Tag Archives: sick dogs

Urpy dog and what to do about it

There’s nothing guaranteed to wake a dog person faster than the sounds of an urpy dog getting ready to upchuck on your sheets. You would think some clever maker would have built the sound into alarm clocks. Works every time. 

It happened last night – Hope woke up to Torque making “ocean sounds” as we’ve always called it, and Hope was upright in milliseconds. Torque lost his dinner, all of it, all over the bedroom floor. Then he was fine, climbed back up into bed, and went to sleep. While Hope got the carpet cleaner and went to work.

He’s fine – urpy dog no more

This morning, he’s fine. Ate his breakfast with no hesitation. No sign of stomach upset. She washed his face and he’s his normal, cuddly self again.

Torque, my urpy dog

So why did it happen? We’ll probably never know. Just like us, dogs occasionally get an upset stomach and after the bout is over, it’s over. It could have been (probably was) something he ate while browsing in our yard. Dogs, like toddlers, stick everything in their mouths. And, if we don’t notice in time, down it goes. Only to reappear after the lights are off and it causes maximum commotion.

What if it persists?

Fortunately, Torque’s problem was a rare occurrence. What if your dog isn’t as lucky? We’ve been hearing about more dog who suffer from frequent nausea.

We’ve had a couple pups who had more sensitive stomachs. 

Roc, Hope’s Brussels Griffon and Golly’s nephew, had acid reflux. To keep his tummy on an even keel, he had to take Pepcid every day. Once we got the diagnosis and got him on the medication, he was fine. Unless he was particularly anxious about something. Back then we didn’t know about bone broth. We wish we had. Even when urpy dogs don’t particularly want to eat, they’ll still try a little. 

There are lots of recipes for bone broth for both people and dogs. We make our own, then, when it’s cooled, we freeze it in ice cube trays. That way we always have a supply on hand if one of our dogs is a bit under the weather. 

Stubborn case

Teddy was another of our dogs with a less-than-iron stomach. It took years before we figured out he got nauseated if he ate anything orange. And, of course, we’d been making matters worse. Because the “go-to” remedy for home treatment for dogs is canned pumpkin. 

Teddy didn’t actually vomit much. He drooled. That’s such a small word to represent the volumes of liquid that poured out of his mouth when he was urpy. He soaked through multiple towels, was restless, and thoroughly miserable. Once we figured out what was going on, we felt terrible. 

Hard to figure

If your dog is frequently urpy, paying attention is the best thing you can do. While it’s happening, you just want it to stop. But finding the cause may be even more important.

As mentioned, it took us forever to figure out that Teddy’s nemesis was orange – carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin. All the things you’re “supposed” to be able to give dogs. 

So the next time your dog is having an urpy episode, try to remember all the things she ate before it happened. Was anything different? New? Different brand or batch? Did he go anywhere unusual? Pick anything up from the ground? Does it always happen at a particular time? 

The answers may help you, or your dog’s vet, find the answer that will give your dog some relief. In the meantime, stock up on bone broth.

Can my dog catch a cold?

Last week Hope came down with a doozy of a cold. So congested she thought about auditioning for the horn section of the local orchestra. Since Torque is her constant companion, it made us wonder – can my dog catch a cold?

Catching colds is a human thing

Turns out that, while dogs can suffer from a variety of respiratory diseases, colds aren’t usually among them. At least not the same ones that people get. 

Most people know that colds are caused by viruses. And, theoretically, you can only catch each one once. There must be a whole heckuva lotta cold viruses out there!

Dogs can show the same symptoms we have: stuffy/runny nose, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and generally feeling like crap. But the viruses that cause the symptoms in dogs are different than the ones that we get, according to the PetMD experts.. 

Black rough Brussels Griffon

The dog in our house who most often gets respiratory illnesses is Tango. Every so often he’ll go on a sneezing rampage and the dreaded green snot trails out of his nose. He’s usually pitiful for a day or so, then goes back to being his normal role of supervisor and fun police in the house. 

Same level of concern

We’re not quite sure why it matters if it’s the same, or a different virus causing the same symptoms. When you feel sick, you don’t really care which virus is causing it, you just want it to go away. From the research we’ve done, the same is pretty much true of dogs. So the answer to “Can my dog catch a cold?” is not really. But he/she can get something that looks, sounds, and acts just like one.

As long as you’re dog is functioning normally (eating, drinking, pooping, peeing) and just seems “under the weather,” apparently there’s not much to do about it but let the virus run its course. 

It’s just a cold, after all.

Seriously symptomatic

After a couple of days, Hope was back to being just a little sniffly – the cold virus ran its course and is heading out. And Torque is just fine.

If you think your dog may have a respiratory virus, don’t let it go on for too long. After a few days, if you’re not seeing any signs of improvement, or if the symptoms worsen, it’s time to call the veterinarian. Hopefully it’s no big deal, but there are more serious illnesses that start with the same symptoms.

Just like us one way

And, just like colds can run rampant through a family/school/workplace, dog viruses can be just as contagious from one dog to another. If you have multiple dogs, like us, try to keep the “sicky” separated, although we know how difficult that can be. 

Tips for dog tummy trouble – voices of unfortunate experience

This week more than a few people are dealing with dog tummy trouble.

We know you didn’t smuggle the stuffing to your dog, but there’s no telling what Aunt Lucille was doing when Fido pinned her with those adorable puppy-dog eyes. And now you’re left to clean up the mess, so to speak.

Dog tummy trouble pros

Unfortunately, our experience is vast and deep. And something we’ve had to pull out all the stops on for the last six weeks. We hope that if your dogs have tummy trouble, it’s a very short-term visitor this holiday season.

