4 signs your pet might be sick

If your cat or dog suddenly changes their behaviour, they may not be feeling well. Here are four things to watch for

4 signs your pet might be sick

Source: Best Health Magazine, January/February 2011


A healthy pet is content, alert and active, has an appetite and maintains a healthy weight for his type and breed, according to the Montreal SPCA. Since cats and dogs can’t complain when they’re not feeling well, you’ll have to watch for changes in their behaviour and routines. Cats, especially, may ‘hide’ symptoms until they are seriously ill. Here are four things to watch for in cats and dogs, says veterinarian Eric Carnegy of Carnegy Animal Hospital in Halifax:

Chewed plants

‘Eating houseplants helps the pet to regurgitate whatever may be causing stomach troubles,’ he says. If you’re giving him new food, switch back to his favourite kibble. If he continues to nibble on plants, talk to your vet.

Empty water bowl

If, all of a sudden, you’re constantly replenishing the water, ‘it could be diabetes or kidney problems,’ says Carnegy. For diabetes, other symptoms include frequent trips to the litterbox or backyard, unexplained weight loss and a large appetite.

Rubbing on the floor

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 and lice are one example, but cats and dogs can also get skin infections, allergic reactions, fungal conditions and mites.’

A bad 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 animals are in pain, they may become irritable and fearful of being held, which could make them snap or bite.

This article was originally titled "Silent symptoms" in the January/February 2011 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.