Infections, Broken Bones, And Vet Bills, Oh My!

vet blog

At this point, I am considering creating a GoFundMe account to pay for veterinarian bills (ha!). My future husband cracks the humorous joke that our local vet is slowly becoming our second home.

Here’s a brief synopsis of all that has happened over the past month:

Jackson

sick jacksonIf you have read my previous blog posts, you know that Jackson endured a stint in doggy hospital. He was deemed to have a stomach infection, which had caused his heart rate to sky rocket to 250. It was a very scary moment because they were initially unsure of what was causing this problem. But after a few hours, they determined the cause.

Thankfully, after a full 24 hours hospitalized and plenty of medications, Jackson fully recovered.

Tucker

We adopted Tucker, who you read about in my most recent post, exactly one week and one day ago. The night we brought Tucker home, we recognized odd behavior. He wasn’t playing, he was breathing heavily, and he wasn’t using the bathroom regularly. So, we took him to the vet. Turns out, switching dog food had upset his stomach. A round of sick tuckermedication and a strict diet of only boiled chicken cured this issue.

Friday, we visited the vet once again to procure Tucker’s first round of vaccinations. This was a normal, planned trip.

However, last night we visited the vet again. Tucker had fallen off the bed yesterday morning and had continued limping throughout the day. After a quick Google search, we learned that if a dog won’t put any pressure on the foot at all, it could mean that there is a break. After about thirty minutes at the vet, we learned that he had fractured his tibia. Poor Tucker is now sporting a stint and a cone for five weeks.

Talk about a rough start, am I right?!

What I Have Learned

First and foremost, I learned that caring for two dogs (especially when these dogs hit a round of bad luck) is difficult and expensive. It has been far more challenging that I ever dreamed, but I am thankful that both of my pups are alive and well.

Since I’ve had plenty of experience with vet visits recently, I wanted to provide some things that I have learned for you:

1. CareCredit is a lifesaver.

CareCredit is a credit card that you can obtain specifically for your pet. During this process, we procured this credit card. Vet bills can add up and this is a handy tool to help!

Note: If you pay off the charges within 6 months of them being applied, no interest will be charged.

2. Pet Insurance may be a good idea.

Jackson has been with me for nearly two years and I never thought pet insurance is a good idea. However, I recently learned that you can obtain pet insurance for $25 a month. Some insurance plans will cover 80% of the treatment, while you pay a deductible and the remaining 20%.

If that doesn’t sound great to you, ask me how much I’ve paid in vet bills over the past month or so!

3. Trust your gut.

The day that Jackson got sick (the stomach infection), I was about to leave for church. The church I planned on attending that day was one hour away, and I planned to spend a good amount of time in that town. However, something in my gut told me that Jackson wasn’t okay.

And thank God I listened. So, if your dog is behaving somewhat differently and your gut tells you something is wrong, check it out!

4. Better safe than sorry.

Poor Tucker spent hours with a fractured foot yesterday simply because I assumed it was a mere sprain. In the end, we did take him to the vet and he has begun the healing process. But trust me, that $40 exam fee is worth it! You never know if something more dangerous could be happening with your furry friend.

5. Pay attention.

I know that life gets busy, but always make sure that you are paying attention to your pets behavior. They cannot speak to us, so we can only determine if something is wrong by their behavior. If your pet is behaving more lethargic than usual, if he won’t eat or drink, if his bowel movements are irregular, if his breathing has changed, or anything else, make sure you get him to a vet.

Do you have any tips that I didn’t mention? If so, contact me! I’d love to learn even more about how to properly care for our furry friends.

 

 

Story Time: Jackson Got A Little Brother

An open letter to the single woman on valentine's Day (4)

Happy Thanksgiving, dog lovers! I have got some wonderful news — news that I am beyond thankful for: Jackson got a little brother.

7901286E-0C62-4E96-BEFC-D4CFEB484E95Meet Tucker, the golden doodle. Nine-week old Tucker was a surprise Christmas present from my amazing future husband. For months we had discussed how we thought Jackson needed a playmate. When we are home, Jackson has been extremely lethargic. It’s obvious he loves to play when he is around other dogs, but he rarely had the chance to be around any.

