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Long term experienced dog owners - at what point doo you take dog to vet?

(24 Posts)
DogsMightFly Tue 10-May-16 08:03:45

Husband and I got our first dog last year. Every little sign of anything slightly wrong and I've taken her straight to the vet's. Diarrhoea, vomiting, ear infection, cough - even a slightly pink bottom which turned out to be the result of a bit of dried-on poo stuck in her fur I hadn't noticed blush I'm sure the vet must think I'm hysterical.

Yesterday I noticed she has a discharge in one eye. It is clear most of the time but has also been white creamy colour. She's not pawing at it, the eye isn't swollen or red. She's been sneezing as well.

My instinct is to get her straight to the vet. But I keep doing this with every little thing and I'm not sure with some things if I should wait it out a few days to see if they resolve on their own. I certainly should have done so when she had diarrhoea and another time when she had vomited, in hindsight.

I'm not bothered about the vet bills - I just want her healthy. What I am bothered about is I suspect I'm being an over the top protective pet owner.

I suppose this could be something as simple as seasonal allergies. My question to those of you who have had dogs for years is, at what stage do you make a judgement call to get your dog to the vets? Do you tend to go at any first sign of illness or wait a couple of days?

DogsMightFly Tue 10-May-16 08:04:49

Sorry about the 'doo' in my thread title! Obviously this should have been 'do'!

Wyldfyre Tue 10-May-16 08:11:43

It depends on what it is as to when we take them. D&V would only be if it had been continuous for more than 48 hours and they weren't taking on fluids.
As we have spaniels ear infections are common but if they don't clear up in 1-2 weeks (while being cleaned regularly and depending on the severity.
I'd bathe your dogs eye with salt water for a couple of days and if it doesn't clear up then go to the vets.
Also never use any human medication without checking with a qualified vet first

LetThereBeCupcakes Tue 10-May-16 08:23:07

As wyld said, you get to know what needs treatment for your dog.

Our boy used to suffer from awful ear infections that were a nightmare to shift. He was whisked off to the vet at the first sign of trouble (usually him cowering at the site of anything that looked like an ear drop bottle!)

Our girl has a very sensitive stomach and is a terrible scavenger, so if we took her to the vet every time she had diarrhoea we'd be bankrupt. We keep an eye and take her in if she gets dehydrated or anything.

I do remember what it's like having your PFB dog. In fact when our boy was a pup the first time I gave him peanut butter I drove to the vets and sat in their car park in case he had an allergic reaction! So long as you don't get as mental as that I think you're doing Ok. wink

LetThereBeCupcakes Tue 10-May-16 08:23:47

* sight, not site! blush

squeezed Tue 10-May-16 08:38:33

We would normally do 48 hours also with d & v, unless it was very severe. Having labradors means we're used to eating things they shouldn't and being sick though grin It does also depend on the dog. Our old boy was never ill so we took him to the vet when he didn't eat dinner and it turned out he was very poorly.

DogsMightFly Tue 10-May-16 09:29:25

Thank you for all your reassurances. And thank you so much for sharing your peanut butter story, Cupcakes - that makes me feel much better!

For the eye bathing in salt water, should this be a little salt in boiling water, allow to cool, then wipe over her eye with a cotton pad?

With the ear infections in your spaniels Wyld, how do you clean their ears at home? As 'maintenance' cleaning I wipe my dog's ears with a damp cotton pad once or twice a week. In the case of an actual infection, would you do this, say, daily and see how they get on?

And going back to the vomiting/diarrhoea thing, mine also loves eating random stuff - mainly wood bark and twigs, but also anything gross really. I'm really vigilent with stopping her doing this and am constantly aware in the garden and on walks, giving the drop it command constantly. In fact I don't let her in the garden on her own, even though it's secure, because I know she will eat twigs. But do you more experienced dog owners generally accept that's what dogs do and are more relaxed over it?

tabulahrasa Tue 10-May-16 14:43:18

Stomach upsets like everyone else says, I'd see after 48 hours (unless it was really obviously serious of course)

Eyes and ears...actually I do as soon as I'm sure there's an issue, eyes because they're so delicate and ears because if something gets a grip it can be a nightmare to get it shifted.

