New Dog, Who Dis?

New dog handlers are often looking for information about simple care for their dog. And just like information for humans, there are conflicting opinions and articles about everything! Just have this conversation about pet food - grain or no grain - with another pet owner. You’ll have different opinions, even if you agree. So, where can one get information?

I suggest your veterinarian. If it is someone you and your dog like, go right to the expert. And I have gotten some of the best advice from the skilled vet techs I have met over the years. Ask them, too. Doing your own research can be challenging because of ALL the information on the internet. Again, you will find conflicting everything. Hopefully, you use some good skills when you play Dr Google for yourself. just apply those skills to your pet, too.

Pet food recalls happen regularly. I want to mention this because food and diet are an important connection to overall health. The FDA lists them regularly (*while the federal government is shutdown, this list may not be complete / recalls may not happen). The American Veterinary Medical Association also has a list of recalls for pet food, treats, and products.

Finding websites to trust can be tough. Some veterinarians have their own blog or resources on their page. I like those because someone I know and trust added this information. When I am reading websites for pet information, I look for things written by veterinarians or animal professionals. I don’t like to rely on forums. Sometimes there is great information from a lay person, but follow up, do some homework to be sure it’s accurate. One site I like is VETSTREET.COM. They have pretty comprehensive information, most of it is written by vets. However, even this site has sponsors. Keep that in mind in your searching.

Human medications and dog medications are often the same ingredients with varying doses. Again, talking to a veterinarian is your first line of information. Once you know your pet and some basic information, you can keep a first aid kit of your pet handy.

Neosporin or an antibiotic for little cuts or scrapes is a good start. The less smelly your cream, the better. You don’t want a lot of licking and if your pup is licking the scrape, leave the cream off or cover it (use a sock, cone of shame, etc).

Another must have in our pet kit is Benadryl. Claritin and Zyrtec are okay, too. I had a dog with allergies that probably couldn't have lived without his allergy medication. And I’ve had dogs get stung by a bee or fire ants and a little Benadryl helps in those situations. Talk to your vet next time you visit and ask what an appropriate dose would be for your friend, then keep some in your kit.

Sometimes dogs have belly issues. Pepcid was given to my pup that had allergies because those same allergies would upset his skin and his belly. Along with some basic diet adjustment or additions until a bellyache is resolved, a little bit of medication is helpful. The dose depends on your dog's size, so get guidance from your vet’s office when the need arises.

Keeping a pet friendly first aid kit is a smart way to be prepared. Knowing what, how much, and when to administer medications to your dog is a good first step in simple care. Do a little pre-emergency research so you don’t have to become Dr Google and worry if your source is reliable.