, pub-1355929376209830, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0How to make the best choices for your dog's health - Puppy Small

How to make the best choices for your dog’s health

An interesting thought on an important topic

Today I would like to follow up on last week’s newsletter on the subject Why I like being an ‘undercover cop’”.

For most of us, the year 2020 has required extra effort to keep our spirits up. The pandemic, the election, the economy, fires, the weather, and a lack of opportunities to see those we love and care about have all taken their toll.

Our world is in shock, but it is also an opportunity to see how strong and resilient we are, and whether our immune systems are able to ‘weather the storm’ or not.

Last week I discussed the topic of achieving our goals, whether it be for our own lives or the goal of building a happier, healthier life for our dogs. There are 7.8 billion people on this planet, and each of us belongs to one of three categories:

1. People who have goals and dreams try to achieve them but fail repeatedly.

2. People who have achieved their goals and dreams, but unknowingly sabotage them.

3. People who no longer sabotage their lives and enjoy helping others achieve their goals and dreams.

You may have noticed that I didn’t mention luck, even though luck can play a role in some cases, but it is relatively rare. Often, children are not taught how to form the right habits and build the stamina to overcome obstacles. The fear of failure also plays a major role, and only those who are willing to take risks and make mistakes achieve their goals.

I must emphasize that people from group 3 are not better than the others from groups 1 and 2, they just discovered how to stop sabotaging their lives. They know that mistakes are part of success.

How does this apply to dogs?

At first glance it may seem that the health of our dogs is also a matter of good or bad luck. In fact, genes are only responsible for about 15% of their expression, while the rest depends heavily on it epigeneticswhich is the sum of internal and external factors outside the DNA that cause a particular gene to be turned on or off.

I have worked as a veterinarian for over 30 years and have had countless opportunities to witness self-sabotage, and I would like to share this one example:

“John” adopted a healthy, happy Labrador Retriever puppy, “Bailey,” that he had always dreamed of.

As time went on, Bailey became obsessed with chasing balls and Frisbees, and John had no idea that Bailey’s addiction would lead to skin and back problems, which started happening when Bailey was just three years old.

At the time, a well-meaning and caring friend told John that he might want to cut down on his ball and frisbee game, but John wouldn’t hear of it because he didn’t know what he didn’t know. know. He unknowingly sabotaged Bailey’s health by continuing to throw the ball and Frisbee for hours. After all, it was fun!

Bailey developed a severe skin infection and hot spots in the lumbar region. He also showed signs of stiffness and slowing. John didn’t understand that these symptoms were related and could have been prevented if he had listened to his friend, who knew skin problems and hot spots are often related to too much of one type of exercise.

Being a responsible dog lover, he took Bailey to the vet as soon as the hot spots occurred. The vet looked at Bailey, saw stiffness and skin problems and then prescribed antibiotics and painkillers, which is the conventional method of treatment.

It only took a few days for Bailey to recover, but the improvement did not last long. John decided to go to another vet, who also prescribed antibiotics and painkillers. This time Bailey’s condition did not improve much, and disappointed, frustrated and concerned, John decided to go to vet No. 3, who prescribed steroids and stronger painkillers.

From the outside, Bailey initially seemed better, but as time went on, his skin deteriorated again and he didn’t seem to have the spark he used to have. More vet visits and thousands of dollars later, Bailey was eventually diagnosed with kidney disease and elevated liver enzymes caused by all the painkillers and steroids.

The problems were never really resolved and the frequent courses of antibiotics and immunosuppressive steroids took their toll on his body. Bailey’s liver and kidney failure worsened and John had to say goodbye to Bailey when he was just eight years old!

But Bailey’s life was not lost in vain. Despite John’s heartbreak, he was now open to listening to his friend and also found a website where he could learn more about the association between skin disease and excessive unilateral exercise.

When he adopted his next dog, “Bodie,” he knew he wouldn’t repeat the same mistakes again…


I have witnessed stories similar to John’s a thousand times, and by sharing these with you I was able to allay my concerns about many dogs, as well as show you a practical example of “unconscious” sabotage of the health of a dog.

I’m sure John loved Bailey, he just didn’t know what he didn’t know, and wasn’t open to a well-intentioned suggestion from his friend at the time.

Is there a way we can avoid making mistakes with our dogs?

You know we can’t do that, but if we keep our minds open and keep learning, we’ll get better at making the right decisions. Similar to John’s case with his second dog Bodie, people usually learn and do much better with their second and third dogs. As a result, these dogs tend to live longer and healthier lives.

What you can do to skip learning the hard way.

This is actually my favorite part that I also apply when it comes to Pax, my dog. You can avoid making mistakes by reading and learning how to prevent health problems, choosing a vet you trust and sticking with them.

To increase your chances of choosing the right vet, read their online reviews and read this article how to choose the right vet.

Is it okay to ask for a second opinion?

Yes, there is a right time and place for second opinions. For example, when my mother’s doctor missed her gallbladder abscess, I knew something was wrong and insisted on getting a second opinion. If I hadn’t done that, she would have died.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of continuous self-study and learning, because while we must respect professionals, we should not trust anyone blindly simply because they have a medical degree.

It’s impossible not to make mistakes in life, but acquiring the right knowledge can take you and your dog straight to Group 3, allowing you to live a healthy and abundant life together.

© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

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