Being a pet owner is an amazing and rewarding experience, but like many wonderful things, it comes with great responsibility.
You probably already know that family pets should have an annual visit to the vet, but an occasional extra visit might be worthwhile in certain cases.
If you identify the following symptoms in pet's behaviour, try not to panic, and although a vet visit is a smart idea, most of these ailments are easily, treatable.
1. Drinking more than usual
If you notice your pet's bowl is dry, the pet is trying to get more water from another pet’s bowl, or the pet is going to the toilet for extra water - this could be a sign of diabetes, a kidney problem, or an adrenal gland problem.
2. Vomit and diarrhoea
If your pet is continually throwing up, or throwing up in conjunction with diarrhoea, it is likely that something is wrong. Your vet can check for intestinal parasites, and take care of more urgent situations.
3. Bad smell
Any unusual odour your otherwise clean pet is emitting is something you should examine further. If you notice a smell, have a look at the animal's ears, skin, mouth, and teeth.
In some extreme cases limping can be a sign of bone cancer, in which case it is best to get a vet involved immediately. However, limping could also point to a ruptured ligament or arthritis.
5. Weight loss or gain
Weight loss is more commonly a sign of disease in dogs than weight gain. However, while weight gain is a little more unusual, it can stem from retaining fluid, an under-active thyroid, a distended abdomen, or an adrenal gland disease. Seek a vet's help if you notice your pet's weight has changed.
6. Drop in activity
A decrease in your pet's energy could mean that they are anaemic, have joint pain, heart problems, arthritis, or just feeling weak. Almost any disease has decreased activity associated with it, it's a general symptom, but an important one.