Detecting disease might be one of the biggest challenges of being a pet owner. Why? In pets, the markers of illness can also often look similar to their usual animal tendencies. For instance, vomiting – which for humans is a serious sign of illness – can be an everyday occurrence for some pets.

With that, many pet owners fail to recognize real illness, thinking their pet is just going through usual bouts of strange behavior. So when exactly should you be concerned?

More often than not, you won’t actually need to visit the vet. But make sure to act fast once you notice any of these 7 critical signs.

1. General Weakness and Difficulty with Mobility

a sad dog pug

Weakness and mobility problems are some of the most common signs of disease in pets. Of course, dogs and cats are known to suddenly start limping without apparent cause, but chronic cases of mobility issues should raise a red flag.

If your pet has been limping or has refused to move at all for several hours, it’s best to take them to the vet immediately in order to preempt any possible complications.

2. Struggling to Urinate

According to experts, dogs should urinate 3-5 times a day, and cats 2-4 times a day. Of course, there is no magic number as certain factors might affect the amount or frequency of urination. In instances of illness, however, your pet might not urinate at all.

If you notice that your cat or dog positions themselves to urinate but fails to let anything out, then be sure to see your veterinarian as soon as possible. It takes a while before conditions like a UTI to be noticeable by pet owners. Your furry friend may have already been struggling with it for a while before it comes to your attention.

3. Heavy Breathing and Coughing

If you’ve ever had a pet – dog or cat – you’ll know they let out hairballs every so often so deep heaving and consequent vomiting might not seem like cause for alarm.

But be mindful of your pet whenever they do start to breathe heavily or cough. If they’ve been doing it for a few days without relief, then it’s high time you visit your vet. It could be a sign of a lung infection or a lower respiratory tract disease. But in case you can't visit a vet clinic right away, it is strongly recommended to consult with a professional via Online Vet to make sure your pet can wait until you can take them for an examination.

Petcube Online Vet

4. Various Seizures

Cats and dogs can have certain types of epilepsy. Be sure to visit your vet to determine whether or not your pet has a seizure disorder earlier on.

There are three phases to a seizure – the prodromal stage, the critical stage, and the postictal stage. The first is a warning that will tell you that a seizure is about to occur. During this stage, your pet might seem tense, agitated, and anxious, and will likely start to pace, pant, and tremble.

On the first sign of a seizure, take your pet to the hospital immediately. While there’s nothing your vet can do to prevent it from happening, they can break the seizure by providing your pet with valium.

5. Troubles with Vomiting

Sick Cat Vomiting

Vomiting can sometimes be an everyday occurrence for pets, so pet owners usually take the issue lightly. But there are instances when vomiting should be a cause for concern.

Inspect your pet’s vomit for strange or foreign substances and blood. You might also want to consider logging how much and how often your pet vomits throughout the day. Three or more episodes of vomiting in a single day should warrant a trip to the vet.

It’s also ideal to keep an eye out for other tell-tale signs. For instance, some pets will refuse to lie down when they feel nauseated. If you suspect your pet is trying to prevent vomiting by maintaining a standing position, then seek the advice of a professional as soon as possible.

6. Serious Trauma and Severe Pain

In cases when your pet is involved in a serious accident, it’s imperative that you visit the vet immediately. The injury might not be apparent on the surface, but organs and other internal structures may have been seriously hurt, requiring urgent medical care and attention.

In these instances, you may want to inspect your pet’s body and behavior. Signs of severe pain such as compensatory postures, refusal to move, and whimpering should tell you that there’s something wrong on the inside.

7. Refusing Food and Water

Sometimes your pet will have an appetite, other times, they might not eat at all and that’s absolutely normal. However, if your pet has been refusing both food and water for a while now, and they seem weak, dull, and unwell, there might be more to it than the usual lack of appetite.

Often, a pet will refuse to take any food or water as a symptom of an existing condition or infection. Taking them to a veterinarian as soon as possible should help pinpoint the issue, resolve it, and restore your pet’s appetite.

It's always better to have peace of mind regarding your pet's health. Petcube Emergency Fund, a pet insurance alternative, is a great way to get your back covered from sudden incidents.

Petcube Emergency Fund


Your pet’s health is your responsibility. Because these beloved creatures might not be able to express themselves in times of illness and injury, it’s up to you to determine when it’s time to visit the vet.

So at the first signs of a problem, make sure you act by bringing your furry friend to the best veterinary specialist in your area for prompt and proper medical care and attention.

*About the author: Sophia Moore - A passionate blogger and marketing consultant at Natural Pet Health Animal Hospital, a person who is a crazy lover of pets of any size and kind. The Ocean combined with a warm breeze what really inspires and makes her smile.*it

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