You can assist your veterinarian in the care of your pet by keeping a pet health diary. Your diary doesn’t have to include the typical day. Diaries are important when you detect health or behavioral changes or when you suspect that your pet is ill.
Start your diary by recording veterinary visits, vaccinations, flea treatments, heartworm prophylaxis, and stool exams. This information will help you remember when to apply periodic home treatments and when to make your next appointment with the veterinarian. It will also help your veterinarian understand what services may be necessary or facts to be considered in making a diagnosis.
Include in your diary anything unusual about your pet. Make note of behavioral or appetite change, diarrhea, vomiting, excess panting, coughing, poor exercise tolerance, sleeping either too much or too little. You should log excess water consumption and urination. Note soiling the house in a previously clean pet. Your task will be to write down changes in behavior or lifestyle which you previously considered normal for your pet. We’re looking for changes.
Record diet changes or alterations in the home environment. Things to document include moving to a new home, new pets, and new family members such as babies or people moving into the household. You should record departures of pets or people from the environment. Keep in mind that our pets are very sensitive to emotionally charged household conditions, and you should make note of particularly stressful situations.
Keeping a diary for your pet does not have be time consuming or elaborate. No entries are needed day to day for healthy pets. Be sure to record diet changes and any behavioral changes. Many people make notes on their refrigerator calendar. Mark the date and make a short entry, then we can consider if there is a causal relationship between an environmental factor and your pet’s illness or behavioral change. When problems occur, record as much information as possible.
If you think your pet may have been poisoned contact:
Animal Poison Control Center: 1-888-426-4435