The signs aren’t always obvious when your pet is sick. According to the Montreal SPCA, a healthy pet is one that is content, alert, active, has an appetite and maintains an appropriate weight for his type and breed. Since cats and dogs can’t complain when feeling unwell, you have to watch for changes in behaviour and routine. (Cats especially may hide symptoms until they are seriously ill.) Here are four things to watch for, says vet Eric Carnegy, of Carnegy Animal Hospital in Halifax.
Look for Chewed Plants
“Eating houseplants helps the pet to regurgitate whatever may be causing stomach troubles,” says Carnegy. In summer, they might eat grass. If you’re giving him a new type of food, that might be the problem. Try switching back to the regular one, and if he continues to feed on your greenery, talk to your vet.
Are They Drinking too Much?
If, suddenly, you’re constantly replenishing the water, this could signal a serious problem. “It could be diabetes or problems with the kidneys,” says Carnegy. For diabetes, other symptoms include frequent trips to the litter box or backyard to urinate, unexplained weight loss and a large appetite.
Watch Out for Frequent Floor Rubbing
If your pet rubs his ears or backside along the floor, that’s a sign of infection-he’s trying to relieve the irritation, says Carnegy. “Fleas are one example, but cats and dogs can also have skin infections, allergic reactions, fungal conditions or mites.”
Monitor Your Pet’s Mood
We all have “off” days, but take notice if your pet grows increasingly hostile. “If your dog is normally friendly and calm but all of a sudden is nasty, it may be hypothyroidism,” says Carnegy. And when pets are in pain, they may become irritable and fearful of being held, which could make them snap or bite.