What do you do when you have a health emergency for your dog?
This is even more of a worry during the COVID-19 pandemic … when you can’t go into the clinic with your dog.
Instead, you hand over your pet and your credit card … and wait patiently in the car for updates. It’s a frightening experience – for you and your dog! And fear can lead to bad decision-making.
I’ve heard some horror stories.
I was distraught to hear of clients choosing unnecessary euthanasia. Or agreeing to costly procedures … only to see no improvement, even after hours or days of hospitalization.
Sometimes the calls were even worse .. when I learned an animal died during a diagnostic procedure.
Finding the right fit for a veterinarian is hard enough. But to have limited options in crisis situations … is the worst feeling of powerlessness for a dog owner.
So I want to give you some information that’ll help you make decisions.
When your dog is sick, should you head to the ER or keep her at home?
Start with some detective work.
Being A Detective
The most important tool you have is your own intuition.
You can do a lot to be a detective and get in tune with your animal. You don’t need a stethoscope … or medical knowledge … to tune in.
This is best done in nature with absolutely no distraction.
You can use your front or back yard examination skills. Really investigate the body. Watch your dog as you palpate different areas. She’ll tell you a lot with her expression and dog body language.
What To Look For
Think about these types of questions …
- Is it a tummy issue or a back issue or both?
- Is her mouth sore and can you examine it?
- Is the lameness from a thorn in the paw?
- Or is it from an insect bite or nerves from the neck?
- Is the belly issue from nerves from the back since a fall?
- Or from the garbage she found in the gutter?
Teach your dog to trust you … so you can learn to trust yourself in these moments. Your dog CAN talk to you … but you may not always be listening. Or you’re just too distracted.
When you’re trying to find out what’s wrong with your dog … don’t be afraid to use a muzzle when needed. Your safety is critical … and you have to be fearless. Your dog may fear-bite if she’s traumatized or has severe pain.
Consider preparing for these occasions with some positive muzzle training for your dog!
Try not to make decisions based on fear.
Too often we think we have no choices. But really we’re absorbing others’ energy instead of grounding ourselves.
So … if you do go to the emergency vet, I always recommend taking another person with you.
Pick a friend or family member who can be more objective. Discuss an advocacy plan before the clinic sees your dog.
Your friend can help you ask questions … which are easy to forget when you’re worrying about your dog.
You need to know the risks and benefits of procedures and treatments. And costs versus benefits too!
Getting Prompt Treatment
Remember … ER doctors are trained primarily to diagnose. And they learn to paint the grimmest picture! Pet insurance and liability instill this in them.
I’ve often heard of animals waiting hours and hours for any therapy. Meanwhile the clinic is just organizing and prioritizing diagnostics!
Obviously … a diagnosis that may kill an animal is not a good investment.
So the best thing you (and your advocate) can do is to ask very pointed questions:
- Do you think this is a useful or helpful test … with little to no risk?
- What is the minimum we can do to get some answers … so we can start medical therapy and observe my dog’s response?
- What would you do if this were your animal … especially if money was a real concern?
- Are the diagnostics likely to change your treatment recommendation? (If not, why put your dog through it?)
These are important questions … whether you have disposable funds or not.
Many diagnostics come with great risk. Insist on full informed consent.
Research shows that most people view their pets as family members. Yet less than 1% have pet insurance.
Having a financial plan in place is crucial.
- Insurance often does pay off in a crisis. But many insurance plans don’t cover holistic treatments … and I don’t think any cover homeopathy.
- Credit companies like CareCredit and Scratchpay can be amazing options for urgent situations. Or check out other lenders like GraceLoanAdvance.
- Consider GoFundMe accounts for animals. They can (and do) easily raise sizable amounts rapidly. Many of my clients have seen miracles when they shared their pet’s story. But some use pride as an excuse not to ask.
- There also are some great subsidizing non-profits that deserve research as well. Some are created specifically for pet emergency situations.
Preparing For Emergencies
This may sound impossible. But there are some ways to prepare for emergencies.
- Become familiar with issues common to your dog’s breed.
- Consider your dog’s lifestyle. Is she super-active, into hiking, or a lover of water sports? Think ahead.
- Avoid overheating. For very active dogs … or short-snouted dogs, carry a thermometer with you. And know how to use it. Brachycephalic dogs can’t physically get oxygen exchange easily. So they can get heatstroke extremely quickly. Rapid cooling options are key in these situations.
- Ask your vet to provide you with subcutaneous fluids to keep at home.
Dehydration and toxicity are debilitating Every pet owner should have a bag of fluids on hand … and learn how to give them. They’re life-saving in so many situations.
You can watch YouTube videos to learn how to give sub-Q fluids. If you’re just too needle-phobic, get the name and number of a mobile vet technician who can assist.
Caution: sub-Q fluids are rarely contraindicated, except in congestive heart failure cases. Ask your vet if you’re not sure you should use them.
Of course, when it comes to prevention … choosing holistic options is key.
- Choose natural flea, tick and heartworm prevention and parasite control
- Avoid over-vaccinating and use titers instead
- Feed, organic fresh food and clean water
- Give your dog a healthy lifestyle with lots of grounding outside. Regular sunshine and exercise are important.
These are simple, easy prevention tools to keep your dog out of the ER.
But there’s one more thing I want to stress. That’s the electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation all around us.
