By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Since our dogs and cats can’t voice their feelings, it’s up to us as responsible caregivers to watch out for signs and symptoms of serious illness. Cats especially, tend to stay independent by nature and isolate themselves more easily when stressed or ill, so it would be more difficult to notice if you’re not observant.

There are several significant symptoms to watch for in both dogs and cats alike. Included would be vomiting. Many dogs and puppies can vomit without a problem and cats cough up hairballs periodically, so it’s not the occasional situation, but rather if it happens several times in one day. If your pet is not eating and is acting lethargic, see your vet right away.

Other symptoms include blood in vomit, diarrhea, blood in the stool, lameness, lethargic behavior, loss of appetite (especially over a 24 hour period) hair loss and/or excessive itching, coughing and excessive urination. These symptoms can lead to severe problems and should not be ignored.

When noticing any of these symptoms, it’s best to make a call to your vet.