However, after a few hours of Tucker arriving at our home, all of that changed.

It has only been four days, but I promise you that Jackson’s behavior has become more energetic and overall happy. Rather than napping the day away, he spends his time playing with Tucker… well, until Tucker passes out for one of those lengthy puppy naps.

Puppies can be challenging, but Tucker has been a huge blessing in all of our lives. So, on this Thanksgiving I am thankful for both him and Jackson.

What are you thankful for? Send me pictures of your adorable pups on Instagram for a shoutout & follow me to keep up with cute content of Jackson and Tucker!

XO,

Kels

Story Time: Jackson Got Hospitalized

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Something that I have never experienced before was a terrifying vet visit. However, nearly one week ago, I had this experience. And it honestly came a lot sooner than I thought it would. As many know, Jackson is only two years old. I didn’t expect him to have any health problems while he is still young, but it turns out that he had contracted a viral stomach infection, although we did not know this at the time.

Sunday, November 3

I awoke around 7AM, planning to visit a church located nearly an hour away from where I live. Since my fiance lives in the town of said church, we had plans to spend quite a large amount of time there that day.

However, after I got out of the shower, I noticed that Jackson wasn’t being himself. He is notably lazy in the mornings, but something just felt wrong. It wasn’t until I sat down next to him on the floor and actually began to pet him that I felt how strongly his little body was shaking. Immediately, I knew something was happening.

I contacted an emergency vet clinic and they offered to see Jackson right away. When he was initially examined, they revealed to me that his heart rate was 250. The average heart rate for a dog is 60-140, so this was not good. Immediately, they sedated him in an attempt to lower his heart rate. While he was sedated, they performed x-rays. The x-rays showed that his food from the day before had not digested and he had far too much fecal matter left in his bowels.

Since his stomach wasn’t processing food or allowing him to defecate normally, they considered that he may have an obstruction or may have eaten something toxic. After I left him at the vet, I cleaned my entire apartment, searching for anything he could have ingested — I even put on gloves and dug through my trash. But I never found anything.

The rest of that day was an emotional roller coaster. The vet continuously expressed that it was a mystery. She even contacted a cardiologist since Jackson’s heart rate was remaining far too high. I was notified that if he wasn’t better, or if we was worse, the next morning he would be referred to a neighboring city which is about an hour and a half away.

Monday, November 4

Monday morning, I discovered that he was actually doing better. The vet had plans to release Jackson to me around 2PM, and I was ecstatic.

However, after she tested his kidneys, she discovered they weren’t working as well as they should have been. And at this point, his heart rate was resting around 180, which was still too high. So, she said she would contact me later to let me know if he would be staying with them another night.

Thankfully, through God and the vet’s work, Jackson was released to me that evening. He was placed on four medications and special dog food to help his stomach. The vet revealed that, although she could not be 100% sure, she believed that he had contracted a viral stomach infection.

Today

Jackson is finishing up his medication and he is back to his normal self again. I had never been so scared in my entire life. I’ve had animals in the past, but if something happened to them they normally passed away immediately (i.e. car hit them, animal attack, etc). This was the first time that I had to sit by the phone and wait.

I felt completely powerless in those moments and it was heartbreaking. I cannot feel more thankful for the fact that Jackson got to come home.

If you are currently struggling with a situation like this with your pet, try to stay as strong as possible. Not all stories will turn out positively, but hold on to the good memories that you have with your pet and know that they have enjoyed all of their days with you.

Top 8 Tips For Camping With Your Pet

 

As a dog lover, I completely understand the desire to take our furry, four-legged friends on all of life’s adventures with us. However, when we plan to bring them along for our adventures, it is imperative that we plan accordingly.

