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  • Welcome back!

    We decided to spruce things up and fix some things under the hood. If you notice any issues, feel free to contact us as we're sure there are a few things here or there that we might have missed in our upgrade.

Go To The Vet If...


Below is a list of ailments that must be treated or at least evaluated by a veterinarian.

Go to the vet (and contact your vet for further instruction) if:

… your dog ingested a known toxin

… your dog is exhibiting signs of allergic reaction
- swelling
- trouble breathing
- excessive panting
- hives
- redness associated with itching

… your dog is exhibiting signs of heat stroke
- excessive panting
- shaking
- inability to walk or stand
- vomiting
- lethargy
- diarrhea

… your dog is exhibiting signs of possible broken bones/torn ligaments
- limping
- favoring a leg
- crying during palpation
- odd gait

… your dog is exhibiting signs of bloat
- inability to get comfortable
- distended abdomen
- dry heaving
- trouble walking
- panting excessively
- trouble breathing
- increased thirst
- eating grass (coupled with other symptoms)
- anxiety
- roached back

… your dog is exhibiting signs of a possible foreign body
- inability to keep food/water down (vomiting)
- not defecating
- dry heaving
- distended/firm abdomen
- lethargy/inappetence

… your dog is having diarrhea for more than 1 or 2 days

… your dog has blood in its stool

… your dog is exhibiting joint or back pain

… your dog is exhibiting signs of seizure activity

- shaking/trembling
- confusion/disorientation
- excessive drooling
- inability to get comfortable
- paralysis
- loss of consciousness
- inability to walk or stand

… your dog is exhibiting signs of possible constipation
- tense abdomen
- vomiting
- straining to defecate
- lethargy/inappetence

… your dog is exhibiting signs of possible urinary tract or bladder infection
- red tinged or brown urine
- excessive drinking and/or urination
- straining to urinate
- lethargy

… your dog has discharge coming from the eyes/ears/nose

… your dog is exhibiting symptoms of kennel cough

- coughing excessively, after exercise, and/or upon laryngeal palpation
- lethargy
- feverish symptoms

… your dog has a lump or lumps

… your dog has a large gash or abrasion

… your dog has patchy fur or excessive dander

… your dog is exhibiting signs of infection

… your dog is not acting like itself

… your dog is exhibiting any of the above symptoms in any combination

You know your dog best. If you dog is not acting like itself, if something seems off, if you are worried about anything that some people may not worry about, there is nothing wrong with taking your dog to a professional for a physical evaluation.

This list is not all-inclusive. There are things I have missed. But for the most, these are things that no Internet genius can look at through the web and give you advice on. These are things that must be treated and/or evaluated by a licensed veterinarian. Some of these things are emergencies and cannot wait for Internet reply posts.

It is vital to know the contact information for and location of your local emergency veterinary hospital. They are probably not going to be your primary care facility, however, they will keep your dog stable until your vet has an appointment available or is open. Emergency hospitals will inform your primary care facility of your emergency visit, what they did, and their discharge instructions for you. It is usually recommended to follow up with your regular veterinarian after an emergency visit.

There are many effective methods for planning for unexpected trips to the vet:

Pet insurance (this list is in no order)
- VPI: http://www.petinsurance.com/
- Trupanion: Pet Insurance for your Dog or Cat – trupanion.com
- AKC: Pet Insurance Plans | AKC Pet Health Insurance for Dogs and Cats
- ASPCA: Pet Insurance for Dogs & Cats with ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
- 24PetWatch: Pet Insurance for Dogs and Cats in the United States - 24PetWatch Pet Insurance
- Embrace: Experience Better Pet Health Insurance with EMBRACE
- Pet Plan: Petplan Pet Insurance - The Best Pet Health Insurance Plans for Unexpected Veterinary Bills - Get a Free Quote!
- Purina Care: Pet Insurance | PurinaCare
- PetFirst: Pet Insurance for Dogs and Cats|PetFirst Healthcare

Care Credit: CareCredit Other Medical Procedures

Separate savings accounts for pet care

Please plan ahead so that cost is not a deciding factor is doing what is best for your dog’s healthcare.

It is recommended that dogs receive a physical exam by a licensed veterinarian at least once per year (twice or more frequently for aging animals or animals with conditions that need regular monitoring). Vets do not tell you this because they want your money. They tell you this because dogs age much more quickly than people, and one year in a dog’s life takes an exponential toll on its body, especially as they age. It is better to catch issues early by having regular physical exams than to have to come across it in an acute or emergency setting.

If you do not have a regular veterinarian, here is a good place to start: American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Hospital Search
Only about 15% of animal hospitals in the US and Canada are AAHA accredited. It is a higher standard of veterinary care. I would look there first if you don't currently have a vet that you trust to care for your animal.

