6 Subtle Signs Your Pet May Be Sick (and what to do about it)

6 Subtle Signs Your Pet May Be Sick

AUTHOR: Anita Ginsberg

The fact that your dog or cat can’t talk doesn’t mean they can’t tell you they aren’t feeling well. It’s just a matter of recognizing the signs. Even if there could be other excuses for your pet’s change in behavior, some argue that it is cause for seeing a vet, just in case.  Following are some of the more subtle signs of illness in an animal.

6 Subtle Signs Your Pet May Be Sick (and what to do about it)


There are plenty of reasons for a pet to throw up, especially for a dog that often eats strange things, like leaves or couch stuffing. But keep an eye on the vomiting, because if your pet is throwing up several times a day, this could be cause for concern, especially if he or she is also acting lethargic. Blood in the vomit is most likely caused by ulcers.

Lack of Appetite

Bring your pet to the vet if a lack of appetite or decreased activity persists for more than one day. A symptom this vague may seem like no big deal, but could be associated with a fever. If a cat in particular stops eating for too long, they could develop a fatty liver, which is fatal.

Increase or Decrease in Urination

If your pet starts urinating in the house or needs nighttime bathroom trips when that isn’t normal, he or she could have diabetes, liver or kidney disease, or adrenal gland disease. Too little urination can be a sign of urinary tract problems, which are particularly urgent for cats. Male cats in particular could be facing a fatal situation within 24 hours as a result of bladder stones.


If your dog is coughing, it is most likely no big deal. Kennel cough can, however, progress to pneumonia in puppies, and can be fatal to dogs with pushed-in faces whose unusual head anatomy makes it difficult for them to breathe if they have kennel cough. Coughing can also be associated with heart and lung diseases, which is more likely the case if your dog has other symptoms in addition to coughing, or if the cough lasts for more than two weeks.

Loss of Fur

Even though more common reasons for itchiness and fur loss are fleas and ear mites, your pet could be suffering from endocrine problems, staph infections, fungal or yeast infections. So if your pet is losing fur or itching, with no fleas or ear mites to show for it, see a vet.


If your pet is having trouble standing up, or having trouble with one leg, he or she could have arthritis. It may seem like just a sign of aging, but a lot of dogs get arthritis, and therefore, these symptoms are worth seeing a vet about.

Most of these symptoms are usually no big deal, which is why it is extra important to keep an eye on them in case the problem is something more serious. The sooner you visit your vet upon seeing these symptoms, the more quickly your pet will get treated if their condition is something more serious than you thought.

6 Subtle Signs Your Pet May Be Sick, and what to do about

6 Subtle Signs Your Pet May Be Sick (and what to do about it)

Informational credit to Brimley-Lawrence Animal Clinic.

Anita Ginsburg is a Freelance Writer from Denver. anitaginsburg@gmail.com


6 Subtle Signs Your #Pet May Be Sick (and what to do about it) #PetHealth Share on X


You might also like: How Do Dogs Get Canine Distemper? Is There a Cure?



  • Do you have an animal-related story you would like to submit for publication? Let me know if you do! Funny, sad, educational, trivia, common or uncommon in nature … the choice is yours.
  • Email me directly at jeanne@animalbliss.com


*** Leave a comment below and remember to share. ***

It’s just sexy!

As always, thank you for taking the time to visit my blog!




18 thoughts on “6 Subtle Signs Your Pet May Be Sick (and what to do about it)”

  1. I did not know that a loss of fur could be an indication that your animal is sick. It is interesting to learn that the cause of this fur loss could be a staph infection. Something to think about would be to find a reliable vet ahead of time to ensure that quality help can be received when your pet is in need.

  2. These are subtle signs of sickness. My dog throws up fairly frequently. He eats weird stuff and sometimes eats too much, period, then vomits. We will have to pay more attention to how frequently he does it. I’d hate to miss any sign of a serious sickness. Maybe we should take him to see the vet anyway, just in case.

  3. Thanks for posting this article, Anita! Your tips have saved me valuable time! I noticed that my dog wasn’t eating, so I decided to follow you suggestion and take him to the vet. After the vet inspected him, he said that he had cancer. Luckily, we caught it early enough, so we’ll be able to treat it. Thanks for the suggestions; they’re literally life saving!

    • Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read this article, Lily. I’m so glad you were able to catch your dog’s cancer in time. Phew! I lost a German Shepherd to bone cancer a couple of years ago. It wasn’t pretty. All the best! I hope everything ends well for you.

  4. When your puppy starts behaving in an unusual manner like if the puppy is not having the regular food or if the puppy is not having a proper sleep then may be your puppy is not well.

  5. This is a good article. Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell whether something is a symptom of a bigger issue with your pets. I appreciate all the great information on your blog!

  6. This is a great blog! It’s a new one for me but I have really enjoyed looking through it. I have two mini dachshunds and have done animal rescue for years. There is great information here and thank you for this article!

  7. Although these are common symptoms, it amazes me how many animal guardians miss them until it is too late. I watch my rescue pup very closely because she is a border collie and loves to herd rabbits and snack on them. I make sure she is up on all of her shots!!

    • Hi Ann. Thanks for stopping by! I love that you watch your rescue pup so closely and keep up her shots, especially if she’s hunting on her own. You never know what’s possible to pick up out there in nature. Take care of each other, and come back soon!

  8. I think its amazing that each time I come looking for something on your site, I always find it. My Rott has been coughing a lot and he’s been scratching a lot (He has that white hair that the vet says is dermatological). I guess its time to schedule an appointment. He’s an older guy so, one can never be too safe.

    • Ah, an older dog. Don’t you just hate to watch them get older? I sure do. Our Jake is 14 and he’s really showing his age. It’s sad to see. I hope you’ll get some help for your Rott. They’re such beautiful dogs. Thanks for visiting, Danielle! I appreciate you, always. 🙂

  9. Thank you for the advice. I want my 3 year old YorkiePoo to be well. My daughter had a pug, named Spud, that passed away 1 1/2 years ago. Two years prior, he began to have problems falling sometimes. Then, his last year he had trouble breathing. He didn’t even want to go out to potty. I felt so bad for him. One month before he left us, my daughter took him to the vet and was told it was unlikely he would make it through the night. But, after staying there for one week and being given a water pill (we learned he had a major heart problem) and another 2 medications, he was released. I could not believe it when precious Spud run out the door and played with my doggie. I cried and cried! Then, on the day he left us, I was in the laundry room by the back door and I could tell he wanted out. He went to the ack yard, a good distance away from home and left us. I am so glad I didn’t follow him; my heart could not have taken it. He was 14 years old and will be forever in outr hearts. He brought me so much joy!

    • Aww, sorry to hear about the loss of your little dog. 14 years is a long time! I love his name, Spud. Spud the pug. Cute. I can imagine he did bring you so much happiness and will be forever remembered. Take care, Debra!


Leave a Comment