It all started when Torque brought home some kind of stomach virus from an obedience fun match we attended. His stomach tends to get a little upset when he goes someplace new and exciting, so we weren’t too concerned for a couple of days. He usually takes longer to recover than the other dogs, but time usually takes care of it.

The tummy trouble patients Torque and Simon

Tango got the sniffles, which is how every virus he’s ever encountered manifests with Tango.

Booker was next to come down with it. Then Simon.

Symptoms and recovery vary

Tango and Booker were both fine within a couple of days. We fully expected Torque and Simon to return to normal within a week.

We were wrong. Every time we thought we were over the hump, there was another explosive episode. Fortunately, we read their signs well enough to know when they really, really need to go outside.

We’re hovering on the edge of too much information given, but we think you understand what we’re talking about.

What we’ve learned 

Don’t ignore the symptoms, but don’t go haring off to the veterinarian right away. Wait a day. Then panic and run in.

It’s not imperative to starve the dog for 24 hours unless the tummy trouble includes vomiting.

Sometimes probiotics work, sometimes they don’t.

Sometimes prescriptions work, sometimes they don’t.

Listen when your dog tells you he has to go – now. Grab your coat as you run out the door, but don’t worry about getting it on inside. Same for shoes.

Young Boston Terriers like Simon lose weight like crazy. He’s on the mend but so skinny Fran’s quite sure she’ll be accused of neglect. Nothing’s further from the truth.

Useful things we learned:

A “bland diet” is whatever protein your dog is used to eating in his regular food, boiled and served with canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) and/or white potato (also boiled). Feed only bland food for three days.

Flax seed is soothing: Take a tablespoon of whole, organic flax seed and pour ¼  to ⅓ cup boiling water over it. Stir for 1 minute, let it sit for five more minutes. Strain the seeds out and use some of the syrupy water on your dog’s food. It helps.

Bone broth is also good. We used Veterinarian Judy Morgan’s recipe. We portioned it into ice cube trays and now have a gallon bag of bone broth ice cubes ready to go whenever we need them.

Reintroduce your dog’s regular food gradually. Very gradually. Be ready to go back to bland.

Hoping it’s not needed

We hope your holidays are wonderful and free of dog tummy trouble. But if it does happen, we hope we’ve helped.

One sick puppy

It’s not metaphoric at all – Simon was one sick puppy yesterday. He’s better today, thank goodness. But yesterday was messy, stressful, and thoroughly awful.

No early sign of sick puppy

It was a normal morning in the Sister Shack. All four dogs ate their breakfasts, pottied outside. We had a fun little training session. Fran left for work. (Friday is Hope’s day off.) 

I (Hope) was planning a fun day. I love baking and was planning to make Fran’s birthday cake. Red Velvet cake has been our family’s traditional birthday cake all our lives. It’s a process, but a fun one, if you like baking.

There were a few errands that needed doing (we were out of milk!), so I took the butter out of the fridge to soften while I ran them – planning on coming home and getting the cake-baking going. 

Sign of trouble

The first sign of trouble was the smell that hit me when I got home. I was hoping for the best at first – one of the dogs might have been unusually gassy. No such luck.

Simon had rather violent diarrhea. We crate the puppy when we’re not home. That wound up being a good news/bad news result. Good news – the mess was confined. Bad news – the puppy and his crate needed bathing, fumigation, and I needed a nose plug.

Clean up 

The first order of business was to get him out into the yard and see if the issue was over, or a continuing problem. The latter, of course. Tango, Booker, and Torque were kind of puzzled by the situation but avoided the stinky puppy. And cooperated when I needed them back in the house and away from the mess.

Next? Telling his mom (Fran) that we were in crisis mode. It’s never fun to call a baby’s mom to tell her the puppy’s sick.

Boston Terrier sick puppy
Simon’s staying close to Fran today.

And then Simon got a bath. Generally speaking, Simon is an active puppy. Truthfully – he’s a perpetual motion machine. Fortunately, he was more curious about the water, bathtub, and bath process than afraid or worried. Fifteen minutes later – he smelled much better.

Nose plug time

Simon dried off with nice clean bedding in one of the other dog’s crates. Cleaning the crate was next. I have no idea how all surfaces were targeted, but it even included the ceiling. Further detail isn’t required – I’m sure all dog owners (and parents of human babies!) can imagine the rest.

Off to the vet

When we knew the vet was open for afternoon hours, I delivered Simon to Fran. He’d had several more episodes in the meantime. All outside. He was a very good boy and let me know when it was time to make a dash for the great outdoors.

Our wonderful veterinarians got him in right away. He obliged by spewing for the doctors. You know veterinarians are a different breed. Instead of scooping it up as fast as possible, they pored over it like it was a clue in a mystery novel. Which, to them, it was. Simon obviously ate something he shouldn’t have and we have instructions for a restricted diet and medication for a few days.

Duh! Of course it was something he ate

It’s always something they ate. And we have no idea what it might be. We don’t use any chemicals or fertilizers in our yard. But, even though we live in a very urban area, there’s tons of wildlife: squirrels, birds, rabbits, possums. Who knows what they carry in? Not to mention how many assorted mushrooms have sprouted in this incredibly wet season. And Simon is a grazer. We try to keep an eye on him – but with four dogs running around the yard and a next-door neighbor dog that charges ours, it can get hectic. 

The best-laid plans

So the day went sideways. Birthday cake didn’t get made. Butter is back in the fridge. Meals didn’t get made. That’s okay. Because Simon’s better today. Subdued, under scrutiny, but hopefully on the road to recovery.

I usually resist the title “pet parent.” But when the baby’s sick, either human or puppy – it applies. Everything else is put on hold. As it should be.