It’s safe to say that we are a nature of animal lovers. Millions of people all across the country own a pet of some kind, with dogs coming out on top as the preferred furry companion. It’s little wonder that this is the case – dogs are adorable, loyal creatures, and they can help to create a great family environment. If you grew up with dogs, you might even be of the opinion that a house isn’t a home until it has a dog in it. For this reason, so many of us are very attached to our pooches, so when they become unwell, it can be a particularly testing time. Obviously, your dog cannot tell you when he or she is feeling unwell or when there is a problem, so keeping on top of your dog’s health can often be down to a lot of guesswork. That is not to say that it is no less stressful than, say, if a friend or relative were ill, as dogs are usually considered an equally valued member of the family. If you suspect that your beloved pet may be unwell and you’re not sure how to act or what to do, here are some rough guidelines to follow.
Eliminate the usual suspects
Part of being a good dog owner is being aware of all the usual health ailments that your pet may suffer with. For example, dogs are very susceptible to ear infections, so if your pet is rubbing their ear with their paw a lot, chances are they could have an infection. Another very common health issue in dogs is fleas, which affects nearly every dog at one point or another. Unless your dog is showing very abnormal symptoms (and some dogs can be severely allergic to flea saliva), you can usually treat fleas at home yourself with a solution such as k9 advantix ii. It may take you a couple of attempts to apply the solution to your dog, so make sure you strike when they are in a calm and relaxed mood, and use lots of reassuring language so they do not become scared.
Keep a log and visit the vets
Dogs are very good at covering up any typical aches and pains, which is why you may not even know that your dog is ill for some time. If you do have a feeling that something is wrong, however, monitor their behavior for a couple of days, so you have some information to present to your veterinary surgeon. The vet will have a lot more to go on if you can describe your dog’s recent symptoms and behaviors in detail, and overall this can lead to a much speedier diagnosis.
Break the news to your children
Kids, in particular, can get very attached to pets, and they usually get their first experience of illness and death through a pet too. However upsetting it is for them if your pet is seriously ill, you need,to be honest, and open about it with your children so that it doesn’t come as a shock to them. Explain exactly what is going on and what the risks are, if your dog needs to have surgery or be kept in at the vets for some days. You also need to make sure that your children know they need to be gentle with their dog post-surgery or treatment, so they do not regress. It can be a difficult conversation to have, but one that can make the whole experience a lot smoother for everyone.
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