If your dog is seriously sick or injured, your vet will be your best ally in returning him to health. It’s important that you give your vet as much information as you can, though – the more detailed and accurate information you can provide, the faster your vet can make a diagnosis and get your dog the proper treatment. Before you pick up the phone, make note of this important information.
Describe your dog’s symptoms with as much detail as possible. If your dog is vomiting or has digestive upset, describing the consistency and color of the vomit or stool can give vets valuable diagnostic information.
Length of Time
Make note of when symptoms first began. If your dog is experiencing symptomatic episodes, like seizures or intermittent vomiting, try to note how long the episodes last and how much time passes between them.
As you watch your dog, determine whether his symptoms have gotten worse or stayed the same. Tell your vet about any changes, whether they seem to be positive or negative.
Dietary or Environmental Changes
Did you recently walk your dog in a different area? Take him on a trip? Start feeding him a new food? Introduce him to a new neighbor’s dog? All of these seemingly minor factors can play into your dog’s diagnosis.
Watch for any changes in your dog’s normal character, and report them to the vet. Unusual lethargy in particular is a red flag and should be reported immediately.
In addition to describing the dog’s symptoms, it’s important to alert the vet to any treatment methods that you’ve tried on your own, like feeding a bland diet or administering medication you have on hand. These treatments may affect the treatment methods that the vet is able to use.
A Note About Heat Stroke
Heat stroke requires immediate treatment, and you need to cool your dog down right away before you call the vet. In the case of heat stroke, a dog’s temperature rises dangerously to 104 degrees or higher. Prompted by overexposure to high heat, heat stroke typically exhibits a number of alarming signs in dogs, such as heavy panting, bright red mucous membranes, thick saliva, vomiting, imbalance, and even collapse. Left untreated, heat stroke can result in death.
If your dog is suffering from heat stroke, move him into a cooler place immediately. If his temperature is above 104 degrees, wet him with cool water and put him in front of a fan. Don’t use ice water – it will cool your dog’s temperature too quickly and can be fatal. Instead, place ice packs around your dog’s body and head, monitor his temperature until it drops below 104 degrees, and stop the cooling treatment at that time. Putting rubbing alcohol on the pads of your dog’s paws can also help to cool him. You’ll want to get your dog to drink water slowly as well. Immediately call your vet for further advice and treatment.
The more information that you can give your vet, the better he or she can help your dog and have him back to feeling great again quickly.