As for general debris chewing/eating yep I have a dog that can't be unsupervised in the garden for that reason.

By the way, I've had conversations with the vet about going down for what seems like every little thing (at the time it was a cat that was off colour for ages, but we couldn't work out what was actually wrong and no huge symptoms, turned out she was in fact seriously ill) and mine says - she never ever judges anyone for overdoing visits, it's people who don't go when they should that upset her because she could have helped them and didn't get the chance.

DogsMightFly Tue 10-May-16 17:00:04

Thanks Tabulah, that all makes me feel much better. It's reassuring that you supervise your dog in the garden as well.

I've wiped her eye a couple of times over the day and it's actually not looking as bad as it did first thing this morning. Not sure if that's because I've wiped the gunk away or if it's getting better! I'll see how it is in the morning and make a vet decision then.

puffylovett Wed 11-May-16 00:26:23

Glad I'm not the only one with peanut butter worries grin

Reetdiscreet Wed 11-May-16 01:01:28

Please don't use salt water to bathe her eye! Cool boiled water only, eyes are far too sensitive to use salt even in small amounts. I would bathe 3 or 4 times a day for a couple of days (unless it seems to be getting worse) before considering the vets although that approach has come with experience, I used to rush them there at the first sign of a problem too. It may well be an allergy, give it til Friday unless her symptoms worsen then you can still get her in before the weekend if you think she needs to go.

Noitsnotteatimeyet Wed 11-May-16 06:36:42

My dog has had a gunky eye for a couple of days- this is not infrequent for him as it seems to be his Achilles heel iyswim ... We used to rush him straight to the vet every time it happened and £££ later would be armed with a tube of cream and it would get better .,, we now leave it for a couple of days, bathing in cooled boiled water and using goldeneye cream (on the advice of a vet nurse friend). If it doesn't get better after a couple of days of that then we'd whisk him off to the vet as before but so far it's worked every time

Wyldfyre Wed 11-May-16 06:40:25

Aargh did I say salt water?! Reet's right! I mean boiled water

I am so sorry, I was half asleep at the time I wrote it.

note to self: don't post after a nightshift

DogsMightFly Wed 11-May-16 07:48:10

Don't worry, I didn't use salt water smile I didn't know what quantity or anything to use, so I just did boiling water, cooled, and wiped over her eye with a cotton pad.

This morning it's looking better than this time yesterday. She still has a little discharge, but not as much and it's not stuck to her eyelashes like yesterday, so I think it's reducing.

Thanks so much to everyone who replied. From now on I'm going to try to be slightly less anxious and monitor at home first with things like diarrhoea, vomiting, eye gunk and so on.

StarryIllusion Wed 11-May-16 10:07:08

We lost our Ddog just before xmas, she was 12. Generally I treated her like I would a child in that respect. If she had something minor wrong but was ok in herself then I'd give in a day or two to clear up on its own before going to the vet. Things like persistent coughing or rashes earned an immediate trip in case they were contagious but otherwise minor cuts and gunky eyes were washed out with salt water and allowed to heal. Salt water is the same as you would use for you or the kids. Just barely enough to taste it. Not on eyes though.

Use your instincts. If she is lethargic and uninterested/unresponsive to things she would normally be over the moon about then go straight away even if there is nothing you can put your finger on. Puking and diarrhoea get 48hrs to clear up unless she wasn't drinking. If it is a one off and you think you know what caused it, for example mine would occasionally get sneaked a sausage when I wasn't looking and since most dogs cant digest pork she would be ill. This I would ignore because I know why its happening and how long it will last and she would be fine. Anything dangerous like grapes, raisins, chocolate or onions would be instant vets as they are are very very toxic if enough is eaten.

Limping I used to leave 24hrs etc. I was quite relaxed really. I think after a year or two you get a feel for what normal is and you know when something isn't right. Bit like kids really.

Scuttlebutter Wed 11-May-16 10:57:45

We currently have four dogs, and have fostered etc so fairly experienced. Things I've become more relaxed about :-

D & V - will usually leave this for 23/36 hours to see if clears by itself(though monitoring hydration carefully).
Limping/strains etc - again, will usually just do reduced exercise for a couple of days and keep an eye on it.
Cuts/scrapes - more relaxed about small ones. Will make sure it's cleaned thoroughly and keep an eye on it.

