. Just all the more reason to keep tabs on their eating habits!
Bloodied pee is one of the most outward signs that something is wrong with your pet’s lower urinary tract. But, other symptoms also include more frequent peeing, peeing in inappropriate places (especially if they're housebroken), urine leaking, and even trouble in peeing. “The most common lower urinary diseases are urinary tract infections, urinary stones, and incontinence,” says Dr. Kitsie. “If untreated, vital organs of the upper urinary tract, including the kidneys, can be affected.”
Itching And Hair Loss
If you’ve noticed that your pet has been scratching itself all day, the first thing you should do is feel their skin for any bumps. If there are bumps, your pet might have a serious problem. It might be a reaction to external parasites, fungal infections, food allergies, or environmental allergens (e.g. grass, molds, and pollen). You might also notice unusual shedding from them, which is likely caused by these, too. Hair loss could also be a symptom of other diseases as well. “Other causes of hair loss are [also] nutritional deficiencies, [and] hormonal diseases like hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease,” according to Dr. Kitsie.
When our extra-active furballs just sleep the entire day, it naturally begins to worry us. This is recognized as lethargy in pets, which Dr. Kitsie explains to be “associated with a wide variety of reasons—from mild infections to severe diseases.” Instead of self-diagnosing what could be causing this lack of energy, it’s better to just reach out to a vet. And this pretty much applies to all those times when you think something is wrong with them: The best choice remains scheduling a vet consultation ASAP.
Royal Canin is making this task easier for pet owners at the end of the month through their Bring Your Pet To The Vet campaign, with their goal of encouraging everyone to treat their cats and dogs to proper healthcare at all times.
Through the Royal Canin Club app, pet owners can book a free vet consultation at any of their 100+ partner vet clinics nationwide. The app provides said clinics’ addresses and contact numbers, so you can get in touch with the one nearest you. It’s valid for only one month upon redemption, so make sure you schedule an appointment at a participating clinic within that time period to use it.
More than this, the Royal Canin Club app is a *really* convenient tool to know more about your pets. It has numerous articles useful for just about any pet owner, as well as quizzes that even reward you with points exchangeable for vouchers.