I compiled this list with only my own knowledge, education, and experience. Please feel free to add any information I may have missed and apply your own input regarding any of these topics. Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, nor do I claim to be one. I just would like if people could find this information here and possibly save their dogs life by going to the vet instead of posting on the internet when time is crucial (ingestion of toxins, bloat, heat stroke, foreign body, etc.). In some cases, minutes can mean life or death for your dog.


Good Dog
I think this should be a sticky. Very informative. Also has some very useful links to pet insurance and credit care.


I just need to update this to say one thing:

When a dog is limping, it means it is in pain. Dogs limp because it hurts too much, for any reason, to walk on that leg. There are infinite causes for limping; the most common include bruises, cuts/scrapes on the paw pads, blistered pads, strained/pulled muscles, CCL tears, hip dysplasia, patella luxation, elbow luxation, shoulder strain, arthritis, fractures, osteosarcomas, nail bed infections, broken nails... the list goes on.

Please. If your dog is limping, take it to the vet. It is in pain, no matter how it acts.


Good stuff!
I think your informations are wonderful for the caring and insurance of your puppy.Thanks for such kind of wonderful things.

#1 stunner

Good Dog
I myself wonder how anyone ( except those who are vets or experienced in the field), who has a dog displaying any (or more then one) of the above symptoms would even hesitate about taking them to the vet...scary thought!


In cases of acute toxin ingestion or contact:

Pet Poison Helpline: 800-213-6680 ($39)
What to do if your dog or cat is poisoned:

  • Remove your pet from the area.
  • Check to make sure your pet is safe: breathing and acting normally.
  • Do NOT give any home antidotes.
  • Do NOT induce vomiting without consulting a vet or Pet Poison Helpline.
  • Call Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680.
  • If veterinary attention is necessary, contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic immediately.
Detailed Instructions:

  1. Immediately remove your pet from the area, and make sure no other pets (or kids!) are exposed to this area. Safely remove any remaining poisonous material from their reach.
  2. Check to make sure your pet is breathing normally and acting fine otherwise.
  3. Collect a sample of the material, along with the packaging, vial, or container, and save it – you will need all that information when you talk to your veterinarian or to a Pet Poison Helpline expert.
  4. Do NOT give your dog any milk, food, salt, oil, or any other home remedies! Also, never inducing vomiting without talking to your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline – it may actually be detrimental or contraindicated to induce vomiting!
  5. Don’t give hydrogen peroxide to your pet without checking with a vet or with Pet Poison Helpline first. For you cat lovers, hydrogen peroxide doesn’t work well to induce vomiting (it just causes massive foaming and salivating instead!), and stronger veterinary prescription medications are necessary to get your cat to vomit up the poison Kitty ingested!
  6. Get help. Program your veterinarian phone number, along with an ER vet and Pet Poison Helpline’s phone number (800-213-6680) in your cell phone so you will always have immediate access to help.
Keep in mind that the prognosis is always better when a toxicity is reported immediately, so don’t wait to see if your pet becomes symptomatic before calling for help. It’s always less expensive, and safer for your pet for you to call immediately. Remember that there’s a narrow window of time when we can decontaminate (induce vomiting or pump the stomach) in the case of a poisoning!
What to do if Your Dog or Cat is Poisoned - Emergency Instructions

ASPCA: (888) 426-4435 ($65)
Be ready with the following information:

  • The species, breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved.
  • The animal's symptoms.
  • Information regarding the exposure, including the agent (if known), the amount of the agent involved and the time elapsed since the time of exposure.
  • Have the product container/packaging available for reference.
Please note: If your animal is having seizures, losing consciousness, is unconscious or is having difficulty breathing, telephone ahead and bring your pet immediately to your local veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic. If necessary, he or she may call the APCC.
Be Prepared

Keep the telephone number of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center—(888) 426-4435—as well as that of your local veterinarian, in a prominent location.
Invest in an emergency first-aid kit for your pet. The kit should contain:

  • A fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide, 3 percent USP (to induce vomiting)
  • A turkey baster, bulb syringe or large medicine syringe (to administer peroxide)
  • Saline eye solution
  • Artificial tear gel (to lubricate eyes after flushing)
  • Mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid (for bathing an animal after skin contamination)
  • Forceps (to remove stingers)
  • A muzzle (to protect against fear- or excitement-induced biting)
  • A can of your pet's favorite wet food
  • A pet carrier
Always consult a veterinarian or the APCC for directions on how and when to use any emergency first-aid item.
ASPCA | What To Do If Your Pet Is Poisoned