One of the tricks to pet ownership – and, I imagine, parenthood – is knowing when and when not to worry. Being a somewhat anxious person by nature, this has been a real test for me. Shiva is an extremely healthy dog and despite her propensity to ram head-first into walls she has yet to suffer a serious injury. One would think this would enable me to relax a little.
One would think wrong. All it takes is a minor blip and I am up all night, imagining the worst scenarios possible.
If she coughs after drinking too much water, I think she has bloat. If she limps when there is a piece of ice stuck in her paw, I think she has hip dysplasia. If she wakes me up in the middle of the night to dash outside, I think she has giardia.
It’s truly amazing I’ve never had an ulcer, isn’t it?
The internet doesn’t help. Dr. Google is both my best friend and my worst enemy. Sometimes it’s just better not to know all the possible causes of each and every symptom. Especially since all of them have disappeared on their own within a couple hours. Do I really need to know vomiting can be a sign of canine epilepsy? Probably not.
When it comes to my own health, I am much more negligent. Other than my yearly check up I never consider seeing a doctor. My philosophy usually revolves around waiting for whatever it is to go away. If it is still bugging me after a few days, I’ll just wait a few more. So far, this method hasn’t failed me. But I would never think of applying the same lackadaisical principles to my dog’s health.
That’s probably a good thing. While I know my stress-over-every-minor-problem technique isn’t healthy for my mental state, I’d rather worry it could be something tragic than brush it off only to discover Shiva has some sort of incurable disease. I was half-crazy long before I got a dog anyway. Why not go all in?