Most pet owners don’t think about the electric smog of non-ionizing radiation from…
- Bluetooth devices
- Wi-Fi routers
- Cordless phones
- Smart meters
Reducing EMF radiation at home is crucial for prevention. It’s especially important in rooms where your dog spends most of her time..
EMF exposure can trigger and increase conditions like …
- Autoimmune disease
- Endocrine issues (especially thyroid)
- Heart problems
- Infections of all kinds
Please get informed about these risks. Dr.Erica Mallory Blythe has the most in-depth information about EMFs. Learn how this oxidative stress can lead to many life-threatening ER situations.
So, if you do have an emergency situation with your dog … what should you do?
Do You Need the ER?
There are a few life-threatening situations where homeopathy can help. Sometimes this means giving remedies while you’re driving to the ER clinic.
I recommend having a homeopathic first aid kit on hand … and your homeopath on speed dial! These remedies can be lifesaving … especially if you live in a remote area and can’t get to the ER quickly.
Prepare for first aid emergencies for your dog, Check out DNM University’s Acute Canine Homeopathy Certification course
I love homeopathy because it’s the fastest medicine I know. These are just some examples of situations where homeopathy helped my clients avoid the ER.
Emergencies You Can Handle At Home
These are some common emergencies homeopathy helps with.
Caution: Make sure to call your homeopath or holistic vet. You need to use the right remedies – and fast!
GI issues and pancreatitis are two of the most common reasons dogs go to the ER! Both are avoidable in many cases. Underlying issues may still progress, but homeopathy is a great first line of defense.
- Gastrointestinal pain and cramping. You can almost always resolve this with homeopathy … even severe GI bleeding. This has a 50/50 survival rate in ER hospitals.
- Pancreatitis: Homeopathy can rapidly resolve, and subcutaneous fluids help along with sublingual B vitamins.
Caution: in some acute pancreatitis cases, your dog may need hospitalization and IV fluids.
- Trauma (unless it’s severe). Homeopathy, ozone and topical poultice application can resolve many cases.
- Joint injuries and pain. You can learn to palpate to find where the pain is … and homeopathy can be life-saving.
- Disc or ligament issues. High potency homeopathy, along with VOM chiropractic care and ozone, have 100% success. Surgery is never needed in my experience!
- Pyometra. Most can be resolved with homeopathy if it’s open pyo (meaning pus is releasing).
But … if you can’t reach your homeopath or holistic vet … play it safe and go to the ER clinic.
Head To The ER In These Life-Threatening Situations
- Anaphylaxis. Usually an allergic reaction to drug, vaccine, bite or sting.
- Profuse bleeding, Internal or external. Make sure you know how to check your pet’s gums. If they’re pale, your dog needs emergency help.
- Colic or bloat. This is usually a kibble-fed dog phenomenon. I love the remedy Carbo vegetabilis for this! But head to the ER and give it on the way, just to be safe.
- Overheating/heatstroke. Go to the ER when your dog can’t cool down or regulate her body temperature
- Collapse. Check your dog’s gums immediately. This could be related to heart issues/spleen issues/bowel perforation/closed pyometra
- Can’t breathe, respiratory distress. Your dog may be choking. Look for bluish gums.
- Hit by a car. Even if your dog seems OK, you always need to rule out internal bleeding and head trauma.
- Any severe trauma. This includes eye trauma, fractures, dislocations, lacerations, severe bite wounds.
- Uncontrolled seizures.
- Pain, severe and unresolved.
- Severe diarrhea and/or vomiting. You need to rule out poisoning or the presence of a foreign body.
- Xylitol poisoning. Learn how to avoid accidental exposure to this common sweetener that’s deadly to your dog. Gum, dental products and marinating sauces are likely the most common exposures. Supervise your dog around purses, counters and parties!
- Urinary blockage. Avoidable with fluids and homeopathy at early signs … but go to the ER if in doubt. (Note: if you have a cat, male cats are at especially. high risk).
- Closed pyometra. If your dog isn’t releasing pus, she needs veterinary care.
- Mouth pain. This may need a skilled vet or require anesthesia for close examination.
A note about mouth pain. Learn to look in your dog’s mouth and really investigate regularly. So many vets don’t do thorough oral exams. Many horrible things can be missed (tumors, fractured teeth, etc).
Many acute arthritis or severe pain cases can stem from severe dental infections! These can be treated with homeopathy and other safe methods. They don’t require toxic medications or antibiotics. These drugs destroy the microbiome, creating a worse boomerang effect. An invasive toxic medication roller coaster is not the answer!
Get informed, get prepared.
- Decide and commit to a pet savings account or pet insurance
- Investigate vets and nearby clinics
- Get a homeopathy kit and invest in some first responder education as well. Or make sure you have a relationship with a good homeopath you can call in emergencies.
- Start keen observation and detective work for each of your animals. Fur can hide a lot!
- Write down some questions for the ER vet now as a reminder. Put them in your phone under your preferred clinic contact info
If it’s a true emergency …
- Grab a calm friend as an advocate
- Use homeopathy on the way to the ER clinic.
- Make notes for your ER vet
Remember, urgent situations don’t need a knee-jerk reaction. Your dog deserves keen intuitive regular attention as well.
So … don’t ignore signs and symptoms until they’re convenient. Do not let a chronic issue creep up and become an emergency.
Let’s save the ER for true emergencies!