Always write down healing instructions, and keep them

August 31, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

When your dog contracts a curable illness (such as an upset stomach) or is recovering from an accident, your veterinarian will give you instructions of things to do, and not do, to help ensure speedy and thorough healing.

If these instructions are fairly straightforward, you might be tempted to believe you’ll remember them, and don’t need to write them down. 

Don’t fall into this trap. Write these instructions down, every time, and repeat them back to your vet, to ensure accuracy. Then store them in a safe, convenient place.

Why should you do this? Because given the speed at which many of us work today, and the innumerable ways that our focus is distracted and diluted on a second-to-second basis, little details of what your vet said may get lost in the shuffle.  This is how mistakes get made – mistakes that may complicate your dog’s recovery, or make it more drawn-out.

It took a personal experience to wake me up on this issue

I know this from personal experience.  I made the mistake of giving Shayna some chicken casserole I made, which ended up causing her to vomit and experience diarrhea.  After my years of (what I thought were) obsessive care for her, I relied upon my memory to know what to do in cases like this: rice and chicken breast for the next 24 hours.  So I made up a pot of rice, cooked up some chicken breast, and that became her diet for the next 24 hours.

But her diarrhea didn’t stop.  That’s in part because I relied on memory, which was faulty.  Turns out the rice I turned to was brown rice – not white rice, which is what my veterinarian recommended.  Second, the amount of chicken breast I gave her (food and as a treat during training) was far in excess of what she should have had.

Fortunately, after I realized what I’d done, corrected it, and Shayna was on her way to recovery, I still scheduled an appointment with our vet to let him examine her.  And this time, I wrote down everything he said – including his answers to all my questions about the use of anti-diarrhea medication, probiotics, yogurt, liquids to help keep her electrolytes at a good level (Gatorade, Pedialite, etc.).  And I left his office feeling very confident that not only is she going to thoroughly heal in the shortest possible time, but that the next time this happens, I won’t have to rely on memory at all; I will just go to her file, and retrieve these instructions, and follow them to the letter.

There is no feeling like the assurance that one is doing right by one’s best friend – especially when that friend cannot verbalize what’s going on inside them when they’re sick.  And after picking a good vet, the best decision you’ll make is to write down everything he or she says about treating illnesses and any recurring issues your dog may face, to ensure you do the right things, in the right sequence, every time, without even having to think about it.


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