Whether you own a dog, a cat, a rat, a bird, or a horse, pet logs are an extremely useful tool for every pet owner. Pet logs can be used to help diagnose illness, disease and allergies, to spot patterns relating to a pet’s behavior and to keep important pet documents organized and easily accessible. In short, a dog log makes pet ownership an easier and less potentially stressful experience.
Starting a Pet Log
Pet owners can start a pet log for less than $15 USD – you’ll need a three-hole-punch, loose-leaf paper, some plastic sheet protectors to protect important documents and a three-ring binder.
The pet log is where you’ll store all documents and notes relating to your pet’s care. If you have multiple pets, be sure to get some section dividers to give each pet his own section of the binder.
What Should I Keep in My Pet Log?
Here’s a list of some items to include in the pet log:
- AKC Registration Papers or Other Breed Registrations
- Vaccination Certificates
- Dog Licensing Certificates
- Pet Insurance Policy
- Dog Training Certificates
- Receipts and Lab Reports from the Veterinarian
- Medication Inserts and Information Sheets
- Pet Product Receipts, Warranty Cards
- Pet-Related Phone Numbers (normal veterinarian’s office, emergency veterinarian’s office, groomer, trainer, pet sitter, dog walker, etc.)
In a time of fairly regular pet food recalls, dog and cat owners should be sure to keep pet food receipts and the pet log is the perfect place to store pet food receipts. In addition, dog and cat owners should clip and keep the labels or proof of purchase (UPC code and “best by” date, if located on a different spot on the bag) from each bag or can of food – this information will prove vital if a recall is issued, since the dog or cat owner will know for sure if their pet’s food is affected. (To learn more about a recent pet food recall issued by Mars Petcare U.S., in late 2008, check out this blog entry.)
How Can a Pet Log Help Prevent and Diagnose Illness?
Pet logs are the perfect place to record observations when a pet is sick. When an animal is ill, regular monitoring is required and the pet log is a great place to record the pet’s temperature, gum color, pulse, heart rate and other important observations, like vomiting frequency, time and duration of seizures, or diet and exposure in the event a pet food allergy or skin allergy is suspected.
This information can prove vital when it comes to diagnosing a pet’s illness. It’s frightening and stressful when a pet is sick and it’s easy for a pet owner to forget important facts or observations when it’s time to visit the vet. So bring along the dog log, cat log or other pet log and you’ll have all the vital information right there, available to share with the veterinarian.
Pet logs can also help when it comes to diagnosing illnesses that occur a long time after exposure. Take the case of a tick bite; symptoms of tick-borne illnesses in dogs and cats, like Lyme Disease, won’t arise for several weeks after a tick bite. Recording when a tick bite occurs will be helpful in ruling in/out tick-borne illness weeks down the road if the dog or cat falls inexplicably ill.
The pet log is also a great place to store notes that are recorded during a vet visit, to help pet owners remember vital pet health information that’s discussed with the veterinarian. Likewise, dog owners who are attending training classes can keep their training notes in their dog log.
A pet log is also useful for diagnosing behavioral issues. Pet owners can record notes about a pet’s behavior in the pet log, providing greater insight into the root causes of phobias, problem barking and other behavioral issues.
Pet owners can prevent illness with the help of a pet log by recording and tracking flea and tick treatments, heartworm medication treatments and other scheduled medications or care.
There are many uses for a pet log. It’s a vital part of responsible pet ownership and what’s better is it’s easy to create and maintain. So if you don’t have a pet log, start one! As an owner of more than 20 animals, I can guarantee that you’ll thank yourself at some point down the road!