When to Take Your Pet to the Vet

corgi walking beside a pool

Caring for your pet can be a big responsibility, particularly when they get sick. Luckily a lot of ailments to your dog or cat can be treated with over-the-counter medication or home remedies, but sometimes these measures just won’t cut it. Here are some warning signs that there could be a more serious problem going on and it’s time to call your vet:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Skin abnormalities
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
dog with head out of car window
Monitoring your pet’s daily habits can alert you to abnormal behavior that may require medical attention.

Loss of Appetite

Sometimes a change in eating habits can be normal for your pet. For instance, if you switch their food brand or there are new people around the house making them nervous they may have less of an appetite. But if your pet starts skipping meals or eating less without cause, it may be time to take them to your local vet. Changes in thirst level can also be an indicator that something is going on. That’s why it’s not only important to remember to feed your animal regularly but also to remember to refill their water and monitor how often you need to do so. If you own an elderly pet, it’s especially important that you watch out for these symptoms as it may be a sign of a more serious condition. Additionally, any change in dietary habits—not just eating and drinking less but also eating and drinking more—can be a sign that it’s time for a checkup. Although it can be scary to face, paying attention to your dog or cat’s eating and hydration habits can help you get to the vet before any illness or condition progresses.


Fatigue is also a good indicator that it may be time to make a visit to the vet. General sleepiness or loss of energy shown by increased napping or inability to finish daily walks may be a sign of a greater issue, such as liver disease, or something less serious, like joint issues. Although your pet will tend to slow down as they get older, it shouldn’t happen suddenly, so make sure to monitor their activity level on a regular basis.

dog in sand by ocean
When in doubt about the severity of your pet’s symptoms, call your vet.

Skin Abnormalities

If you see any unusual lumps or bumps on your pet, it may be a good idea to get them checked out. Skin irritation may be a sign of a bug bite or allergy, so watch to see if your pet is itching themselves a lot. Although a rash may not be anything serious, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Luckily Fauna Care has a line of wound care products that can help with these situations, such as Fauna Care First Aid Spray for cuts and sprays and Fauna Care Protect & Condition Spray for moisturizing and protecting the skin.

Weight Loss

This will likely go hand in hand with your dog or cat’s eating habits, but if you notice that your pet seems to be losing weight suddenly, it may be time for a visit to the vet. Dropping a couple of pounds may be okay for your animal depending on their current condition, but generally, if your pet loses ten percent of their body weight they should be taken to the vet immediately. Weight loss can be a symptom of a very serious issue but it can also be a sign that your pet just needs a new diet, so be sure to share your pet’s full medical history with the vet so that they can make an appropriate diagnosis.

dog panting in grass
Always have an after-hours veterinary phone number on hand in case of emergencies.


Vomiting can be a sign of a serious issue or just an upset stomach. Generally, if your dog or cat vomits once and then appears to be fine, they probably just ate too quickly or, in the case of a dog, ate to much grass. But chronic vomiting and signs of nausea are definitely symptoms that need to be taken to the vet. It’s also important to take into account your pet’s food intake when assessing whether to call your vet. Did they try a new type of food that day? Then maybe their vomit is just a sign of an uneasy stomach. Did they skip their last two meals? Then their vomit may be a sign of something more serious going on.


Coughing can be another sign of illness that is often overlooked. It’s a common mistake that cats only cough when they have a hairball, but actually, frequent coughing can be a sign that your cat has asthma. Similarly, coughing, panting, and wheezing in dogs is ok if they’ve just gone for a walk or been out in the sun, but if they’re having trouble breathing regularly you may want to ask your vet. Regardless of whether it’s asthma or something more serious, chances are a cough will not go away on its own, so make an appointment with your vet today.

These are by no means the only symptoms to look out for but a good start when it comes to monitoring your pet’s everyday health. Hopefully, you’ll never need to, but if your pet has sudden symptoms that require emergency attention, such as a seizure or unconsciousness, call your vet immediately. If it’s after hours, have an emergency number that you can call at any time of the day.

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