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Recently, I took my dog camping with me for the very first time! And I learned a lot. Here are my top 8 tips for camping with your pet:

Find An Appropriate Campsite

If you plan a camping trip, try to find a pet-friendly campground. When I visited Red River Gorge in Kentucky for camping, I found a pet-friendly campground very easily. However, if this becomes a challenge, backcountry camping is always an option!

Prepare Documents/Pre-Vet Visit

Anytime you plan on taking your dog on a trip, it is important to ensure that your pet is up-to-date on all vaccinations. Additionally, you may want to bring a copy of your pet’s vaccination documentation and their dog tag.

Bring a Tie Out

Believe it or not, this is something that I actually thought to bring — and yes, I’m giving myself a pat on the back for that. A tie out can be used to tie your pet to a tree, or anything stable nearby, so they have the freedom to move around the campsite safely and with limits.

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Pack Portable Food and Water Bowls

One of my favorite pet items is the collapsible food and water bowls. These rubber bowls collapse into themselves, which makes them easy to carry with you. Additionally, you can usually find these bowls with links on them so that you can attach them to a backpack when hiking.

Remember Poop Bags

The last thing you want to do is forget the poop bags! If you forget this necessary item, your campsite will be very stinky. Plus, it is a sign of respect to clean up after your pet. Remember to #LeaveNoTrace.

Bring a Pet First-Aid Kit

Okay, this is something that I am guilty of forgetting. Sigh. Although my dog, thankfully, did not sustain any injuries on our camping trip, it is also possible that an injury could occur. Therefore, you should prepare a pet first-aid kit when you plan to go camping. Oh, and maybe prepare a human first-aid kit as well!

Plan Sleeping Arrangements

Regardless of how you generally sleep at home, co-sleeping at a campsite may be the best option. Even if your pet usually sleeps outside, there is often wildlife roaming near campsites, especially if one of your camping neighbors forgot to put away all of their food and/or trash. So, it may be safer for your pet to sleep inside the tent.

However you plan on sleeping with your pet — freely inside the tent, in a kennel inside the tent, or anything else — it is important to plan that ahead of time! Preparing sleeping arrangements before arriving will reduce some stress.

Savor the Time Together

847ED5FB-585D-44B0-9D20-67DCBAB28D62_1_105_cRemember that dogs don’t live as long as humans. We never know how many adventures that we will have with our furry friends, so it is important to savor the time together when we get the chance.

Regardless of where you go or who tags along with the two of you, make sure that you have fun!

 

An Open Letter To My Rescue Dog

“Whoever said diamonds are a girls best friend never owned a dog.” -Unknown

Last week I had no class, no work, and no internship. It sounds great, until you realize that you are an adult and everyone you know still has to work eight hours each day. So, needless to say, I spent a lot of time with my dog, Jackson.

During our tremendous amount of downtime together, I truly started to grasp how thankful I am for my 38-pound mutt. With that said, I decided it would be great to write an open letter to my rescue dog.

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I had been searching for a furry companion for weeks. After days of searching for a dog, I had found a cute Chihuahua at a local PetSmart, and I made plans to scrap together enough money to adopt him. Although that dog was adorable, something about the idea of adopting him just didn’t sit well in my heart. Later that day, I figured out why.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_25eMy mother tagged me in a Facebook post. The moment I clicked on the post and saw your adorable, sad face, I knew that you were the one. Without hesitation, I messaged the woman who was fostering you and asked if you were still available. As I spoke with her, my heart pounded in my chest from the thrill. And after a short conversation, I discovered that you would become my dog.

 

I will never know the entirety of your story. I will never know where you came from, who harmed you, who left you out in the cold all by yourself… but I do know this: you needed me and I needed you. Upon hearing the story about how you had been abandoned on a coal mine, was freezing, and how someone could easily count your ribs simply by looking at you, my heart shattered.

The day that I adopted you was pure bliss. Honestly, I was nervous. Sure, I’d owned a dog before but I had always shared ownership with my family. You would actually be my dog. I had complete responsibility for you. And honestly, those nerves turned to pure fear when I met you.