Things I always take very seriously

EYES - don't bugger about with eyes. Things can go seriously wrong with them very fast - I would never hesitate to take in immediately.

Any suspicion of bloat.
Any suspicion of poisoning.
Lumps - get them looked at.

Pain - I had my thinking changed on older dogs by a very good vet a few years ago. He challenged me (in a nice way) not just to accept pain in oldies as an inevitable part of ageing, particularly in the context of arthritis.

Curiously, the importance of regular vet visits (even though this post is about reducing unnecessary visits). I really think regular check ups are so useful - it's an excellent habit to get into to systematically consider your dog's health and fitness. It also gets you into the habit of monitoring and thinking about what has changed - this can often be a useful "early warning" system. I also think it's useful to build the relationship with your vet - I regard our vet as a hugely trusted professional and I feel I can discuss our dog's health with her very easily, can ask questions, and can look further ahead at ethical choices/dilemmas (something we are wrestling with ATM with one of our oldies). It's also good to get your dog used to visiting the surgery and getting to know the vet/nurses in a non stressful way.

And lastly, as others have said, you'll get a feel for what's odd for your particular dog. We have previously had one with a super sensitive stomach - so very prone to runny after effects if he ate anything unusual. We have another who is v prone to pulling/straining muscles when he overdoes things on walks. Any behaviour that's really odd (suddenly v quiet, withdrawn, snappy) should be a red flag and it's worth getting checked out.

DogsMightFly Wed 11-May-16 15:33:41

Thank you Scuttle - that's all really sensible advice. I've actually booked her an appointment now for this evening.

DogsMightFly Fri 13-May-16 06:23:17

Hi everyone, just a quick update. Dog's eye didn't improve so I took her to the vet and she does have an eye infection.

Nothing major - the vet thinks a bacterial infection likely caused by a little scratch running through grasses or bushes.

The vet said it was absolutely the right thing to do to used boiled water cooled down and wipe with cotton pads. So thanks for all your advice everyone, really appreciate it. We now have eye drops for her.

orangeyellowgreen Mon 16-May-16 19:55:01

I take Dog to the vet on the same basis I take myself to the doctor, if it's been treated by over the counter medicine but hasn't cleared up or if Google says my symptoms are life-threatening.
Apply common sense.

Veterinari Mon 16-May-16 20:04:34

Cooled boiled tea (no milk obvs!) is good for eye or skin irritation as a first line treatment

DoodlesInTheHouse Mon 16-May-16 22:01:25

Glad it's been sorted. I was totally, embarrassingly PFB with our first dog. I cringe, looking back.

BeBopTalulah Wed 25-May-16 17:35:07

I bypassed Google and rushed my dog to the vet one day as I found a large hard swelling on his tummy - convinced he had terminal cancer. It had disappeared by the time we got to the vet, couldn't find it. When I described it to her, she smiled and said she knew exactly what it was, he was having 'a moment'. Yes, apparently neutered male dogs still have glands which swell when aroused...DH didn't know where to look.

Do not stress about taking your pet to the vet too often, especially for actual medical problems. I'm the woman who took her dog to the vet because he was horny confused

nellieellie Fri 27-May-16 20:05:54

Just wanted to add, cooled tea bags great for mucky eyes. Normal tea, or Camomile. Also colloidal silver is good for an eye infection, but if it doesn't clear in a few days, always go to vets, as you did. Eye infections can be nasty and cause damage if not treated.

insan1tyscartching Sun 29-May-16 13:49:55

Oh glad someone has asked this as I've just put off taking Eric to the vet,not least because he hates it and needs muzzling and I've put it off because he's got/had a sore mouth and would have to be sedated to allow the vet to look.
So on Friday he had a bone much like he usually does,we noticed Saturday he was licking the roof of his mouth,had a look but couldn't see anything.He was drinking as normal but would only eat soft food and refused his biscuit before bed so feeling anxious, Yesterday, he started eating normally but still didn't eat his biscuit and today he's eaten his biscuits so back to normal.
Neurotic me would most likely have taken him to the vets if it hadn't been Saturday and it wasn't his mouth though so what's the thinking on sore mouths (think he'd scraped his mouth on the bone) how long to wait and see.

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