While attending the BlogPaws conference I had the chance to meet a lot of great companies from the pet industry, but I was particularly impressed with a service called WhiskerDocs®. The experts from WhiskerDocs® answer pet health questions. The website gives pet parents the opportunity to talk directly with a veterinary professional 24 hours a day.
I knew their service was the perfect match for readers of Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog because as the caretakers of a disabled dog or cat there is always a question or situation that pops up when you least expect it.
What I didn’t expect is that I would be making an urgent call for their advice.
The change I have noticed in Bailey
I have been writing for the past month about the change in Bailey’s eating habits since losing her housemate and best buddy Cody. My puppy has gone from a good eater who enjoyed nearly every food put in front of her, to a dog who was refusing to eat even her favorite treats. It worried me so much that I have taken her to the veterinarian twice to see if the loss of her friend might have triggered a physical illness.
Our first appointment with the vet found some inflammation in her belly so a medication was prescribed to relieve abdominal pain. When that didn’t increase her appetite I took Bailey for another appointment where they found some “bad” bacteria in her intestines. She has been on an antibiotic and probiotic for the past 10 days. After a few days, I saw a noticeable change in her attitude. Bailey was happier and more playful than she had been, but her refusal to eat more than a bite or two of dog food, treats or even people food was getting worse.
In my opinion she was better physically, but remembered the bad feeling she had in her gut when she ate so to keep that pain away she decided to NOT EAT. (This was the answer I told myself.) So for the past 10 days I have been offering new foods to Bailey and cooking some of her past favorites. I have been broiling, barbecuing, boiling and puréeing food to see if it was a problem with texture and I have been offering food in smaller bowls or making a game of mealtime by using her food puzzles. To say that I have been a basket case over this situation is an understatement. I knew I had to get a second opinion so I picked up the phone and called WhiskerDocs.
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Here is how WiskerDocs works
I was greeted by Beth who was a patient and knowledgeable veterinary technician who listened to my story about Bailey and all of my theories about her lack of appetite. When I was done, she gave me sound and practical advice to help Bailey. Beth explained:
- Dogs can go through a grieving process when a housemate dies.
- It might take them up to two months to get back to normal emotionally and physically.
- During this time it is important to maintain as much of Bailey’s normal routine as possible.
- Make Bailey’s food more appealing by adding human baby food to it such as the pureed meats which come in chicken, turkey and beef.
- Add a small amount of low sodium chicken or beef broth to her kibble to increase the flavor and smell.
- Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of no sugar added (clean) canned pumpkin to help with digestion.
- Ask our personal veterinarian for an appetite stimulant if Bailey stops eating completely for 3 days.
Then Beth told me she would put all of her suggestions in writing and email them to me. She also said there would be a follow-up call from WhiskerDocs after 48 hours to see how Bailey was feeling.
I was extremely happy with my call to WhiskerDocs. Beth put me at ease and made me feel like I had a partner helping me with this problem. And even though I had started to implement a couple of the suggestions Beth made before I called for advice, it made me realize that my instincts were on track and that I wasn’t doing anything that can hurt Bailey.
Why call WhiskerDocs instead of my own veterinarian
My veterinarian’s practice is extremely busy and it often takes a full day to hear back about a question. I called WhiskerDocs because they are set up to answer my questions immediately. They exist because:
- Stuff happens at weird hours
- Dogs and cats can’t tell you how they feel
- Pet parents don’t always know what to do
- Pets are individuals that need specific solutions to health problems
Who is the WhiskerDocs Team?
The team is made of nearly 20 veterinarians and veterinary technicians that are headed by Dr. Shelby Neely, V.M.D. Dr. Neely has owned a feline veterinary practice in Philadelphia for more than 20 years.
How does WhiskerDocs work?
Pet parents can sign up on the WhiskerDocs app or website to purchase a onetime call with an expert or they can buy a 6 month or one year subscription that gives you an unlimited number of calls, live chats and emails. I have the 6 month plan which gives Bailey and me access 24 hours a day.
The online library
In addition to talking with an expert, the website offers an online library that is full of articles to help pet parents understand animal behavior, common diseases and their symptoms, toxins and ways to keep your dog or cat healthy.
A special WhiskerDocs discount
Bailey is not completely back to her normal puppy self, but she is eating with a little more enthusiasm and I feel better knowing that her behavior is typical of a dog grieving for her best bud and that I have the tools to help her.