7 Warning Signs Your Pet Needs to See the Vet


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All dogs and cats have accidents and make messes sometimes, right? To an extent, that is true. Like people, pets can get an upset stomach without any warning and be fine a few minutes after being sick.

So what issues demand a trip to the vet? Here are seven signs you should never ignore.

#1 Blood in Vomit, Urine, or Stool

Blood is a sign that it is probably time for a trip to the vet. Some minor scrapes can be effectively treated at home. Blood in your pet's waste or vomiting with blood, however, should sound the alarm. It could mean urinary tract infections, parasites, or other time-sensitive problems.

#2 Constipation

Cats should use the litter box once or twice a day. If they are not, they may have a hairball blocking their digestive tract. Dogs usually have to go when they wake up and after they eat. For dogs with digestive problems, you can try feeding them Taste of the Wild dog food. For cats, try the Wellness cat food.

#3 Potty Messes

Cats who suddenly start making messes outside the litter box could have kidney disease, a urinary tract infection, or bladder stones. Dogs who become incontinent might be senior dogs going through this rather normal aging process, but it can also be a sign of kidney disease.

#4 Losing or Gaining Lots of Weight

Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause dangerous weight fluctuations in cats and dogs. Hypothyroidism is more common in dogs, while hyperthyroidism is more common in cats.

Pet food can cause both loss and gain of weight. If your dog is losing or gaining excess weight, you need to change its dog food. Similar changes need to be made in your cat food if your cat is losing or gaining weight. Dry cat food or dry dog food is always the vet’s first choice when it comes to losing weight. 

#5 Cloudy, Weepy, or Irritated Eyes

Dogs can be prone to cataracts, which can cause vision loss and glaucoma. They are more likely to be senior dogs. A cat or a dog with any sort of residue, discharge, redness, or swelling of the eyes could have an eye infection. It could vary in seriousness but will likely need your vet's help.

#6 Behavioral Changes

Cats who suddenly start hiding or stop seeking attention could feel sick for many reasons. Dogs who become more anxious or agitated could develop OCD.

#7 Itching and Scratching

All pets scratch an itch now and then. However, if your pet is frequently scratching, it could be a sign of fleas. 

Fleas can cause skin rashes and carry diseases. Talk to your vet about flea prevention and get rid of those insects.

To prevent fleas in cats, you can get a flea collar for cats. There are also flea collars for dogs. If already infested, you have to opt for flea medication for cats. If you have a dog, keep in mind that cat flea medication will not work on dogs. So, you have to use specific flea medications for dogs.

Read more about the warning signs a cat is sick and symptoms in dogs you shouldn't ignore.

Tip: If you are not sure you want to head to the vet over a hairball or some other seemingly small issue, you should at least give your vet a call. Most veterinarians will be available by phone, or you may be able to leave a message or talk to a vet tech at the office who will have your answer.

Need a great veterinarian in your area?

Whether you need an online vet or someone in-person, find one right now on TopVets!

Ask-A-Vet Put 24/7 Professional Pet Care at Your Fingertips

Raising a pet is a 24-hour job. We think you should have a support system to match. That is why PetPlus is launching the Ask-A-Vet service, powered by whiskerDocs – a service dedicated to giving you around-the-clock access to pet professionals. 

With licensed vets and vet technicians on staff, getting expert answers tailored to your specific pet care needs is now just a phone call, web chat, or email away. 

Picture this. It is late Sunday evening, and out of nowhere, your dog starts whimpering and lumbering around. What do you do?

Oftentimes pet care questions cannot wait until Monday. Sure, you could scour the internet looking for an answer - but who is on the other end providing the information? Also, how can you tell if it is relevant to your individual situation? Taking pet care advice from an unknown source that is unaware of your pet’s unique circumstances is never a good idea. You could also rush over to an emergency vet hospital and spend upwards of $500 just to walk in the door. Any way you slice it, getting reputable pet care advice when you need it can be tricky.

That is what makes the Ask-A-Vet service so useful. Rather than sifting through thousands of websites for a half-baked solution, you can tell a licensed veterinarian or technician what is going on with your pet. What makes the PetPlus Ask-A-Vet service even better? For PetPlus members, this service is 100% free! Now that is something to bark about.

You can learn more about how to use the Ask-A-Vet service by checking out the member's area of PetPlus.com.

The PetPlus Ask-A-Vet service is not a replacement for routine vet care. If your pet is having a serious emergency, please take your pet to the nearest emergency hospital the right way.

Online Vet Booking is Finally Here: Find a Vet and Book Instantly with Vet Finder!

Finding a veterinarian you trust, who specializes in what your pet needs AND has an office nearby--can be a tall order. Now, there is a solution to find and book vets who match your needs.

Introducing Vet Finder (NO LONGER AVAILABLE)

Regular vet visits are the key to a healthy and long life for your pet. Keeping pets healthy and happy is now easier than ever with Vet Finder on the new PetCareRx.com! Vet Finder is a directory of over 50,000 veterinarians. It is also a vet appointment booking engine; you can book appointments instantly with a growing number of vets. You will get an email confirmation once your appointment is booked, plus a reminder when it is time to go see your vet again.

How it Works


Top Vet Finder Features

  • Search by zip code with an interactive map (see example below)

  • Search by vet specialty

  • Get all the important information about vets in one place

    • where they went to veterinary school

    • accreditations or affiliations

    • specialties

    • services offered

  • Book an appointment from any desktop or mobile device

  • Change or cancel your appointment online

  • Get reminders delivered right to your email

vet finder map

Online appointment booking is currently available in 20 cities across the U.S., and we’re adding more every day!

Find a vet now


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