When assessing whether or not you have a sick kitten or sick puppy, it is always best to err on the side of caution. In evaluating the health status of a puppy or kitten, some things to consider:
Is your puppy/kitten bright and alert? Does he appear active and playful or dull and depressed? Signs of potential illness could include excessive sleeping and/or no desire for activity. The ears should be erect and bright and a wagging tail is always a positive sign he feels good.
How does your puppy/kitten look? Examine the gums to determine if they are the normal pink color, as pale gums could indicate anemia from parasites. The coat should be bright and shiny – a dull, unkempt coat is indicative of an animal that is not in good health.
Is your puppy/kitten eating well? Growing animals have significant caloric requirements to meet the needs of development, and a puppy/kitten with no interest in food should be a strong indication that all is not well. Chewing slowly (or not at all), turning his nose up at food, or not approaching the bowl when called should be concerning.
Are the eliminations of your pet normal? Signs of a sick puppy or sick kitten may be characterized by loose, runny stools or vomiting. Stools should be well-formed with no signs of blood, mucous, or parasites. Vomiting of any kind should create a sense of concern. Frequency of defecation and urination should be assessed for signs of increase episodes. Urinating frequently or in small amounts could be consistent with illness of the urinary tract. Straining to defecate with little or no fecal material produced could indicate constipation.
A healthy puppy or kitten should be active and alert throughout most of the day with priorities on eating, playing, making a mess, or napping. If your new pet is behaving otherwise, you should take him to the veterinarian so they can assess the issue.