Before You Rush To the Vet….


Wondering what to do when your dog is sick? We’re here to help!

When our pets our sick, we want to do all we can to make them feel better.  Of course, there is no substitute for the care of a what to do when your dog is sickveterinarian, however knowing the symptoms of common illnesses and when it is time to go to your veterinarian can make all the difference in your pet’s health.  There are some ways to evaluate, diagnose and treat certain conditions at home that will save you time and money, not to mention save your pet from any pain and discomfort.

Begin by checking your pet’s coat on a regular basis.  Look for dandruff, flaky or dry skin, and of course, fleas.  A good way to see if your pet has fleas is to brush their coat over a white paper towel.  If any black specks show up, moisten the paper towel and see if there are any red streaks when you smear them.  The best way to remove the fleas from their coat is to use a fine-toothed flea comb that you dip in a bowl of soapy water after each combing.  The fleas will drown in the water as the soap holds them under so they can’t jump out.

Without taking your pet to the vet, call their office and ask about the best treatment for fleas. Whatever treatment is used, follow instructions and label directions carefully, as less is more. All flea-control products are poison and can harm your dog, if not used properly.  If you have other pets in your home, they need to be treated as well.

Unfortunately, your dog can pick up a wide range of parasites from the soil and other infected animals whether you realize it or not.  Knowing the difference between all the types of worms or parasites makes all the difference when it comes to treatment.  The best remedy is prevention by cleaning up right after your dog defecates and do not let them drink from streams, lakes or ponds.

A preventative treatment for fleas and ticks including heartworm is always a good idea.  Symptoms of worms include diarrhea, vomiting or lethargy that can indicate a variety of conditions.  This is when it is important to get a stool sample tested for a definitive diagnosis to determine the best course of treatment.

Mange is something we have all heard of but may not understand fully what it means. Mange is a word used to describe a wide range of mites that can take up residence in your pet’s coat.  Trouble can start when the mites populate out of control on a dog with a compromised immune system.  Your veterinarian will gently scrape off some of the layers of your pet’s skin and examine it under a microscope to see if mites are present before recommending the appropriate treatment.

Obesity has become a serious problem in the pet world, not just with us humans.  It is up to us to help our pets lead a healthy lifestyle for a long, happy life.  When they are active, they are healthy.  Ask your veterinarian for a healthy food option that will not pack on the pounds and take your dog for a walk every day.  It can be a bonding experience and something you can both look forward to.

When our pets are ill, we will do just about anything to speed up the healing process.  Plus there are many things we can do at home when it comes to prevention, food, exercise and good health.  However there are times when you simply must take your pet to the vet.  Either way, it is up to us to take care of these pure, loving souls.

Reviewed and approved by Dr. David L. Roberts, DVM

Photo:  Courtesy of thomas.barker via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Sherry is a Nutritionist, Writer, National Speaker, Ghostwriter of books for Natural Medicine Doctors and an Author of 2 healthy cookbooks. She is a Nationally Certified Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer in Pilates, Yoga, Body Pump, STEP and Aerobics with over 20 years experience. She served as the On-Air Nutritionist for QVC television in the United States and the UK and hosted her own weekly “Healthy Living” segments for PBS. Sherry is passionate about helping animals and worked with “Helping All Animals” in Palm Springs, CA. in their rescue efforts, and is a member of the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States. Her experience working as a Veterinarian’s Assistant for many years’ aids in her passion for helping animals lead healthy and happy lives. For more information on Sherry, visit or write to Sherry at - call 517.899.1451