Dog Illnesses: Your Knowledge is the Best Medicine for Your Dog

You're concerned about your canine best friend. And since not all dog illnesses are serious, you want to know if your friend's health is at risk. That's how you arrived at You probably noticed your dog exhibiting symptoms of an unknown dog illness or injury. You may have already taken your dog to a veterinarian or you may be debating whether or not your dog's illness is serious enough to warrant professional medical attention.

The information on this web site is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your dog is in distress, CALL A VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY. How do you know if your dog is in distress?

Any of the following merits an urgent call to your veterinarian:

Uncontrolled bleeding
Excessive panting
Difficulty breathing
Deep wounds, even if there is no blood
Limping or inability to walk
Distended/bloated stomach
Swollen face
Shaking the head

In other words, if there is any doubt about whether or not your dog's condition or illness is serious, pick up the phone!

Granted, I am the first to tell you that not every dog injury or illness is life-threatening or serious. I have over 25 years of living with dogs—over 30 dogs to date—and have learned firsthand that not all dog problems are created equal. There are some doggie afflictions I will on occasion treat without consulting a vet. But this depends on the dog, the dog's health history and my red flag. Let me explain...

Learning to Recognize Red Flags

Several years ago on a Saturday evening, our white lab Rambo came into the house after a romp in the yard with a barely noticeable dark patch on his chest. If not for his white fur, I would never have noticed. I pushed aside the fur to examine the opening, which was fairly small. Yet the wound looked to be at least several inches deep.

I remember thinking, "How serious can it be if he isn't bleeding?" But then I saw a red flag waving in my mind's eye—code for "Warning! Warning!"—So we made an emergency trip to the vet, which may have saved Rambo's life.

Turns out, Rambo had a six-inch deep wound that barely missed his lung. He probably impaled himself jumping over the fence to my flower garden. It is not a coincidence that my handsome Rambo was named after a character in an action movie. Since he was a little pup, Rambo has felt it is his duty to live up to his name. Thanks to Rambo, I have learned a great deal about dog injuries and illnesses. My "action figure" is still with us today. His handsome photo is on this page!

The ability to see the red flag comes with experience. If you are a new dog owner, don't worry. You'll earn a red flag of your own with time and experience.

The purpose of this site is to provide you with a well-balanced perspective on a variety of dog health problems so that you can make the best possible decisions on behalf of your dog's health. Whenever possible, I will also direct you to additional reading or web sites. I believe the more you know, the more comfortable you will be with the decisions you make. You should NOT be visiting this web site if your dog is having a health crisis. This is the place for thoughtful research and evaluation, when time is not critical.

An Index of Dog Illnesses

The following illnesses or diseases are covered on this site. Check back often, as I will add more in the future. Just click on the condition you would like to explore. The guide for each condition includes a discussion of symptoms, causes and treatment options. I also share my experience, wherever applicable.
Bee Stings in Dogs
Canine Diarrhea
Canine Distemper
Canine Kidney Disease
Canine Pancreatitis
Diabetes in Dogs
Dog Arthritis Treatment
Dog Bloat
Dog Seizure
Dog Anxiety
Dog Skin Problems
Dog Stroke
Dog Tumors
Obesity in Dogs
Parvo Virus

Dealing with dog illnesses can be frightening. But speaking from experience, the more you know, the less frightening dog illnesses are. Knowledge is power. It is also the best medicine. So visit our pages, gather information and make an informed decision for your dog. Your best friend will thank you for your efforts!

› Dog Illnesses