Early Warning Signs—What Behaviors Warrant a Visit to the Vet

Photo by Charles from Pexels

Sudden health problems can affect dogs, just as they do humans. However, your dog is not able to tell you when he is feeling under the weather. Instead, animals are more likely to show their distress through a number of behaviors that vary from their normal routines. Here are 4 behaviors your dog may demonstrate that indicate he or she may need veterinary attention.

Accidents Inside the House

A lapse in normal housebreaking habits could be a sign of a number of problems. Your pet may have caught an intestinal virus or may have parasites. The behavior could also indicate an obstruction in the intestines. Urinating in the house could be a sign of an infection in the urinary tract. These issues may require antibiotics or other treatment that your veterinarian can provide.

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Withdrawal from Household Activities

Dogs are very good at hiding their pain, so when they begin to withdraw to quiet parts of the house and seem uninterested in the activities of family members, it usually signals a serious illness that should be seen by your veterinarian. Similarly, if your pet seems to avoid being touched, something is hurting that should be investigated by the vet.

Frequent Coughing or Difficult Breathing

An occasional cough from your dog is not usually something that should give you concern. However, when a dog coughs frequently, it may mean an obstruction in the throat, an infection of the throat or upper respiratory system or could even mean a heart problem. If your dog appears to have difficulty breathing normally, it could be a sign of a severe lung infection or other serious issue. You should make an appointment immediately to have the problem diagnosed by your vet.

Excessive Panting

Dogs may pant when they are excited or after a vigorous run. Because dogs don’t have sweat glands as people do, the only way they can cool themselves is through panting to lower their internal temperatures. If the weather is very hot, the animal may be unable to cool itself sufficiently through panting and may develop heatstroke, which can be life threatening. If your dog becomes overheated in hot weather, you should take him immediately to an emergency vet center for treatment.

If you stay attuned to your dog’s daily behavior, you will be more likely to notice changes that could signal a health problem. Some problems are minor and resolve themselves on their own, but when symptoms continue for more than a few hours or a day, you should seek the advice of a veterinary professional to determine the problem.

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