You love your fur baby as if they were your actual child. The thought of anything ever happening to them practically makes you burst into tears on the spot. So, you do everything you can to keep them as happy and healthy as possible. But what if you didn’t know they were feeling unwell? Yes, it’s an unpleasant thought, but research shows that at least 10% of pets that appear healthy to their owners have underlying health issues.
After all, pets can’t verbally tell you the things we normally use to signal that something isn’t right, like aches, pains and feeling tired. The good news is, there are a few red flags that your pet isn’t as healthy as they should be. By looking out for these warning signs, you can take action and get your precious pal feeling fab again.
A healthy dog’s fur is soft, shiny and soft. If their coat is looking duller than usual or is dry, rough or has bald patches, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet. It could be a sign that of poor diet, allergies or other underlying diseases.
2. They’re under or overweight
It may sound obvious that weight issues are a sign of a healthy dog. But here’s the thing—many pet owners don’t actually know what a healthy weight for their pets is. This varies from breed to breed, so make sure you’re aware what the healthy weight range is for your pet. And if your fur baby has gained or lost a lot of weight rapidly (think around 10% of their previous weight), take them to the vet immediately.
If your pet normally almost knocks you over in excitement but has been less interested in their food lately, it could be cause for concern. The same goes for if they’ve been fed and you find them raiding the garbage looking for more food. Things like the weather can lead to a change in appetite for pets—but if it happens for more than a couple of days, see your vet.
It’s also worth paying attention to how much water your pet is drinking. If they’re drinking a lot more than usual or urinating excessively, it could be a sign of kidney problems or diabetes.
4. They have bad breath
Granted, no animal’s breath smells like fresh roses. Mild odor is normal, but if your pet’s breath is so bad it makes you wince or it has changed lately, it could be a sign of dental or digestive issues, poor diet or even more serious issues like diabetes. If you can sit more than arm’s length away from them and still smell their stinky breath, get them to the vet pronto.
5. They’re not as active
Pets—especially dogs—naturally become less active as they age. But if your furry friend is normally a bundle of energy and has been sitting around a lot more lately or has been disinterested in playing or going for a walk, it’s a red flag. Take them to the vet so they can rule out anything serious.