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How to Tell If Your Dog or Cat Is Sick

When your pet isn’t acting like themselves, it can cause many pet owners to spiral into alarm. Was it something they ate? Are they overtired? Sometimes, a pet can simply feel lethargic after a long day. However, when your dog or cat is acting a bit more listless than usual over a period of days, you wouldn’t be wrong to assume that something else could be going on. If your pet is sick, you’ll want to know right away so that you can take the necessary steps to help them get better, whether that means rushing them to emergency animal care henrico or calling up your local vet to ask what you should do. The most important thing is to recognize the signs and symptoms of a sick pet early so that you can help relieve your dog or cat’s suffering. If you think your pet is starting to fall ill, here are some things to look out for.

Lack of Energy

If your dog is usually bouncing around in the backyard and constantly begging you to play with his favorite toy, or if your cat is usually fond of fooling around, you’ll instantly notice when something’s up. There’s a difference between your dog or cat taking a break during an especially hot day or taking a few naps after a long day of exercise and a total lapse in energy. If you notice your dog or cat not taking interest in normal activities and ignoring your calls to take walks or go to the park, you might be dealing with an illness.

Vomiting or Diarrhea

One of the most surefire signs of pet illness is the presence of loose stool or vomiting. While diarrhea is common among dogs if they’ve eaten something bad, and vomiting can sometimes be the result of too much playtime in the sun, the problem should clear up in less than a day. The same goes for cats vomiting or clearing up hairballs. If your pet is still vomiting or passing loose stool after a few days, it’s time to bring them to the vet.

Low Appetite

If your dog usually can’t get enough of his food or treats and suddenly shuns all food and water, it’s generally a sign that something else is at play. While cats will sometimes shun food dramatically as a way to signal their unhappiness with their owners’ behavior, they’ll signal illness by forgoing food and hiding under a piece of furniture. If your dog or cat won’t touch their food all day, the best thing to do is take a trip to the vet to make sure nothing is going on.


After heavy play sessions, dogs may cough a bit to clear their throats. However, there’s such a thing as “kennel cough,” when dogs are seized by fits of uncontrollable coughing. When cats begin to cough, it signals a more serious problem. If your cat is coughing or your dog can’t seem to catch his breath, take your pet to the vet as soon as you can.


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