Health & Fitness

“What’s Wrong With My Pet?”

This is all too unfortunately regular a question from cat and dog owners. For hardy creatures that love to play and explore, they’re also vulnerable to lots of health conditions, ranging from the annoying but non-threatening to the serious and even life threatening! From dog diarrhea and vomiting to stressed cats and old age, today we’re looking at just a few of the common health issues you may have contend with as a pet owner.

Upset Stomachs

One of the most common health issues pet owners encounter is an upset stomach. These issues can have lots of different causes and all manifest slightly differently, from yellowish liquid thrown up overnight or in the morning, undigested food straight after a meal, or a bout of diarrhea, and unfortunately the issue isn’t as easily solved as googling “what can I give my cat for diarrhea and vomiting”.

If you know what’s causing your pet’s upset stomach you can try and do something about it. Overnight bile vomiting can be caused by a dog going hungry overnight – without food to digest, acid builds up and your dog suffers from reflux. Feeding smaller meals throughout the day (and closer to bedtime) can help to solve the problem.

This is also a potential solution to your dog throwing up undigested food after meals. This is caused by your dog eating too much too quickly, so smaller meals spread throughout the day can help. You could also put a tennis ball in their food bowl to help slow them down, or if they’re in competition with other dogs for their dinner, feed them separately so they can take a more relaxed pace.

Cats can vomit because they’ve eaten contaminated or rotten food, due to parasites, from stress or simply because you’ve changed their food brand too suddenly. Try feeding them small regular meals of easily digested fare like boiled chicken and white rice.

If these simple adjustments don’t help  – or you’re worried for any other reason, it’s well worth making an appointment at the vet, as gastric troubles could be the first sign of much more serious problems.

Emotional Wellbeing

There are lots of reasons a pet can feel stressed or upset, and it can cause physical symptoms, problems with their behaviour and affect your relationship with them, so it’s well worth understanding the problem.

Lots of things can affect your dog’s emotional and mental wellbeing, but one of the most important is exercise. A dog that isn’t walked enough doesn’t get enough mental or physical stimulation, or socialisation with other dogs, and this can lead to all kinds of problems. Do some research or consult with your vet to find out what constitutes sufficient exercise for a dog of your pet’s age and species.

A cat’s level of stress and contentment is strongly affected by their environment. If they don’t have sufficient places to explore and mental stimulation, they can suffer. Try to make sure there are at least one or two safe places in each room for your cat to explore and take refuge, from cardboard boxes to spaces on chair backs or shelves. Respect your cat when petting it – don’t go looking for affection while it’s eating or playing, and try not to surprise your cat. Approach from the front, offer a hand to sniff first, and then go in a stroke. 

Age

Like humans, as pets get older they get more vulnerable to some health conditions. As your dog or cat moves into the senior stage of its life (a milestone that differs from breed to breed), it’s worth scheduling regular checks with your vet to help catch the early signs of conditions like cataracts, arthritis, cancer and even dementia. Spotting the early signs means starting to treat and manage these conditions early, and giving your pet the best old age possible after a long and happy life.

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