Owning a dog is sort of like having a new born baby, in the sense that they can’t tell you if something is wrong with them. That means it’s up to you to keep an eye out for signs of poor health. Here are the top ways you can tell if your dog needs to go to the vet.
Changes in Weight
If you notice any sudden changes in your dog’s weight – either gain or loss – you should get them checked out by a vet; especially if their eating and exercise habits have not changed. If you dog is losing weight rapidly, it could indicate they have a worm, digestive problem, or need an adjustment made to their diet. If your dog is gaining weight rapidly, they are probably eating too much, not exercising enough, or a combination of both; and you should have them looked at by a vet to determine if their weight is healthy or not.
Changes in Eating
Some dogs are picky eaters, but most are pretty consistent once they’ve adjusted to a regular feeding schedule. If you dog has suddenly lost their appetite, or developed an insatiable one, it may indicate something’s wrong with them.
Irregular or Difficult Bowel Movements
Healthy dogs are pretty regular. If your dog is suddenly having bowel movements much more frequently than usual, or seems to be having a hard time going, you may want to get them checked out; especially if the problem persists for more than a few days.
Incontinence (Going to the Bathroom Where they Shouldn’t)
If your dog has already been housebroken, but is suddenly going to the bathroom in the house or other places they know they shouldn’t, it could be a sign they’re incontinent. In other words, they haven’t suddenly become disobedient, they just can’t control their bladder. When a dog has lost their ability to control when and where they urinate, it’s a good indication something’s wrong.
If you notice a distinctly bad odor coming from your dog, it could be a sign of infection, tooth decay, or another ailment.
Changes in Mood and Behavior
Dogs can be moody just like people. For examples, there are a lot of reasons a dog might get depressed. But if your pup appears to be feeling down for no apparent reason, they might be in a bad mood because they don’t physically feel well.
Just about every dog is going to eat some grass and throw up once in a while, but if your dog is vomiting every day, or even a few times a week, there’s probably something wrong with their stomach.
Excessive Scratching and Gnawing
If your dog seems like they’re always itchy, and they’re constantly scratching and gnawing at them self, that’s a good sign they have fleas, a rash, or something else that is irritating their skin.
Your Dog Seems Perfectly Fine
Even if your dog appears to be happy and healthy, you should take them to the vet regardless if it’s been more than a year or two since their last checkup. Remember, dogs need regular vaccinations and medications to protect them from common diseases and parasites, so don’t neglect taking them to the vet for too long just because they seem fine.