15 Reasons Why Your Dog Needs To Go To The Vet

It can be expensive to take your dog to the vet, but sometimes it’s simply unavoidable. For the best care, your pet should see their veterinarian for routine checks, shots, and medical emergencies. But do you know exactly when to take dog to vet? We will offer some tips about when your dog should see the vet, and what symptoms to look out for.

When To Take Dog To Vet

1.  Going to the vet for a cough

Coughs aren’t usually something to be concerned about. After all, just like people, dogs can develop allergies and other minor conditions. Still, there are times when a cough can be cause for concern. Your pet should see the vet if they:

  • Have a cough that lasts longer than 2-3days
  • Have a cough that sounds deep or moist
  • It disturbs their sleep or way of life
  • It is accompanied by pain or other symptoms
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Discharge like blood or mucus being hacked up

2. Going to the vet for diarrhea

Diarrhea can be caused by the change of food, the consumption of inedible objects, upset stomachs, or treats that do not agree with them. But there are times when it becomes much more serious. Diarrhea can be a symptom of Worms, Gastrointestinal Issues,

A few things to watch out for are:

  • Blood in stool
  • Dehydration
  • Runny stool that lasts longer than 2 days
  • Diarrhea accompanied by other symptoms
  • Black or tarry looking stool
  • Worms
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Drooling or lip-smacking
  • Fever

3. Going to the vet for vomiting

When a dog vomits, it’s usually due to a stomach upset. There is either something internally wrong, or he ate something he wasn’t supposed to. Vomiting can be an indication of liver/kidney failure, bloat, parasites, parvovirus, ingestion of toxic substances, intestinal blockage, pancreatitis, and much more.

A few signs to watch out for are as follows:

  • Blood in vomit
  • Vomiting that lasts for more than 24 hours or vomits multiple times in 1 day
  • Dehydration
  • Confusion/Disorientation
  • Other symptoms accompanied by vomiting
  • Refusal to drink water
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea

4. Other symptoms to watch for

When to take dog to vet? Here are symptoms to look out for

A few other things to monitor with your pet are:

  • Amount of sleep
  • Daily activity
  • Change in stools
  • Change in appetite
  • Refusal to take in water
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Change in behavior
  • Aggression
  • Cloudy or red eyes
  • Unusual stool
  • Excessive thirst
  • Coat health.
  • Scooting butt on floor
  • Hard, swollen abdomen
  • Sudden collapse
  • Seizures

If there is any change to your dog’s everyday behavior, it is always best to consult their veterinarian. After all, you know your pet better than anyone else. If something seems or feels off, then it’s better to be safe than sorry. A trip to the vet can be life-saving.

5. Vet or ER?

We know how expensive emergency visits can be. But sometimes we have no choice in the matter. For example- It’s 3 a.m. on a Saturday and all of a sudden your dog is throwing up, shaking, and unable to stand. What do you do? Waiting to see his regular physician would be a grave mistake. Your only other option is to get them to the emergency vet ASAP. But how do you know when their medical condition warrants a trip to the ER?

Dog receiving an injection from vet

Well, our first piece of advice is this: ‘When in doubt, take them in.’ It isn’t worth the suffering or potentially fatal outcome of your furry friend trying and waiting. It won’t do anyone any good. If money is the issue, we urge you to consider applying for CareCredit or to even try and find a clinic that takes donations over the phone. These have saved countless pets from unfortunate circumstances. If you’re teetering back and forth on whether your pooch should be seen, here are a few tips to help you make a decision:

  • Continuous vomiting
  • Shaking
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Disorientation/Confusion
  • Loss of bowel/bladder control
  • Crying
  • Signs of pain/discomfort
  • Difficulty standing
  • Refusal to eat or drink
  • Lethargy
  • Faint heartbeat
  • Continuous diarrhea
  • Any other symptom you are concerned about

Remember, it is still always best to take them in immediately if you are unsure of their condition. We aren’t vets, and this information is strict to help you make a more informed decision.

6. Regularly scheduled appointments

Even when your pet isn’t sick, it is important to take them in for yearly visits. This is the time the vet will perform wellness checks, and keep them up to date on vaccines. Their shots are especially important to keep up with, as it prevents several debilitating ailments and fatal diseases such as rabies, parvo, and distemper.

It is also a good opportunity to stock up on heartworm pills for the year and get your dog tested if you have missed any months of medication. So, how often should you take your dog to the vet? These appointments should be made at least once a year, and more for puppies or if there is reason to go back.

7. Puppy care vs. Dog care

Both are equally important, though puppies will need to see the vet quite a bit more than healthy, adult dogs. This is mostly due to keeping them up to date on vaccinations, which is more frequent in pups. Puppies need a set of three shots, starting between the ages of 6 to 16 weeks, each done over 3-4 weeks apart. These shots will include protection against parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and the final round will include a year’s worth of protection against rabies. Once your puppy has gotten all three rounds of shots, they are better protected until the year is up, and then they will get a second round of boosters. After this, they should only have to go in every 1-3 years for vaccine renewal.  Optional, though recommended shots include: Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, and Lyme disease.

