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Feb 05

Top 5 What NOT to Do for Your Sick Dog

Sick dogPhoto Credit: Garden State Hiker on Flickr

  1. Don’t give human medicines without the advice of a veterinarian. Although dogs and humans are quite similar in most aspects of their physiology, subtle differences do exist, and those differences can lead to tragedy if they are not addressed. Thus, many medications that are safe for humans are not safe for dogs. Even common over the counter medications can be a hazard. For example, Tylenol and Advil are two common human medications that are toxic to dogs. Tylenol is toxic to a dog’s liver and Advil is harmful to its kidneys. Even though it may seem logical to give your dog a particular human medication, it could be extremely toxic and cause your pet unnecessary suffering.
  2. Don’t give your dog milk. One might think that milk could calm an upset stomach, prevent dehydration, or provide nutrition, but milk may make matters worse. This is because adult dogs, like many adult mammals, are lactose intolerant. Stick with broth for a home remedy.
  3. Don’t assume that a cold wet nose means that your dog is healthy. A dog whose nose is warm and dry often has a fever; however, the dog could have a fever even if its nose is cold and wet, or it could need veterinary attention even if it doesn’t have a fever. Other symptoms such as lethargy, refusal to eat or drink, and any other abnormal behavior should be taken into consideration. Look at the whole picture to decide when to call the vet.
  4. Don’t wait for symptoms to develop if your dog has ingested something poisonous. My dogs, Athena and Zeus, chewed through a bottle of Tylenol once. It was especially inviting since it was candy-coated. I took them to the emergency vet hospital immediately where they received treatment. Had I waited until symptoms to develop it would likely have been too late; liver failure and death are common shortly after symptoms appear.
  5. Don’t panic. A clear head is essential to good decision making, which is what your dog needs from you in a time of crisis.
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