How Do I Know When to Take My Pet to the Vet?

We've probably all been there: you're petting your cat and feel something that wasn't there before. Does Fluffy's new bump need to be checked out by her vet? Or you're watching your dog play and notice he's not walking or running quite right. Is Fido's limp a reason to go to his doctor? Is this new (or recurrent) "thing" something to worry about?

It all boils down to this one, big question: How do you know when to take your pet to the vet?

This is a good, and rather common, question. 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 or Fido has any issues. While every situation is going to be a little different, a good rule of thumb is that if you're worried enough to think about taking your furry friend to the vet, you probably should.


Thinking of “Fur Babies” Like Human Kids

Many of us think of our pets as part of the family, so it may be helpful to describe what's going on with your pet as if it was your child, instead.  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 child makes you want to go to the doctor, then your dog or cat shouldn’t be waiting long for help. It’s time to go to the vet!

Girl and cat

The bottom line is that if you are in doubt, your pet needs to be checked out. If you're calling to see if you need to bring your pet to the vet, then most likely we need to check your pet out in person. 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 probably don't 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 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.

Sad dog

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're 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!


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