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January 3, 2019 – Pets are very good at hiding illnesses and it’s easy to miss subtle signs that our four-legged friends aren’t feeling well. Routine veterinary visits can help catch some diseases early, but informed and observant pet owners are the best first line of defense when it comes to spotting a potential problem.

Knowing some common pet health warning signs can help you determine if you need immediate veterinary care. And remember to always seek veterinary advice if you note any unusual changes in your pet’s behavior or daily activities.

Common Pet Health Warning Signs for Cats:

  • Changes in chewing, eating and drinking habits
  • Dramatic weight gain or loss
  • Withdrawal from social interaction or touching
  • Changes in activity level, including increased sleeping or hyperactivity
  • An excessively wet litter box – a sign of increased urination
  • Sudden onset of urinary or fecal accidents
  • Struggling to urinate – this is an emergency!
  • Lack of grooming, or excessive grooming of certain areas
  • Increases or changes in vocalization

Common Pet Health Warning Signs for Dogs:

  • Skin lumps or bumps
  • Sudden collapse – this is an emergency!
  • Dramatic weight gain or loss
  • Changes in chewing, eating and drinking habits
  • Non-healing sores or wounds
  • Loss of energy
  • Bleeding or discharge from any orifice
  • Persistent cough
  • Change in breath or body odor
  • Persistent lameness, stiffness or limping
  • Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Eating more than normal
  • Excessive drinking, panting, scratching or urination

Being familiar with health warning signs can be life-saving. At Morris Animal Foundation, we work every day to learn more about diseases and other serious health issues in animals. It takes a team of pet owners, veterinarians and dedicated animal health researchers, like the investigators we fund around the world, to help our pets live longer and healthier lives.