You were scared. Oh, you were so scared. You seemed as if you had been traded off by humans a thousand times before and I could see that you were not going to trust easily. I could see that you were just as scared as I was.

And with that, the weight of what I had agreed to finally sunk in. I hadn’t agreed to just adopt a dog; I had agreed to help rehabilitate a dog. No, you weren’t physically injured, but your emotional scars ran deep. But after a moment of holding onto you on the drive home, feeling you shake from fear, and then watching as you grew in excitement once you realized that you were home, I knew that everything would be just fine. 

I may not know much about your past, but here is what I do know. I know that you are a Jackson_238-pound mutt, who has suffered a lot of pain at the hands of humans. I know that you are fearful of other dogs, unless they are smaller than you. I know that it takes you a while to warm up to other humans. I know that people cannot simply pet you. I know that I have to be more careful than other pet parents when I take you out in the public eye. I know that your favorite toys are the kind that squeak, but you cannot have any toy with cotton because it will ultimately become a massacre. I know that you love to cuddle. I know that you have so much energy bursting inside of you. I know that you have so much love to give. And I know that you and I were meant to find each other.

You do not understand what I say, but I wish I could tell that you are safe now. I wish I could tell you that I will never leave you, nor will I ever let another human harm you again. I also wish I could tell you why I never let you share any chocolate with me.

Jackson, you have found your forever home.

7 Tips For Taking Your Furry Friend To The Beach

tips dog beach

If you keep up with my ‘Adventure Paws’ posts, you already know I took Jackson to Myrtle Beach, SC a few weeks ago. If you don’t keep up with them, you know this information now! But more importantly, why aren’t you?!

Follow my Instagram account to stay updated or subscribe to receive emails every time I upload a new post on this blog!

Anyways, since our adventure to the beach, I thought it could be helpful to provide you with some tips that I learned. So, here are some tips for taking your furry friend to the beach:

Check Pet Hours

Something I had been unaware of was that the city actually regulates specific hours that dogs can be on the beach, particularly during summer months. For Myrtle Beach specifically, dogs were not allowed on the between 10AM-5PM during May-September.

If you visit the beach with your pet, it is important to learn what the beach hours are. The last thing you want to do is break the rules!

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Pay Attention to the Hotel Pet Policy

Apparently, my hotel had a policy that dogs were not allowed around the pool area. One night, I made the mistake of taking Jackson directly outside of our room. I didn’t have him close the pool at all, but we were in that area. After being scolded by an employee, I learned the important lesson of learning the hotel pet policy and adhering to those rules.

Make Sure the Sand Isn’t Hot

Just like with pavement, sand can get extremely hot. Before walking your pet on the sand, hold your palm to it for ten seconds. If your palm is burning, it isn’t safe to walk your pet.

However, if the sand is hot but you only this time gap to walk your pet, you can walk them near the water. As you near the water, the sand is moist and is no longer burning hot.

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Clean Your Pet After the Beach

After you leave the beach and you are covered in sand, you want to wash off before laying down for a nap, right? Well, your pup needs that same cleanliness! You don’t have to give them a full bath, but at least use a damp rag to clean their fur.

Be Mindful of Their Behavior

My dog had never visited the beach before, so he had no idea what to expect (obviously he can’t Google beaches!). So, when we visited, he tried to sniff the sand which caused him to gag and he attempted to drink the salt water… that didn’t go so well!

If you are taking your pet to the beach for the first time, be mindful of their behavior. Your pet will not understand where they are, so you need to ensure that they are engaging in safe behavior.

Watch Them Around Waves

Jackson despises water so I didn’t have to worry about this, but I did notice other dogs playing in the ocean. As adorable as they were, I did worry, though, about the undercurrent and the waves themselves.

If your furry friend enjoys taking a dip, keep an eye on them while they play. They can get taken under the water just as easily as we can!

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Take A Lot Of Photos

There aren’t many people who get the opportunity to take their pet to the beach. Trust me, it is a memory that you will cherish! So, take a lot of photos of your pup playing at the ocean.

You will never regret the amount of photos you take.

