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10 Signs to Take Your Dog to the Vet 

As a dog owner in Australia, you know that your pup’s health and well-being are of utmost importance. But how do you know when it’s time to take your pup to the vet? 

It can be difficult to know when your beloved pup needs a visit to the vet. While there are some obvious signs that require immediate attention, such as bleeding or laboured breathing, other signs of illness may not be so easy to spot.

There are several signs that may suggest it’s time for a visit to the vet with your furry friend – behavioural changes such as aggression/lethargy, sudden weight loss/gain, and intense itching/scratching being some of them.

It’s important not to ignore these signs as they could point towards potential medical issues that need attention from a professional veterinarian in Australia. If ever in doubt regarding your pup’s health, don’t hesitate to seek advice from your local veterinarian today!

Let’s break down how you can tell if your pup is under the weather and when it’s time to call the vet. 

When to Take Your Dog to the Vet: 10 Symptoms to Look For 

There are a few signs you should look out for that could indicate it’s time to make a trip to the vet. Let’s break down what these signs are and why they should not be ignored. 

1. Lethargy 

One of the key indicators that something might be wrong with your pup is an unexpected change in behaviour. If your previously playful pup suddenly becomes lethargic and uninterested in activities they usually enjoy, this could be a sign that something is amiss. 

2. Behavioural Changes 

If you notice sudden changes in your dog’s behaviour, like aggression, something may be wrong, and it might be time for a visit to the vet. If your pet exhibits any aggression or unusual timidity, this could also point to an underlying health issue and should be checked out by a vet as soon as possible. Behavioural problems can have many underlying causes, and it is important to rule out any medical issues before addressing anything else. 

3. Mobility Problems

Additionally, if your pup has been less active than usual or is having difficulty getting up or walking around, this could also indicate an underlying medical issue at play. 

4. Intense Itching or Scratching 

Itching and scratching are common canine behaviours, but excessive itching and scratching could mean something serious such as parasites or skin allergies. If you notice your pup licking themselves often or constantly biting certain areas of their body, then it may be worth making an appointment with the vet just to rule out any potential health concerns. 

5. Weight Loss

Another sign that your pup needs a checkup is if you’ve noticed significant weight loss over a short period without any explanation. If you have been keeping track of your pet’s weight, any sudden changes—particularly if they were not preceded by changes in diet—could indicate health issues such as diabetes or thyroid problems. If you feel like your pup looks thinner than usual or if he has been eating more food than normal but still losing weight, it could be time for an assessment from the vet. 

6. Weight Gain 

On the flip side, rapid weight gain could signal Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism. Weight gain can happen gradually over time, but dramatic changes can signal a health problem, especially if accompanied by other symptoms. Any sudden weight changes should prompt an immediate trip to the vet for further examination. 

7. Lack of Appetite 

Your dog’s eating habits are one of the most reliable indicators for their overall well-being and can alert you to potential health issues before they become more serious. A lack of appetite might mean that something is causing discomfort or distress within your pet, ranging from dental problems, parasites, allergies or infections. If no external factors are causing a decreased appetite—such as stress from moving house—the best thing you can do for them is to take them straight to their vet for further examination and treatment options. 

8. Vomiting

Vomiting is one of the most common occurrences in dogs, and it can be caused by a variety of issues, some of which are not serious. Sometimes, vomiting is caused by a simple dietary issue, such as eating too much or too quickly. Other times, it can be caused by an infection, toxin ingestion or even stress and anxiety. If your dog displays other signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite or diarrhoea, then it’s important to take them to the vet for a check-up. The vet will be able to assess your pet’s condition and determine the best course of action. 

Severe vomiting can result in dehydration, which is dangerous for dogs, so it’s important to keep an eye on their water intake and ensure they are drinking enough. If the vomiting persists for more than 24 hours, or if your pet exhibits signs of distress, it’s best to take them to the vet immediately. Your vet can prescribe medication or provide other treatments to help settle their stomach and get them feeling better again. 

Remember, every dog is different, so what works for one may not work for another. If you’re concerned about your pet’s health, it’s always best to consult a veterinarian who can give you the best advice when it comes to caring for your four-legged friend.

9. Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea in dogs can be caused by various things, including changes in diet and stress. It is important to look out for other symptoms like loss of appetite, dehydration or lethargy, as they could suggest something more serious. If your dog’s diarrhoea persists for longer than two days or if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, fever or blood in the stool, you should take them to a veterinarian for a physical examination and appropriate treatment. 

The vet may recommend additional tests such as x-rays or blood work to determine the cause of the diarrhoea and prescribe a suitable course of medication if necessary. In certain cases, your dog may need fluids administered intravenously or surgery if the underlying cause is serious.

10. Cough 

Coughing is a common symptom of many health conditions in dogs. If your dog is coughing, it is important to take them to the vet as soon as possible to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Coughing can be caused by anything from kennel cough or bronchitis to heartworms or parasites. Depending on the cause of your dog’s coughing, the vet may recommend a different treatment. 

In addition to coughing, other signs that your dog may need to see a vet include difficulty breathing, listlessness, vomiting and diarrhoea. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it is important to get them checked out as soon as possible. Your vet can determine the cause of the symptoms and provide medical advice on how to get your dog feeling better. 

When Should I Take My Dog to the Emergency Vet? 

If your dog has trouble breathing, has a seizure, is bleeding profusely, or has swallowed something poisonous, take them to the emergency vet immediately. Other signs that warrant a trip to the ER include vomiting blood, coughing up blood, seizures, extreme lethargy, and paralysis. 

If you’re not sure whether your dog’s symptoms warrant a trip to the ER, it’s always better to be safe than sorry – call ahead and speak with someone at the veterinary hospital to find out what you should do. The veterinary hospital will listen to the symptoms you describe and let you know whether an emergency vet visit is necessary.


It’s important for all dog owners in Australia to remain vigilant when it comes to their pup’s well-being and look out for any signs that something might be wrong; even small changes can indicate underlying health issues that need addressing urgently. Paying close attention to your pup’s behaviour, weight fluctuations, and eating habits will ensure that any potential issues are caught early on so that appropriate treatment plans can be implemented quickly and effectively. 

Of course, preventative care is always better than reactive care, so ensure you keep up with regular check-ups at the vets! That way, your furry friend will stay happy and healthy throughout their life!

Related Questions

What Should I Do if My Dog Vomits?

If your dog vomits, check to see if they have a fever and whether they’re drinking water. If they don’t have a fever and are still drinking water, you can give them bland food like boiled rice or chicken. If your dog doesn’t drink water or vomits again within 12 hours, take them to the vet.

Should I Take My Dog to the Vet After Eating Chocolate?

Yes, you should take your dog to the vet after eating chocolate. Chocolate is a toxin to dogs and can cause serious health problems. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs include vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, and seizures. If you think your dog has ingested chocolate, call your veterinarian immediately.

Should I Take My Dog to the Vet for an Ear Infection?

Yes, you should take your dog to the vet for an ear infection. Many times, an ear infection in a dog can be cured with antibiotics, but it’s important to have a professional diagnose and treat the infection. Left untreated, an ear infection in a dog can lead to other health problems, such as hearing loss.


This article is published in good faith, for general informational and educational purposes only. Paws and More Vet Centre does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information. This article should not be used as a substitute for veterinary advice, including for diagnosis or treatment of a pet’s medical condition. Always consult a veterinary professional before making decisions on your pet’s health.