Owner Profile: The Hounding Hypochondriac

5 Aug

Description:  Always convinced that their dog has been stricken by some horrible (and rare) malady, The “Hounding Hypochondriac” is well-known by their beleaguered vets and on  internet forums as that woman who swore her dog had ebola last week because he reverse sneezed for 15 seconds three days ago. We totally understand worrying about our dogs. A little neurotic watchdogging is good for the soul, really.  And obviously it’s better to catch a serious health issue sooner than later, but somewhere between “My dog looked at me funny, better call the vet” and “My dog is bleeding profusely, I’ll just slap a bandaid on” is a happy medium.  A happy medium that the “Do I Need a Vet Dunce” (stay tuned for this owner profile coming soon) nor “The Hounding Hypochondriac” have never known.

Not a dog.


Common Locations:  Vet clinics, Yahoo forums, Facebook Groups not necessarily of the medical variety, and the Facebook pages of veterinary friends demanding medications for issues of dubious seriousness.


Breeds Owned: Inevitably the HH has a dog who could eat arsenic for breakfast, get hit by a car at lunch and be ready for Alpo at dinner. Typically the HH’s dogs are disgustingly healthy in part due to extreme preventative care and a bubble-boy existence but also just because their owners are so aware of potential issues the dogs just don’t come into contact with dangerous objects all that often.

Also works as an effective fart catcher

Also works as an effective fart shield


Skill Level:  Varies widely.  Ranging from the sport dog owner who worries that a quicked nail will ruin their dog’s chances at the next trial to the owner who thinks Fluffy might have the plague because he didn’t want to fetch today, the Hounding Hypochondriac is frustratingly common. Vast majority will however be on the very low to mid-low range. Most experienced owners will have a bucket-full of tricks for the most banal of dog-issues and will see the vet after the simplest fixes have been tried and failed.

Step away from the computer. It’s just a little gas.


Catch Phrases:   “How late is the e-vet open?”, “How do you know if your dog is dying?”, “Is that a pimple or a mast cell tumor?”, “I think I need to google that”, “Is poop supposed to be <shade of brown>?”


Wardrobe:  PJs, Scrubs and a purse big enough to contain an entire mobile first-aid kit.  You never know when you will need to intubate your own dog.

And Vera Bradley Purses

Anecdotal Evidence:


BusyBee:  I feel like I live in two worlds-one in which I am surrounded by knowledgeable dog people with good dog sense (i.e. you all), and one in which I am the most savvy dog person around.  In the latter area of my life, I am usually the one who receives worried texts, emails, and phone calls about Fido’s latest malady.  Whether it’s concern over a dog licking his nether regions (why does a dog lick his balls?  because he can, duh), being concerned because a puppy lost a tooth (it’s something they do), to deciphering doggy diarrhea for my friends, I’ve pretty much heard it all.  In terms of poop, yeah,  I’ve pretty much heard every possible “diagnosis” ranging from poisoning to  giardia to late stage stomach cancer.  Pro tip: dogs get diarrhea sometimes.  Shit literally happens.  And if that shit isn’t happening over an extended period of time, relax and take a deep breath before you give yourself stress poops over nothing.

It’s not a tumor

Fang: So that whole working for dog businesses thing? Yeah, I get these assbags and their internet diagnosing counterpart the “Do I need a Vet? Dunce”  All.The.Time. From the 12 year old labrador mix who was freaking out from the word “boarding” (We informed the owner when he arrived to take her home and usually that is the end of any further poop discussions. Three days later, rather than having taken our advice to keep her on the bland diet and bring her to his vet the next day, he had to drag her to the e-vet at 3am and $400 later informed us that we had Parvo and should be shut down… Umm. Pardon? A rapid call back had us clarifying immediately that the vet had not in fact informed him the dog had parvo it was just “On the list of what the internet said it could be.”) to the person who is demanding I give an opinion on their Golden Retriever’s rash since it’s probably ringworm (No, it’s not but I’m not going to tell them that since I’m not their effing vet!) to the idiot who straight up announced to me that their dog was autistic (They clarified by saying it was Asperger’s no doubt thrilling the ASD community to no end) and therefore would never have good manners… So here’s the deal, don’t call me with your Munchausen-by-proxy-server canine conditions. In fact, if we’re really friends you know it’s best not to call me at all unless you need real assistance with something that isn’t trying to talk you off the ledge of stupid you wandered up on to via Google and Dog Forums. I’m apt to push you off while calling you stupid and hanging up on you.


Potnoodle: Much like Busybee, I do have to occasionally interact with non-dog people. These interactions are typically just me repeating “Take him to the vet” over and over again.  In my younger days, I’d occasionally offer the “Give him some pumpkin” or “Try a benadryl” approach but over the years I’ve learned this is enabling and the next thing you know you’ll be bent over a 120 bloodhound pulling out spay stitches while she tries to remove your arm. True story. Lesson learned, and now I sound like a broken record when I’m called for vet advice… even for the most trivial of things.