Adventure Paws: Myrtle Beach, SC

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I finally did it. I took Jackson to the beach. And it went… pretty great!

If you have read my blog post about taking Jackson to Niagara Falls, you already know that he does well on long car rides and with staying in hotel rooms. I am so thankful that I have been blessed with such a well-behaved dog.

However, when traveling to Myrtle Beach, I did have a couple concerns. First, I knew Jackson loved sand, but he does have a fear of water. Therefore, I wondered how he would handle the beach, which as we all know, can have some aggressive waves. Secondly, Jackson is extremely reactive to other dogs – particularly large dogs after he was attacked – and I knew there would be other dogs at our hotel and walking the beach.

The Beach

Jackson loved the beach! Loved, with a capital L. When his paws hit the sand, he would be smiling, jumping around, and behaving like a puppy again. His favorite part was running on the sand. During our morning and evening walks, he would force me to run for long distances. However, he did not like the water. When we first arrived at the beach, he was standing on the sand when a wave – a very small one, mind you – brushed over his feet, and he completely freaked out. After that, it was nearly impossible to get him near the water.

A funny moment that occurred was when Jackson had to discover that you cannot drink salt water. He began to drink from it before I could stop him, but immediately made a disgusted face and shook his head, as if saying “Nope!”. Also, he continuously tried to sniff the sand and constantly snorted because the sand would be in his nose. Learning what the beach is was such an adventure for my pup.

As I mentioned previously, I would take Jackson on morning and evening walks. The reason behind this is because Myrtle Beach, located in South Carolina, has summer hours for dogs. From May-September, dogs are not allowed on the beach between 10AM and 5PM. Although he never visited the ocean during the day, he still had plenty of opportunities to get his paws sandy.

The view from our walks were beautiful, as you can see below! The sun was golden, the sand was cool, and the waves were powerful. It was breathtaking.

The Other Dogs

Jackson handled other dogs pretty well. There were a few times when he would freak out, barking and jumping around, but for the most part, it went well!

However, on that note, does anyone have any tips about how to get your pet comfortable around other dogs? Let me know! Chat with me on Instagram or Facebook.

Stay tuned for future adventures!

Top 7 Things Dog Lovers Must Remember

7 things dogs

As a fellow dog lover, I completely understand just how much information we have in our minds about dogs. We want to give our pets the best possible care and want them to have enjoyable lives.

However, since it is so much to remember, I decided to write a quick list of the top 7 things that dog lovers must remember.

Dogs have a short lifespan.

While humans can live nearly 100 years, dogs have a much shorter life span. Dogs typically live between 10-20 years, so it is important that we enjoy them while they are a part of our families!

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Dogs must be groomed regularly.

It is important to keep your dog clean. Although they may protest against a bath, it is essential for their physical health (and for your home). Always make sure to find the time to bathe your pet, trim their nails, and groom their fur.

Human foods can be toxic.

I’ll admit that I am guilty of this at times — feeding your dog human food is not always a good idea. When our dogs are giving up puppy dog eyes for a bite of our food, sometimes we give in. But one thing dog lovers must always remember is to ensure if the food you are about to feed your pet is toxic.

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Dogs may act aggressively out of fear.

My dog is afraid of other dogs, particularly larger dogs. However, he doesn’t hide behind me out of fear; instead, he growls and snarls at the other dog. It is important to remember that although your dog may behave aggressively, he/she could be afraid of the situation they are in.

Dogs are sensitive to their environment.

Dogs are sensitive to both indoor and outdoor environments. Your dog should be treated for fleas and ticks, you should always check to ensure that the ground is not too hot before taking them for a walk, and they should not be left out in the heat or cold for too long. Dogs are also sensitive to things inside of your home, such as air fresheners, some essential oils, or even stress that may be occurring within your home.

Remember that although your dog is an animal, they are sensitive to the environment around them.

Dogs may change their behavior if ill.

If your dog’s behavior suddenly changes, it is important to visit their vet. Dogs may begin to eat less, drink less, or behave lethargically if they are ill. Make sure you always observe your dogs behavior for any changes.

