For many Australian families, having a pet is just like having a human baby. You want them to thrive and be healthy — but just like a very young child, it's impossible to adequately communicate with your pet about how they're feeling. This can make it difficult to detect the difference between unusual body language, individual quirks, attention-seeking behaviour and genuine medical problems. Here's a quick guide to a couple of common symptoms you may be uncertain about.
Pets thrive on routine — particularly dogs. This will be obvious to anybody who's frequently woken up at breakfast time against their will! However, this heavy reliance on their normal schedules can actually be helpful in identifying problems. If your dog normally eats at 8 am every morning like clockwork, and you notice that she's no longer interested, then you should consider that a cause for serious concern. Skipping one meal isn't so bad; just like humans, dogs have 'off days' too. Any longer than that, however, and you should book an appointment with a vet specialist.
Persistent Itching & Rubbing
Again, just like humans, your furry friend is bound to develop itches every now and again. There's no problem there. However, keep an eye out for particularly focused or persistent scratching. There may be an irritant of some description on their skin, they may be developing a rash or something else entirely — but if this behaviour persists, it's certainly something your vet can help with. At the very least, they will want to reduce the pet's access and attention to that area of their body, as they may be making themselves sore or exacerbating the problem.
If your dog or cat has developed a limp, it's well worth getting it checked out — even if it's temporary or intermittent. It may not necessarily be anything serious; their nails may be too long for them to walk comfortably on hard surfaces, for example, or they may have sprained their foot jumping down from a too-high surface. Whatever the issue is, the vet can help you identify it and treat that cause to make your pet comfortable again.
Of course, these are just a few examples, and there are many reasons why your pet should see a specialist. In general, you're the best judge of your pet's wellness; you'll know when they're doing something 'out of the ordinary'. Chances are that there's absolutely nothing wrong, but if this anomaly you've identified is making you anxious about your pet's wellbeing, then there's certainly no harm in paying a quick visit — even if your cat or dog may not agree!