10 Responses to “Owner Profile: The Hounding Hypochondriac”

  1. catherineduke August 5, 2014 at 2:06 am #

    Hehe, as a former vet tech who spent too much time in a veterinary ICU, I have to stop my brain from jumping to the worst-case scenario whenever something goes wrong with one of my animals. My dog has recurring colitis issues related to the fact that he will eat anything that can feasibly fit into his mouth whether it is food or not. I’m quite careful about leaving things out, but I screw up occasionally and as he’s spewing disgusting substances from both ends my brain goes “ZOMG THIS TIME IT’S PANCREATITIS AND HE IS GOING TO DIE!!!1!!eleventy!111”

    ….then I give him some kaopectate and a bland diet for a few days and he’s fine.

    -My foster kitten snorted a little milk = “ASPIRATION PNEUMONIA AND DEATH!”
    -One of my adult cats has recurring eye inflammation due to herpes = “IT’S GOING TO ULCERATE AND HAVE TO BE REMOVED!”
    -My cats got a mild URI when I stupidly broke quarantine with a foster kitten = “PNEUMONIA AND DEATH!”
    -Dog ate a bee and got stung in the mouth = “ANAPHYLAXIS AND DEATH!”

    I know I’m being absurd, but I still have to talk myself down every time this happens. Maybe my new Zoloft prescription will help. 🙂

    • kitdragon2000 August 5, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

      LOL I think its us in the medical field, because i do the same thing!!! We see so much! so we worry. Buuuuut we usually can figure it out without subjecting a vet to it 😉 (And zoloft works amazingly well!! hehe)

  2. Treacle August 5, 2014 at 3:10 am #

    Ok this one is definitely me. It’s probably been triggered by my BYBed dog’s allergy and demodex issues. Now I’m convinced my new (well bred) puppy is going to have them to, so I’m meticulously checking his skin 2-3 times a day for any signs of a rash beginning. At least he’ll be used to being handled.

  3. Merciel August 5, 2014 at 3:50 am #

    Yeah, I’m mildly guilty of this one.

    I’d like to think I’m getting better over time… but there is a fiiiine line between “appropriately proactive about your sport dog’s conditioning regimen” and “crazy person.”

  4. 25castleson25clouds August 5, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    I once had to call the on call vet because Mity wouldn’t stop licking himself. He assumed that it was nothing and I get why he thought I was being a bit panicked, but he had been licking himself constantly for over 12 hours we took him in. Turns out he had hair caught down his shaft and was in a great amount of discomfort. He was on willie drops for a week. the vets attitude to me totally changed when he realised that I wasn’t just a hypochondriac.

  5. Stacey August 6, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    It’s even worse when other people get on you about your dog. When I was at an agility trial, I had some random person come up to me and ask why my dog was limping. I brushed it off and said he was fine. I didn’t see anything wrong with him. But then I had another person ask me the same thing at another trial. I said no, I think he’s fine. But I kept staring at him looking for a limp I couldn’t see. Then I had a THIRD person ask me what was wrong with my dog. She said he seemed a little off when he was running. So then I became paranoid.

    I called up my vet and said, “A bunch of strangers at agility trials think there’s something wrong with my dog. I don’t know what it is. Can you look at him?” I didn’t have to see his face to know what kind of look he had on it. So I took my dog in and the vet watched him walk and poked around and couldn’t find anything. He looked at me like my dog was fine and I probably spent too much time around crazy people. I asked if there was anything else he could check. I got that look again, but he did more in-depth range of motion exercises. Then there was a yelp. A few x-rays later and he has a spondylosis diagnosis. (Stupid stoic heeler mix.)

    Vindication!!!! I’m not crazy! The random strangers I hang out with are not crazy! (At least not this time!)

  6. RowanVT August 11, 2014 at 5:50 am #

    I’m cursed with my animals… so mine often DO have the bizarre obscure diseases. We never did get an official condition name from whatever auto-immune condition my last dog had. Current puppy has food allergies + atopy and has been in a cone for 5 months because she’ll maul herself bloody in just a couple minutes without it. First dog made scar-tissue cancer, a primary pulmonary adenocarcinoma and an unrelated brain tumor wtf dog, I swear. And there’s the cats with asthma, pica, hx of blockage… And the foster kitten with hydrocephalus, the foster puppy with hydrocephalus, the two different parvo foster dogs, foster kitten with weird congenital gastric emptying time problem that killed the rest of her litter….

    Whenever I get a new animal I spend ages staring at it wondering what obnoxious and strange condition it’s going to contract because they almost always DO! D: *flails*

  7. recovering HH September 12, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    this is me. i literally just had my dogs thyroid tested. why? because an animal communicator (don’t ask, it was a birthday gift) told me that my dog’s throat was tight and he feels that he easily gets tired which is why he’s not doing well in Rally. (and i’m being totally serious) wtf is wrong with me. i was actually was surprised when the vet told me his test results were perfectly normal and my dog’s not doing well in Rally because he’s an asshole and doesn’t want to listen.

  8. ladychaunceybarkington March 2, 2015 at 4:38 am #

    Totally me! BUT the times I persisted something was wrong, we ended up finding Diabetes Insipidis, Degenerative Disc Disease, and kidney disease with heart disease.


  1. Owner Profile: The Do I Need a Vet Dunce | The Dog Snobs - September 9, 2014

    […]  The polar opposite of the “Hounding Hypochondriac”,  the “Do I Need a Vet Dunce” rarely, if ever, gets their dog vet care, at least without […]

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