When it comes to our furry friends, active animals can sometimes experience an emergency health situation. Even though the vast majority of the time your pet will be healthy and playing happily and enjoying the comforts of home, it’s important to know how to spot a pet emergency.


All owners are familiar with how their animal moves, how active it is, how it responds to outside stimuli, and what its biological rhythms are. Spotting changes are simple. Spotting emergencies requires some patience and keen observation.


The following are some common questions animal owners ask and some easy answers to help determine what’s different and what you can do to make your dog or cat more comfortable if you notice a change in your pet’s normal behavior.


Why does my dog or cat seem depressed?


Depression in animals

There are lots of reasons why an animal may suddenly change behavior from active to slow, from normal to not-so-normal, or from “happy” to “depressed”. Believe it or not, dogs and cats respond to changes in daily routines, just like humans do. So when your animal’s routine is challenged or suddenly changed by either a new pet, person, home, or the loss of a pet or person in their lives, it may take time for your animal to adjust.


Old age, temperature changes, and biological changes can also impact your pet. They enjoy routine and mental stimulation, in order to maintain wellness. Try reestablishing their routine by spending more time engaging with them and playing with them. Exercise is a great antidote for depression. If your animal has prolonged periods of not-eating or lethargic behavior, consult your veterinarian to determine other causes.


Why is my dog or cat irritable?


Acting irritable is another way dogs and cats communicate. While cats have a reputation for being aloof, an injured cat may become docile and will seek out affection, as a means of communicating illness or injury. Dogs may also indicate illness or injury in the same way. Likewise, when a generally good-natured animal begins snapping when you touch them, their quick reflex to attack is another way your pet is indicating they have pain.


How can I tell if my animal has an injury?


Run your hands along its legs, torso, back, paws, head, and neck to detect any sore spots or open wounds. If you detect or suspect any injuries have occurred, take your animal directly to the veterinarian for a medical evaluation. If your veterinarian determines your animal has a wound, inflammation, broken bone or arthritis, ask your veterinarian how the Assisi™ Portable can help with accelerating healing. The Assisi™ Portable Loop has been studied and found to assist with faster healing times of wounds and decreases in inflammation. Also, the Assisi™ Portable can be administered at home.


Why is my dog or cat limping?


Favoring a leg or limping is a tell-tale sign and one of the few ways for an animal to communicate that there’s a bone, joint, inflammation, tendon or soft tissue problem. Depending on the age of the animal or the type of animal it could be a simple a sprain. For older animals and certain breeds like the German Shepard, Mastiff, or Dachshund, limping could indicate hip dysplasia or back injury. Giant breed dogs are especially susceptible to joint pain as are smaller companion dogs like the Yorkie Terrier.


Why is my cat or dog vomiting?


LilyFor most cats and dogs vomiting is a normal occurrence. However, abnormal vomiting followed by listlessness, shortness of breath or trouble breathing could be an indication of more serious issues. Cats have an insatiable curiosity that causes them to explore in places where they shouldn’t. Even something as benign as flowers can irritate a cat’s digestive system and cause poisoning. Certain flowers like the lily are potentially deadly for cats. The popular oleander and poinsettia are also poisonous to animals. Regular household items such as medications, rodent poison, household cleaning products, xylitol sweetener, lawn and garden products can cause problems for cats.


For dogs, there are specific foods that are poisonous to them. Chocolate, bread dough, grapes and raisins, hops, macadamia nuts, moldy foods, onions and garlic, and avocados are common human foods poison for dogs.


Make sure medications are locked up and away from your animal’s access. Most prescription medication poisoning occurs when animals quickly ingest a dropped pill before the owner can retrieve the spilled pill from the ground.


If you’re concerned about your animal, animal poison control centers are available to help animal owners understand how best to handle accidental ingestion of poisonous foods and household items.


This article is intended to give general information, always consult a veterinarian for medical advice and animal care.