There’s nothing worse than realising your pet is sick or injured. You come downstairs in the morning and find your cat vomiting and diarrhea in evidence. Your pet hamster seems fatigued and more withdrawn than usual. Your dog is limping and reluctant to take a normally anticipated walk. Something’s wrong, and you have to fix it.
Today we’re taking a look at some of the common problems you might have to confront as a pet owner, so you’re ready if (or when) you’re faced with them.
Diarrhea and Vomiting
These are some of the most common pet problems you can encounter, especially if you have cats and dogs. These animals are curious and not above scavenging for extra food, and have more opportunities to explore away from your direct supervision than smaller, less independent pets. This gives them the opportunity to eat things that can cause food poisoning, infections or even infestations of parasites, whether that’s discarded food, hunted prey or even roadkill!
The most important thing you can do when you’re faced with this problem is keep your pet hydrated – as well as cleaning up after them! Most cases of food poisoning resolve themselves in a matter of hours, so simply providing your pet with plenty of clean, fresh water is all you need. Dehydration can escalate quickly for small animals when their fluid levels are depleted by vomiting or diarrhea so focusing on that is the most valuable thing you can do!
If they don’t begin to recover swiftly, then you should think about a visit to the vet.
Another stomach churning moment in the life of a pet owner is the realisation that your beloved pet is injured. It might not be obvious at first so you need to be alert for subtle signs – not just visible wounds or blood, but also limping, unusual aggression or withdrawing from contact, and lack of appetite.
There should be no waiting if you find your pet injured – this requires a vet’s visit. Even if the injury itself doesn’t appear serious and your pet doesn’t seem to be in distress, the risk of infection isn’t one you can ignore! If you realise your cat’s been in a fight or your dog has injured itself, you should call a vet without delay.
A Missing Pet
One of the worst things you can experience is the realisation that your pet’s gone missing. Whether it’s a dog running away from you on a walk and not returning, or the dawning sense that your cat has been gone for a long time and missed a meal, the worry and guilt can be overpowering.
There are some obvious steps to take putting up posters in the area, alerting local social media groups – even offering a reward if you’re desperate – but one of the most valuable things you can do is make sure your cat or dog is microchipped, registered at a vet, and that your contact details are up to date.
When your pet is found, they’ll likely be taken to a vet, who will check for a microchip and use the registered details to try to contact you. Microchipping your pet can help reunite you with them faster, and confirm that they are indeed yours (and that you are indeed theirs too!). It’s now the law that all dogs must be microchipped so it’s not optional for you, but what you need to make sure updating your contact information is a priority whenever you move house, change phone or change vets, or the microchip becomes useless!