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Dogs reduce human stress.

If you’re already a dog lover, you know this! Dogs physiologically reduce stress — it’s proven!

Dogs want to make their owner happy.

Your dog loves you unconditionally. Every time you walk in the front door, they behave as if they haven’t seen you in twenty years.

Although our dogs may behave poorly sometimes, they want to make you happy! Did you know that sometimes a dog will give you their toy if they think you’re bored? Yep. They want us to play and have fun too!

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Adventure Paws: Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

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Have you ever wished that you could enter a magical forest and find giants? Would you like your furry, four-legged friend to join you on this search?

If so, I have found the perfect place for you: Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.

Always free (donations welcomed), Bernheim Arboretum is a great location for both you and your dog to receive some exercise, while appreciating the wonderful views! As you hike, you’ll see gorgeous plant life, ponds, and even giants.

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Located nearly twenty minutes from Louisville, the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is a beautiful location full of nature, wildlife, and giants. There are over 40 miles of trails to explore, as you can see on this map.

Although Jackson and I didn’t explore any areas of the forest except for the giant trails, we had a wonderful time! If you ever have the opportunity to visit this location, I would encourage you to do so. However, take some advice from me — do not wear jeans! It was all I had to wear that weekend, but I deeply regret that because it was hot. 

Remember: Your dog must remain on leash. Also, if you go during the summer months, make sure you bring a bowl for water for your pet. Jackson couldn’t get enough water after walking the trails!

 

If you ever visit, share your experience! Follow my Instagram or Facebook page.

Tips To Handle A Dog Attack

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Recently, another dog attacked my dog. Long story short: My neighbor let her dog outside without a leash and it bolted straight towards mine (who was leashed) and began attacking him. Jackson was much smaller than this dog, so it was not an equal fight. However, I am beyond thankful that Jackson is okay! He is in a little pain, but no punctures from biting.

Since I have experienced this for the first time, I decided to do some research about dog attacks and thought I should write an informational post about what to do during a dog attack and how to care for your pet afterwards.

What To Do If Your Dog Is Attacked

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Do not pick your dog up. If you pick your dog up in an attempt to protect them or end the fight, the other dog may begin attacking you in an effort to get to your dog.
  • Get names and phone numbers of witnesses. If the dog attack is serious enough, you may need to file a report and witness information will be helpful.
  • Note any details you can about the dog and where the owner(s) live. Once again, this can be helpful if the attack is severe enough to file a report. However, keep in mind that you should not be hyper-focused on collecting information because your dog needs you in that moment.
  • Get your dog to the vet, even if you do not see any external signs of injury. Jackson did not show any external signs, but his vet explained that sometimes a tooth can puncture an organ or the rib cage but may not be visibly noticeable. These punctures can impact their breathing. It is important to seek medical attention to ensure your dog’s health is good.

How To Care For Your Pet Afterward

  • Once again, take your dog to the vet. It is important to allow your vet to perform a thorough examination.
  • Make sure your dog is eating and drinking. Loss in appetite and lack of drinking can be an indicator that something is wrong. Be observant 24-48 hours after the attack of your dogs’ eating and drinking behaviors.
  • Soothe and comfort your pet. Give your dog a little extra love, but remember to be gentle. Your dog may have sore locations that you are unaware of. Be careful as you extend this comfort to your pet as they may bite if you touch a painful location.
  • Keep in mind that some dogs’ need time for rehabilitation after an attack. Your dog may become uneasy or aggressive around other dogs after the attack. This is a fear response. If the aggression persists, it may be helpful to consult a trainer. Remember: your pet notices your body language. If you are relaxed and calm, your dog will feel more relaxed as well.

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Dog attacks can be traumatic for both your dog and you. Remember to care for yourself as well. If you received a wound during the attack, seek medical attention immediately and determine if the dog who bit you has been vaccinated. Once you and your dog are physically examined and found to be in good health, or on the mend, take some time to relax and rest.