For all pet owners, the scariest moments are the ones when you suddenly notice something wrong with your dog.
You might see them scoot under a table with their tail down and have no idea what’s wrong with them. Such moments are nightmares for pet owners because seeing your dog in pain is a heartrending thing, and you don’t know what to expect.
To add to this, dogs are experts in hiding their pain and discomfort, and sometimes, the only way to know something is wrong is by observing changes in their usual routine.
In this article, we’ll discuss some common changes in behavior that may indicate a trip to the veterinarian (or, at the very least, a call to one) is necessary.
Decreased Energy or Activity Levels
A sudden decrease in energy or activity levels can be a sign that something is not right with your dog. This can manifest as a lack of interest in playing, going for walks, or other activities that they normally enjoy.
While such behaviors can be normal if it’s only for a short time, you need to be careful and vigilant about how long the period of decreased energy and activity levels lasts, as this is often a sign of anemia, dehydration, and even cancer.
Loss of Appetite or Changes in Eating Habits
Changes in your dog’s eating habits can be caused by a variety of factors, including dental problems, gastrointestinal issues, stress, and anxiety. Such issues can be caused by gastrointestinal issues, hormonal imbalances, pain, and even depression.
If your vet has identified the cause, he or she may often prescribe appetite stimulants like mirtazapine or cyproheptadine. These days, you can find medicines on online pet Rx websites.
Using such websites can be helpful if, by some chance, your vet doesn’t have the medicine on hand. Many of these online pet pharmacies also have a chat box or a number you can call to get advice or help. Of course, this is a last resort, and you should always try to reach out to your local vet for any emergencies.
Such services helped countless dogs during the COVID-19 pandemic when access to vets was limited by government-mandated lockdowns.
Lack of Interest in Socialization or Play
Dogs are naturally social creatures and enjoy spending time with their owners and other dogs. If your dog suddenly loses interest in socializing or playing, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue.
Lack of interest in socializing or playing may be caused by physical problems, such as pain or discomfort, which can cause dogs to lose interest in socializing or playing. If a dog is in pain, it may become less active and less interested in interacting with others.
For example, a dog with arthritis may have difficulty playing or going for walks and may become less inclined to engage in social activities.
Emotional issues, such as stress or anxiety, can also cause a dog to lose interest in socializing or playing. Dogs can also become stressed or anxious due to changes in their environment, such as moving to a new home, a new family member, or the loss of a companion. This can cause them to become withdrawn, anxious, or less interested in socializing or playing.
If symptoms prolong to the point that it affects their health and well-being, seek advice from your vet.
Increased Aggression or Irritability
A sudden change in behavior, such as increased aggression or irritability, may be caused by pain, discomfort, and environmental factors. Such behaviors can also occur when a dog is fearful or frustrated by something.
For example, if you haven’t been walking or exercising your dog for the last few days, they can get frustrated because they wish to expel their excess energy and have no outlet.
Similarly, new visitors or pets in the home may cause them to feel threatened, which can also cause aggression and irritability. Prolonged behavior of this sort with no visible trigger is probably an indicator that you should talk to your vet.
Lethargy or Depression
Sometimes you may notice that your dog doesn’t want to get up. This is normal to a certain extent. There are many times when nothing is wrong with even us humans, but we still feel a bit off and want to stay in bed. The same is true for dogs.
Depression is also something that affects dogs, and it can be very sad to witness. Spend some more time with your dog and give them extra attention and love.
If you notice the symptoms persisting to such an extent that they refuse to move for long periods and they start to ignore their favorite food, treats, and toys that normally got their attention, this is a cause of concern, and you should get it checked out as soon as possible.
Change in Sleep Patterns
These aren’t always dangerous as they can be caused by a number of non-serious factors.
Changes in the weather, water intake, hormones, diet, and even aging are all factors that can cause some dogs to switch things up and get more active during the night or sleep for most of the day.
Adult dogs, on average, sleep for about 12 to 14 hours, so anything in that range is normal. However, if you feel like something is seriously off with their sleep cycle, then you can consider a quick call to your vet just for safety.
Sudden Change in Bathroom Habits
Most dogs poop at least once per day, but bowel movements of up to three times are within the normal range. Frequency is but one aspect to track. You should also keep an eye on their stool consistency and tendencies of sudden accidents, such as going number one or number two in the house.
Such issues could be caused by dietary changes, over or under-stimulation, age, and medical conditions. If the symptoms don’t appear to resolve within a few days, you should probably consult your vet.
Excessive Barking or Whining
Dogs bark for a number of reasons, and they also have several types of barks.
Some barks are caused by pain and distress, while others are used as warnings for intruders or threats. The need for attention and affection also causes dogs to bark.
As for whining, dogs make these sad sounds when they want something or are scared and stressed out.
In a circumstance where you are able to easily detect the cause of such behavior, a vet trip may not be required. However, if you find that they are continuing to bark and whine for seemingly no cause and you are unable to help them, then yes, consult your vet as soon as possible.
Even though these moments feel scary, remember that most of these issues will resolve by themselves without a need for a vet trip.
Technology has made it easy for people to make a quick video call so that vets can visually see the symptoms and offer advice.
This can be a great boon in situations where you want to avoid stressing out your dog even more.
Even if you notice strange or unusual behavior, try not to panic too much.
Dogs can pick up on emotions very well, and any stress that you express only makes them more anxious and worried in turn.
Remember to avoid patting, touching, or going too close to them when they seem to be in pain. There is a chance they can snap at you in an unexpected way when they are going through distress.
Until you find out what the reason for their unusual behavior is, try to stay positive and give your dog some space until your vet can make a diagnosis.