8. Common ailments in canines

There are some conditions that our pets are more likely to get than others. A few of these are:

  • Infections
  • Worms
  • Heartworms
  • Diabetes
  • Parvo
  • Rabies
  • Hepatitis
  • Distemper
  • Arthritis
  • Broken bones
  • Kennel cough
  • Fleas/Ticks
  • Cataracts
  • Cancer
  • Obesity

Some of these conditions are very serious and can be fatal if left untreated. Vet care is necessary for all the items listed above, as well as any other symptoms you find unusual or alarming. It is also worth noting that some breeds of dogs are more likely to inherit some disorders than others, such as hip dysplasia, dislocations, dermatitis, hyperthyroidism, and many more. These health issues should be diagnosed and treated by the vet. Obtaining the medical records of your dog’s parents is the best way to assure your new pet does not have an increased risk of inherited disorders or ailments.

9. Dogs with injuries

Vet taking care of an injured dog

When a dog develops an injury, that is caused for a trip to the vet. These can include:

  • Wounds that do not stop bleeding after several minutes of applied pressure
  • Large or deep cuts
  • Profuse bleeding
  • Limping
  • Crying
  • Unable to walk or stand
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Infected cuts
  • Broken or visible bones
  • Change in behavior

10. Flea Control

Fleas and other pests are a plague to our canine companions. Trips to the vet are key in obtaining preventatives for these invasive insects. Another thing to note is that flea allergies are quite common in dogs. You may notice them scratching, biting, licking their paws, redness around the eyes, or sneezing. This causes the dog a lot of discomforts, and a shot of steroids may be given to ease the itching.

11. Food Allergies

This is another common allergy among dogs that may warrant a trip to the vet. They may have diarrhea, vomiting, gas, stomach upset, and other symptoms due to an allergy in their

12. Senior dogs

Senior dogs should be given an exam at least every six months. This is due to the ailments that come along with old age. If your dog is diagnosed with a medical condition, he will have to go in more frequently to keep up with vitals and medications. It is very important that your senior dog gets the proper care in order to live a longer, happier life.

13. Most common reasons dogs go to the vet

Other than routine care, the most common causes of dogs needing vet attention are ear infections, stomach upset, urinary tract infections, and skin conditions. Ear infections are noticeable because of their foul smell, waxy discharge, and general pain in the area. UTI’s are often accompanied by foul-smelling urine, frequent urge to urinate, pain or discomfort when urinating, accidents, fever, or licking around the area. For stomach upset, watch for signs of discomfort, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite or energy. Skin conditions are easily recognizable by loss of hair, scabs, licking or scratching of the skin or feet, red bumps, discoloration, and odor. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s best to take them in for treatment.

14. Heat exhaustion/ Hypothermia

The elements are just as hazardous to our canines as they are to us. In fact, heatstroke and hypothermia are as common in pets as their owners. Signs your dog may be suffering from heatstroke are:

  • Panting, which increases as heat stroke progresses
  • Drooling, salivating
  • Agitation
  • Being restless
  • Bright red tongue
  • Very red or pale gums
  • Fast heart rate
  • Trouble breathing
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea (May have blood)
  • Signs of hypothermia include:
  • Shivering
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Pale or gray gums
  • Stumbling or coordination issues
  • Fixed and dilated pupils
  • Low heart and breathing rates
  • Collapse
  • Coma

These are all signs that your pet needs emergency care ASAP.

15. Changes in behavior

Any time you notice a change in your dog’s behavior or routine, it is a good idea to call the vet. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. For some pets, the changes may be difficult to notice and may require extra care and attention. While for others, you may notice drastic changes in how they act or their eating/sleeping habits. Be attentive to any and all signs that your dog is distressed. As we have stated before, being too careful is better than not being careful enough.

Keep a list of your pet’s medical conditions, along with emergency contact numbers on the fridge and in your wallet for emergency situations. It is also wise to keep their shot records on hand, with the date of when they were administered for easy access and in case of unforeseen circumstances. If your pet has any allergies, it is also important to list them on their emergency list, along with any medications they may need or be taking.

Keeping these documents organized in a file or a personalized pet pocketbook will make it easier for you and those around you to take proper measures when caring for your pet. It will also make it easier for the vet who is there to treat your pet for illness.

Final Thoughts

We love our pets as part of our family, and we want them to live long and prosperous lives.

This is why veterinary care is essential. They keep our pets running at their optimum level, and prevent future ailments from occurring. Finding the right vet is as easy as Googling clinics and reading reviews, or getting referrals from trusted dog parents. It is okay to check out different vets if you aren’t satisfied with the care your pooch is receiving. When it comes to their health, you can never be too cautious.

We hope these tips have given you a general understanding of emergency situations, and what constitutes a trip to the veterinarian’s office. If you take anything away from this article, we hope it’s that you err on the side of caution, and bring them in whenever you have a cause for concern. Their reliance on us for their health is serious but is greatly rewarding to see them grow alongside us in our journey through life.