Keeping our dogs healthy and happy is something we have to take an active role in. Unable to speak or read, our dogs don’t know that some things are bad for them, and can’t tell us that they don’t feel well. Throw in factors like dogs instinctually hiding pain based on their genetic ancestry, and the fact that dogs, like people, have different tolerances for pain; and you can see why we need to take a proactive role in our dogs health.
My late dog Sundown, is an example of one end of the spectrum. Sundown was a tri-colored Australian Shepherd that never yelped once in the sixteen and a half years that I had her. When she was about 3, I came home from work one day and let her in the house. She trotted in happy to see me giving me one of her trademark Aussie smiles. I walked into the kitchen and grabbed a drink out of the fridge. When I turned back around to look at her, I noticed there was blood all over the floor, then I noticed there was something hanging from the bottom of her mouth, it was her skin. She had been in a fight with a groundhog and although she won the war she lost a battle. If it weren’t for the fact that it was a visable wound that bled; I would not have known that anything was wrong. She ruptured her ACL twice in her life and although you could tell from the limp, her demeanor never changed.
Gavin, my current Aussie, is a good example of the opposite end of the spectrum. He limps if you clip his toenails. My wife and I always joke about Gavin being the dog of the future because he will evolve. He is very cautious about new things and will show the slightest bit of pain.
Having dogs at both ends of the spectrum, has made me aware that I need to be alert for subtle changes in my dogs behavior that may be a sign that something is wrong.
The following list of resources are aimed at keeping you informed about the things you need to know to keep your dogs happy and healthy.
- Healthypet.com – Developed by the American Animal Hospital Association
- Petside.com – Lots of useful information including a symptom checker for dogs and cats.
- AVMA.org – American Veterinary Medical Association
- ThePetCenter.com – ThePetCenter.com is committed to enhancing the quality of life for dogs and cats by educating pet owners.
- PetMD.com – Although this site is still in beta, it looks like it is going to have a HUGE amount of health information, including an alpahbetical list of symptoms.
- animalhealthchannel.com – Veterinarian-developed and -monitored animal health and behavior information written for consumers. Comprehensive condition and treatment information plus videos and a searchable directory of veterinarians.
- 1800PetMeds.com – Online Pet Pharmacy
- DoggedHealth.com – Your Dog Health Authority
- purinacare.com – Pet Health Insurance offered by Purina
- petinsurance.com – VPI Pet Insurance
- Petplan – Advertised as the world’s largest pet insurance provider.