Being a pet owner is a source of joy to many. Whatever animal is your passion, whether you’re playing with them, stroking them, or simply watching them, they bring a great deal of calm and contentment as well as pleasure and excitement.
Unfortunately, they can also be a source of worry. If your pet’s behaviour changes – if they seem to be lacking in energy, withdrawn or even aggressive, it sends a clear signal that something is wrong, but they can’t communicate what! Pet health problems can escalate quickly, and many pets are adept at hiding the signs of illness – instincts that date back to when the species lived in the wild and signs of weakness made them a target – so it can be difficult to spot at first.
Today we’re taking a look at some of the things you can do when you’re worried about your pet to get them the help they need and set your mind at rest.
Going to the Vet
Many people are reluctant to take their pet to the vet unless they’re very worried about its health, because of the stress the trip can cause, both for the animal and the owner. Cats and dogs often associate visits to the vet with discomfort, other panicked animals and the forcible disruption of their usual routine. Pets like fish, lizards and snakes can suffer for being removed from their specialised habits for a vet’s trip, so it’s not something to be undertaken lightly.
It’s still always better for your pet to be examined by a specialist when you’re worried about them, so the best thing you can do is prepare. You can form positive associations with the vet for your dog or cat by giving them treats when they first visit the vet. If you can, use a regular dog walking route that goes past the vet so it feels less out of the ordinary for them to go there. You can also use cat soothing products like Feliway to improve your cat’s experience.
For other pets, make sure you have secure means of transporting them to the vet, that replicate the comforts of their usual habits as much as possible to minimise disruption.
If you’re not sure what’s going on with your pet, and can’t decide if it merits the stress and disruption of a trip to the vet, then you need some expert guidance. Online vet advice could be the answer you need. A video call and live chat with a trained vet won’t allow for a full diagnosis (they can’t take blood samples, for example!), but they can identify when a condition is serious and needs an appointment in person, as well home care techniques you can use!