My pooches are just as much a part of the family as my other half and I, so it’s heart breaking to know they are in pain (or think they are in pain). So many times I wish my dogs could tell me what’s wrong so I can avoid £100 for a quick visit to the vets to be told all is OK.
After being a dog mama for almost a decade, I have learnt a few things you can do if your pup isn’t feeling good.
This might sound like common sense, but all of these are easily preventable with over the counter medication that can be bought in supermarkets, online, or at normal pet stores. Buying these treatments from the vet adds a large sum to the bill. I usually medicate my dogs every couple of months as apposed to every month. That's just my preference though. I worm them every si months.
Signs your pooch is stressed can be vast; change in appetite, tail between the legs, ears back, shaking, no interest in toys or playing, things that would usually excite them. This can be due to an environmental change— maybe you moved house, maybe you had a baby or introduced a new pet, maybe something traumatised them in the park. Rescue Remedy for humans can also be used on dogs. A couple of drops on their tongue or in their water to ease their stress. We also use Adaptil plugins when we move house and we used Adaptil spray on my pug's bed when we got our bull terrier puppy two years ago. Again, buy online to avoid high prices from the vet. The plugins and sprays release pheromones similar to those that a mother dog would release. They help calm your pup, and the best part is that we can't smell them! So it won't disrupt the usual odour of your home (Mine always smells like dog anyway).
If your dog throws up because they ate something gross in the park, ate their food too fast, or ate a whole bunch of grass (my two do all three of these things frequently), there is no need to worry. Just like with humans, if you eat too much and puke once, you don't rush to the emergency room.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, if your dog cannot stop vomiting, or has uncontrollable diarrhoea (I am going to be so unfazed by kids after dealing with dogs) then that is a cause for concern and you should immediately contact your vet.
If your dog just has a bit of an upset tummy, maybe they have been sick a couple of times, or have inconsistent bowl movements, try activated charcoal. It settles dogs' bellies and stops them vomiting. Our bully had a bad stomach for the first year we had him. If you also have problems like this, it is likely the diet you are feeding them. Shop bought kibble and canned meat is not often the best thing for our beloved pets, filled with colourants and additives. Search for a purer, more natural option like a raw or grain free diet. Also, try adding salmon oil to their food (this helps with their gut and also keeps their coat shiny).
Allergy treatment for dogs can be mindnumpingly expensive. Apoquil, greenly prescribed by the vet is up to £100 for 60 tablets. These also have nasty side effects. Dogs can take human allergy medication like Benadryl and Piriteze, just make sure you consider their size compared to you when giving them the pill.
We also used natural allergy treatment from VioVet which I bought online for £30. It comes in pellet form and you add a spoonful to pooch's food in the morning and evening for a couple of weeks. It cleared his stomach rash from seasonal allergies and didn't come with a huge bill or nasty side effects!
It can be scary and upsetting when your fur baby gets sick, especially because they can't tell you what's wrong. If you are truly worried, contact your vet for advice, and always look for warning signs and changes in behaviour. Refusing to eat or drink entirely, raised heartbeat and hyperactivity, on the opposite side becoming more sluggish and seemingly 'depressed,' continuous vomiting and diarrhoea or anything that is bleeding and won't stop, call for immediate medical advice.