Skip to main content



8 signs of illness in pets

Our pets can't tell us when they're not feeling well, but they can let us know by demonstrating certain symptoms and behavior changes. This article is a good reminder for pet owners to watch for any changes in their pet's behavior — and to know where to go and what to do to get pets the care and treatment they need.

Pay attention to these symptoms

Any change in your pet's physical and emotional behavior could indicate a mild or serious health condition. Contact your pet's veterinarian if your furry friend is displaying behavior that's out of the ordinary, including these common signs of illness:

  1. Change in eating habits. A reduced appetite can be triggered by an illness or even stress. Excessive thirst could signal diabetes.
  2. Change in weight. A sudden weight loss or weight gain may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
  3. Change in social habits. If your pet is interacting with people or other animals more or less frequently than usual, it could be a sign that they may not be feeling well.
  4. Change in potty habits. This could signal a gastrointestinal illness, parasite infection or even a urinary tract infection, a common condition in cats.
  5. Vomiting. Some animals throw up occasionally, but if it's happening more frequently or it's accompanied by other symptoms, it's time to call the vet.
  6. Coughing, sneezing or discharge. from eyes, ears and nose. A persistent cough should be evaluated since it could signal kennel cough or another contagious respiratory disease.
  7. Hair loss or itchiness. These symptoms could be related to fleas, ticks or even allergies, but could also indicate an infection.
  8. Lethargy or trouble standing up. If moving is painful for your pet it could signal anything from old age, heart disease, arthritis or other conditions.

Make preventive pet care a priority

Scheduling regular preventive checkups is an important step to helping keep your pet healthy, happy and pain free. In addition to making sure vaccinations are up-to-date, it's also the perfect time for your veterinarian to check your pet for certain risk factors or early signs of disease that, if diagnosed early, could lead to faster treatment and better overall health. Preventive checkups are also a good time to ask questions about your pet's diet, weight, behavior and any other concerns.

Be sure to contact your pet's veterinarian right away if you notice any symptoms or changes in their routine. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the sooner your pet may be able to begin treatment to alleviate pain and maintain their quality of life.

Did you know that you can use your CareCredit credit card for both services and products at veterinary practices in the CareCredit network? Learn more and find a veterinarian near you who accepts CareCredit.

back to top