35 Reasons to Call Your Veterinarian

Welcome to (almost) fall! We did it, we have survived summer….beach crowds, hot weather, and perhaps many walks with your pup. But was it too many? Has your dog overdone it? Maybe scraped his pads on rocks or strained a muscle? How would you know? After all, dogs can’t talk or tell you when they’re in pain. Maybe that’s one of the reasons we love them so? Or maybe they CAN tell you, and you’re just not aware of what they’re trying to say?

This month of September is Animal Pain Awareness month, so I thought it important enough to delve into the topic and write about how we can tune into our pets more and understand when they might be in pain and what to do about it.

In my 24 years of pet sitting, I’ve noticed quite a few painful episodes with my clients’ pets. Especially as they get older, they tend to show some symptoms of pain, or that they’re just not feeling right. Is your pet keeping a painful secret?

BEAGLE- use this one

Some symptoms in dogs are:

  • Panting that is out of the ordinary
  • Squinting eyes
  • Limping
  • Groaning, Crying and Whimpering
  • Barking out of the norm
  • Refusal to eat or drink
  • Not engaging as much, Lethargy
  • Ignoring favorite treats
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation or Aggression, Biting people
  • Trembling
  • Restlessness, Difficulty sleeping
  • Licking, Scratching certain areas of the body
  • Biting people
  • Head shy
  • Hunching his back
  • Fever
  • Swollen joints or lymph nodes
  • Pinning ears back

kitty hiding

In cats, some symptoms might be:

  • Howling
  • Not eating or drinking normally
  • Ignoring favorite treats
  • Not engaging as much, Lethargy
  • Hiding
  • Licking a particular area of the body
  • Panting or Open-mouth breathing
  • Exhaustion
  • Aggressiveness
  • Antsy, Agitated behaviour
  • Peeing outside litterbox
  • Less self-grooming
  • Hesitant to jump
  • Change of gait, lameness
  • Rubbing on people less
  • Sleeplessness

That’s a brief list, that may encompass a variety of ailments, injuries or illnesses.

So how can you know what to do about the pain?

Emergencies or urgent symptoms require a trip to the vet. For example, any of these symptoms accompanied by bleeding, bloated stomach (in dogs), blood in cat’s urine (especially males), or peeing outside the litterbox or howling while using the litterbox would require a vet visit asap. These could be signs of a life-threatening condition.

Other symptoms that seem less urgent, or don’t go away after a day, would warrant a call to your vet. They might be a sign that something is off, and your pet may need medication.

Speaking of medication, please know that, to be safe, human painkillers, in general, are not good for pets, and could be dangerous. Dogs can have aspirin (buffered, preferably). All other medications should be approved by your veterinarian. Dogs and Cats should never be given any Tylenol, Advil, Ibuprofen, as they are toxic. Aspirin in large doses can also be toxic to cats. Consult your veterinarian for advice or a prescription.

Wishing you an enjoyable, and pain-free autumn!



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