Becoming a dog owner has many rewards and can be a life-changing experience. However, it also comes with responsibility. Dogs get sick just like people, and your pet must rely on you for medical care. Your dog should have a regular checkup with a veterinarian, but there are also some signs of illness you should be aware of. Here are 4 signs your dog needs to see a veterinarian.
4 Signs Your Dog Needs to See a Veterinarian
Dogs, especially when young, are energetic. If your dog suddenly seems to have lost its energy, or seems to be unsteady on its feet, it could indicate health problems. This could be due to anything from upset stomach to major illnesses. If the problem persists, it’s important to get your dog to a vet.
Scratching and Chewing
Frequent scratching, licking, or chewing at the same area suggests a skin problem. Dogs are subject to allergies and skin infections, while dogs who spend time outdoors may encounter fleas or other biting insects. Ticks spread Lyme disease, which can be fatal. Dogs with long floppy ears also tend to develop ear infections and rub at their ears. If your dog shows these behaviors, bring it to a veterinarian for treatment.
Dogs may eat things that would shock you. Vomiting or diarrhea isn’t unusual, but if it becomes constant there’s a problem. Dogs are vulnerable to viruses, parasites, or blockage of the intestines. If your dog is sick for more than a couple of days, won’t eat, or you find blood in your pet’s vomit or stool, get them to a vet.
Coughing or Sneezing
If you got your dog from a kennel or shelter, or it’s spending time with other dogs, it could catch an upper respiratory infection. Many common forms of canine URI can be serious, such as kennel cough. If your dog is constantly coughing or sneezing, or otherwise has trouble breathing, see your veterinarian.
Finding a Veterinarian
As soon as you bring your new dog home, you should start looking for a veterinarian that you trust and who you can see regularly. Ask friends or family who are dog owners for their recommendations, or start with an internet search. When you first visit the vet, make sure give them all the information you already have about your pet, such as adoption date or whether they’re spayed or neutered. You should also ask your veterinarian about medical insurance for your pet for their recommendation.
Whether you’ve settled on a particular breed or just fallen in love with a lovable mutt, you want to keep your new pet healthy and happy. Learn what you can about canine health, training, and proper dog care. Do your best to locate a vet who will answer your questions and keep your four-legged friend in top shape.
About the Author: Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max. Kara works with the Seattle Emergency Veterinary Hospital to raise awareness of good pet health practices.