Of course your pet’s health and well-being are of utmost importance to you. But you don’t want to take your pet to the vet unnecessarily, and subject them to stress they don’t need whilst running up a vet bill or raising your pet insurance premium. So how can you tell whether your pet needs a vet visit?
Obviously, you always need to bear in mind that calling your vet is an option and asking them for advice should be perfectly acceptable. If you’re in any doubt as to whether their condition requires immediate medical attention, erring on the side of caution allows you to make sure you’re not taking any risks with their health!
If your pet has an upset tummy in the form of diarrhoea or vomiting, you may be on the fence as to whether a vet visit is in order. The severity of the condition needs to be taken into account, as well as your pet’s overall behaviour. If your pet is able to take in plenty of fluids and remains their happy-go-lucky self you can keep an eye out for a few days and feed them a bland diet to help their tummy recover; if they are lethargic and behaving in an unusual way, then a vet visit is by far the best plan as this could be indicative of more severe issues. If your pet vomits what looks like coffee grounds or you notice bleeding, take them in immediately.
Growling or whimpering when a part of their body is being touched, or in other ways expressing discomfort, means a vet visit is certainly on the cards. This can mean anything from an overstrained tendon to a broken bone, and you should make sure that appropriate treatment is forthcoming. Until you can get your pet to the vet, keeping them on strict bed or crate rest is a good plan to prevent further injuries.
Shallow scratches or wounds can be treated at home, but giving your vet a call to find out what they recommend in terms of cleaning and/or bandaging the wound is an excellent plan. If there is any sign of infection including a raised temperature, take your pet to the vet as soon as
feasible as they will need antibiotics to fight off the infection and continue the healing process.
Sometimes it’s less self-evident that a medical emergency is going on. If there is unexplained
hairloss or a prolonged loss of appetite, or a sudden inexplicable shift in behaviour, it’s a good idea to ensure you take your pet to the vet to check for underlying conditions. Again, better safe than sorry!
Make sure you have a transportation plan set up right now; if your dog uses a seat belt that may be impossible to do up in case of an injury, have a different option available such as a crate in the back. Similarly, a poorly cat may be impossible to get into a standard-sized carrier without upsetting them. A sizeable dog crate can offer an excellent solution allowing your cat to get in easily and without pain.
Your pet will be glad to have an owner who is sensitive to their needs and willing to ensure their good health continues. Now, let’s hope you never need to know these things!