5 Subtle Changes That May Indicate Your Pet Is Sick

If only our pets could talk! We can just imagine their go-to phrases: “Feed me!” “Pet me!” “Let me out!” “Let me back in!” Luckily, these are desires that we can usually easily interpret by their behaviors. Other messages, such as when they don’t feel well, aren’t so easy to read.

However, pets usually do communicate their discomfort through changes in their usual habits if they are temporarily sick or developing a chronic health condition. “Change” is the key word here, and when assessing your dog or cat it helps to apply it in five ways:

Look for changes in:


Many pet owners bring their pets in for an exam saying, “I’m not sure what’s wrong, but she’s just not acting like herself.” That’s a good clue because, just like us, pets become more listless, irritable, or needy when ill. Some pets will hide, others become more aggressive, while others will act more clingy than usual.

Is your dog or cat sleeping much more than usual? Or is he restless, and sleeping less? Does your normally high-energy dog seem uninterested in chasing the ball or lose stamina on a routine walk? Is your cat showing little interest in her beloved toys or activities? These could be clues that your pet is feeling under-the-weather.


You’ve probably become quite familiar with your pet’s needs when it comes to urinating and bowel movements, and these are good indicators that all systems are functioning properly. But changes in the frequency or ability to relieve themselves, or in the appearance or odor of the stool or urine, could indicate a problem. Any traces of blood in urine or feces warrant an immediate call to your vet.

Eating and drinking

Many things can cause loss of appetite in pets, from gastrointestinal upsets to dental problems to cancer. And an unusual increase in appetite may warrant a check of your pet’s thyroid. As far as thirst goes, if your pet is drinking excessively or much less than usual, it could also be a symptom of a disease. Plus, decreased water consumption can lead to dehydration, which can lead to more health issues.


Any sudden change in weight, whether losing or gaining, may be a sign of an illness. The change could be caused by numerous conditions, such as diabetes, intestinal parasites, or even cancer. Weight changes are also often connected to some of the other changes that occur when your pet is sick, such as eating habits and activity levels, so be sure to tell your vet about all changes your pet has been exhibiting.

Use the five categories above to gauge your pet, and trust your intuition if you sense that something’s just not right with him or her. Signs of disease are often subtle, so if you suspect something’s off it’s best to have a vet examine your pet. Urine, stool, and blood tests can quickly identify if your pet has a parasite-related disease or a medical condition.

Early detection of any illness or disease gives your pet a much better chance of recovery, and the expense is much less than it would be if the disease progresses. This is why PetWellClinic® is committed to preventative care, and why we offer examinations at an affordable price.

By operating limited hours for non-surgical care, PetWellClinic® is able to offer substantially discounted prices for exams, preventative products, and treatment of minor conditions. Think of us as a “minute clinic” for your pet—no appointment necessary, with quick in and out service. You can save even more time by pre-registering and pre-paying online for our walk-in hours.

PetWellClinic® is open during evening hours and on weekends. We are located in Farragut at 10549 Kingston Pike, near West Hills at 7329 Kingston Pike and at 228 S. Calderwood Street in Alcoa. Learn more about how the PetWellClinic® can exceed your expectations for affordable, top quality pet care by visiting our website at www.petwellclinic.com.


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