If your dog becomes sick, injured or otherwise unwell, this can be hugely stressful and worrying for the owner as well as the dog! It is of course only natural that we worry about our canine companions and want them to remain fit, healthy and well for as long as possible, but as dogs do of course live for much shorter average lifespans than people, most pet owners will have to face at least one emergency or difficult time in their dog’s life.
In this article, we will share some tips on how to get through a health scare or diagnosis of illness in your dog calmly and sensibly, minimising the natural stress and worry that this time will bring to you without losing your mind. Read on to learn more!
It is impossible to predict and plan ahead for every possible canine emergency or health problem, but there are some steps that you can take to ensure that you are as prepared as you can be when something does happen.
First of all, consider insuring your dog in order to help to pay for their veterinary care, and ensure that your dog is registered with a vet and has had a check-up within the last year.
For pedigree dogs, find out about some of the most common hereditary health problems that the breed can be prone to, such as back and spine problems in the Dachshund, and the potential for breathing problems and overheating in brachycephalic breeds such as the Boxer dog. By learning about hereditary health conditions in detail, you will be better prepared to spot a developing problem in the early stages, and be able to get your pet help quickly.
It is easier said than done, but if your dog suddenly collapses, falls ill, or comes in limping badly, panicking is totally counterproductive, and will help neither you nor your dog.
Think about what you will need to do if your dog is injured or begins showing signs of ill health, and have a plan in place to follow, which will give you something to concentrate on that is both effective and helpful, and will help to stave off panic and keep both you and your dog calm.
For most pet owners in this digital age, Google is often our first port of call when something seems to be amiss with our dogs, and it is certainly true that in some cases, Googling your dog’s symptoms can give you a valuable insight into what might be wrong, and encourage you to get help quickly.
However, it is virtually impossible to check the accuracy or veracity of all of the health advice that you may read online, and of course, you are not a vet and so cannot be sure that you are correctly matching your dog’s symptoms to an online diagnosis without missing anything important.
Do not use Google in place of professional veterinary advice.
If something seems to be up with your dog and you are not sure what or how serious it might be, you have the choice of either calling your vet straight away, or waiting to see how things develop. However, calling your vet sooner rather than later when you are unsure is important, as your vet can provide you with valuable advice and information, and may well be able to tell you over the phone whether your dog needs to visit the clinic ASAP, or if you should wait and see.
Contacting your vet promptly gives your dog the best chances of a good result, as many problems are much easier to deal with in the initial stages than when they become more severe, and ill dogs can become worse very quickly.
When you have spoken to your vet and everything possible is being done for your dog, either at the clinic or at home, worrying and getting stressed out over things that you can’t change or make better is totally natural but doesn’t help you at all. Take some time for yourself to relax and take a breather, with a cup of tea and a book, or whatever else you find helps you to deal with stress.
Follow your vet’s advice on what you can do for your dog at home to make them more comfortable or help them, and take the time to spend a little more time with your dog to support them, keep them calm and make them feel loved. Improving your dog’s mood and keeping them positive can and does often have a marked effect on your dog’s health and how well they cope will illness or recovery, and will also make you feel a little better as well.
Once you get a diagnosis or guidance from your vet about what is wrong with your dog or how to proceed, you mind is likely to whirl in circles, wondering what you could have done to prevent the issue, notice it sooner, or otherwise have changed to make things better.
It is important to trust yourself and know that you are doing what is best for your dog, and even if you missed some early signs or feel that you did not cope with the early stages of the problem as well as you could have done, you have to let that go, and remember that you are doing what is best for your dog now, and that you cannot change the past.