Sick as a dog? Not anymore!

It’s never fun when our beloved dogs get sick. It makes us feel awful, and sometimes helpless because they can’t communicate and tell us exactly what’s bothering them. Because of this many dog owners tend to overreact a bit whenever their dog starts showing any signs of illness. We’ll often visit the vet for the slightest irregularity in our dog, and many times we’re given a very simple solution to the ailment. I’m hoping that today’s blog will help you feel a bit more in control during those times when you’re uncertain what the best course of action should be.

Just to be clear, I’m not writing this today to act as a replacement for seeking medical attention from your vet. In fact this isn’t even medical advice. This is simply my experiences, and any decision you make regarding treating your dog should come from careful consideration and consultation with a trained medical professional.

Seven or eight years ago I was at my veterinarian’s office with Zane for the third time in as many months. This particular visit was for a case of diarrhea, the month prior was due to Zane limping, and the previous month was because Zane had been itching like crazy. When the vet walked in he said something that caught me off guard; “Adam, business must be going great for you.” I told him it was going pretty well, and he said; “I can tell because you’re sure blowing a lot of money in here.” I was a bit surprised and asked him what he meant. He then answered my question with a question and asked me if I go to the doctor every time I get diarrhea. Of course I told him that I don’t, and he then asked me why I immediately bring Zane in for the slightest ailment. I had a very enlightening moment that day, and thanks to a veterinarian who cared more about keeping me happy than he did prying every penny out of me that he was able, I started saving a lot more money on trips to the clinic.

Looking back on those three visits to the vet with Zane I now realize that all three of them could have been avoided if I had known then what I know now. The diarrhea was just a case of an upset stomach and Zane was fine the next day after some pepto bismol. The limp was just due to over exertion while playing frisbee and we were sent home with the doggy equivalent of aspirin. The itchiness was due to a hike we took where we both encountered lots of mosquitos (I was probably just as itchy as him), and he was given some antihistamines that likely contained the same active ingredients as Benadryl. After visiting with my veterinarian for a while, and some research of my own I came up with this list to keep in my medicine cabinet. It’s become a quick reference for me whenever one of my dogs starts showing signs of discomfort. I’ve decided to share this list with all of you. Use at your own discretion and risk, and remember I’m in no way giving you medical advice because that’s not my profession. I’m merely sharing some of what I’ve learned from my own experiences with dogs.

Thanks for reading.


Feel free to print off a copy to keep on the refrigerator or in your medicine cabinet. A downloadable PDF will be listed below the images. (Click photos to enlarge)

It's important when training dogs to have a basic understanding of first aid.