How do I know when to take my pet to the vet? This is a good question. And it is a rather common question. Because too many times, pet owners worry that they waited too long or brought their pet to see the doctor too soon, and somehow they will be at fault if Fluffy has any issues.
At this point, we usually tell them that no amount of guilt will save Fluffy from whatever treatment needs to be done. But this is a good time to go over a few things to help when someone is in doubt about when to go see a vet.
Thinking of “Fur Babies” Like Human Kids
Let’s try to find comparisons between different circumstances and scenarios to help you make connections you can remember. It’s probably not difficult to think of your pet as you would your child - and not just spoiling your pet, or not allowing him to date or drive the car! Instead, actually describe what’s going on with your pet as you would describe an issue concerning your child. If you were to say, “My daughter has been limping for three days,” does that seem like something you would take her to the doctor to have checked out? Or imagine saying, “My son was attacked by a dog and is bleeding.” You would likely be saying this at an emergency room or urgent care check-in! So, while we cannot and should not give human medications to our pets, we can look at their situations and needs much like we do our kids. If saying it about your daughter makes you want to go to the doctor, then your dog shouldn’t be waiting long for help. It’s time to go to the vet!
The bottom line is that if you are in doubt, your pet needs to be checked out. If you are calling to see if you need to bring your pet to the vet, the most likely advice we would give you is to bring your pet to the vet. Even with the best description ever given over the phone, we would prefer to provide the best health care we can in person, with a proper exam. If you are worried enough to call and ask, then we need to check your pet out. At the visit, you will either get confirmation that something is wrong and your pet will get treatment, or you will get the reassurance that everything is okay and you get to stop worrying. Sounds like a win-win!
You are Your Pet’s Best Ally
You do not have a degree in veterinary medicine, but you do have more experience with your pet than anyone else. Nobody is born with all the medical knowledge necessary to care for a pet. Each member of our staff had to train, learn, and prove their abilities in order to be a part of our team. And one important, although easily overlooked, aspect of care is that we try to always listen and pay attention to what you observe at home. Pets can’t simply talk to us about their health and wellness; they rely on you to see if something is wrong and to take the necessary steps to get proper treatment.
Recognizing the Signs that Your Pet Needs an Appointment
Some irritating new habits can be a cry for help. We receive calls quite often about cats who used to go to the litterbox but suddenly started going in other places. While this can be frustrating to deal with, it can also be a sign that your cat needs to be seen. Urinary tract issues can be to blame for this new behavior. And while this new behavior can be aggravating, it can also be a sign of something much more serious. It’s a good idea to rule out anything medical, and then explore if behavioral treatment is warranted. If a new behavior issue or habit crops up, especially suddenly, then it is a good time for a checkup.
Our pets offer us many positive things, including companionship, loyalty, entertainment, and unconditional love. In return, we do our very best to keep those pets happy and healthy. As long as we all strive to do our best, we are all moving in the right direction. If you are unsure about what to do, bring your pet in. It’s better to have your pet seen and be told everything is okay than to wait and find out too late that it’s not.
Be sure to contact us to request an appointment if you have questions about your best friend’s best health!