As a pet owner, at times you may experience great pain regarding your pet. When people post to social media their heartfelt tributes to their pets that have passed away, they affect me so profoundly that I have to quickly scroll by! Owning a pet is like wearing your heart outside your chest everyday. It is part of the beauty, and pain of being a pet-owner. And it can be devastating when your pet is sick.

Recently my own dog experienced some sort of infection. We came home from a day out and instead of bounding out to see us, tail-a-wagging, she sat trembling in her bed without getting up, ears slammed back. Her movements were slow and her eyes glazed. Unfortunately, she couldn’t tell us what was wrong.

The day before she rolled in some stinky food waste that I had hosed out of the garbage bin on to the grass. My guess is that she got some sort of food poison either from rolling in it, or even licking it. She was so lethargic that I immediately panicked. Of course, as luck would have it, my husband was out of town, and it was a Saturday night – the worst time to find a veterinary clinic open for business. I was beside myself and so were my kids.

Our pet is sick! What do we do?


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When we got her to the vet, he did blood tests and a variety of other pokes and prods, and simply recommended wet food to get her hydrated again. Fortunately, we stayed calm, and whatever it was worked itself out of her system within 24 hours. Like any dedicated pet owners, we were pretty distraught over the entire situation, but were thrilled when it all turned out positively.

There is never one way to handle things in a situation like this. If your pet is acting strangely and you are unsure what to do, here are a few tips to help cope:

Keep Calm – Because your pet can’t tell you what is wrong, keep calm and try not to jump to conclusions. While googling symptoms can be helpful, it is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a trained professional. There are often 24 hour clinics available for phone consultation, if not in-hospital visits.

Recognize the severity of the illness – While panicking doesn’t help, a lack of concern can also be problematic. Know your pet’s regular patterns and behaviors and if they are extremely different, act accordingly and seek prompt care.

Keep a safe environment for your pet – Make sure to keep your pet comfortable, and away from children or other pets until you can seek out an animal clinic. You never want to put your beloved pet, or others in your household, at risk.

It is never easy to see your pet feeling poorly. As their owner, you have to be their advocate. Keeping the pain and emotion controlled while you seek a solution, will help you with the outcome.

Scarlett Ballantyne

Scarlett Ballantyne is a freelance writer, makeup artist, designer, and business owner. Married with children, she is an active dance-mom of two teenage girls. When she isn’t chauffeuring kids around, she is passionate about photography, cooking healthy meals and Dancing with the Stars. Scarlett’s musings on parenting have been published on Scary Mommy and the Huffington Post Canada. You can also catch her sharing musings, beauty tips, mompreneur advice and photography on her blog, www.scarlettballantyne.com.

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