Online Peer Support Groups for Dog Owners

If your dog is ill, there is probably a peer support group waiting for you online.

People who have dealt with chronic illness know the value of peer support groups.  These groups provide information, a place to “hang out” and share your stories, a place where people in your situation can help you.  Or at least give you a shoulder to cry on.  But for some reason we tend to think of peer support groups as in-person gatherings that help us deal with human chronic illnesses.  And yet, there are online peer support groups for dog owners whose furry friends have a chronic illness—or who just want advice.  We found that out the hard way—when one of our pugs developed Canine Autoimmune Haemolytic Anaemia or AIHA.

Nobody really understood what we were going through.  To friends and family our little, five-year old pug “was just a dog”; to us she was (and thankfully is) a member of our family.  But the wonderful people at VetNet not only understood; they provided us with advice and, at times I think, with sanity.  The people who post on VetNet are from all over the world –and the one thing they all have in common is that their dog died or is being treated for this disease.  As a result, their collective knowledge is encyclopedic.  In their posts, I found information on the disease itself, drug options, free medicines, relapses, and dealing with stress and grief.  I found out about the questions to ask the vet and what to watch for when we finally got our little one back from the hospital.  And most of all their stories of survival gave me hope when I thought all was lost. 

Of course they are not the only dog peer support group around.  Just google dog owner forums and you will find any number of them here.  (I think Global Paw and  Dog Owner Forum are good general peer support groups but you may prefer others.)

However, if your specific breed has a specific illness you will probably want to google that breed and that illness.  For example, if your Labrador Retriever has a mast cell tumor, you may want to go here .  Whatever the issue though, the Internet is such that there will be a peer support group out there for you. 

And no-one on that support group will tell you, “Oh, it’s just a dog.”

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  1. Debra.

    On December 17, 2008 at 7:17 am

    They are wonderful! You get the most support and information from these groups. You also can share stories whether funny or sad.These little groups are a help to a lot of us dog owners, not only for a major illness but for little health problems too. Often enough you may find a home remedy that works for you.

  2. Debra Mann

    On December 17, 2008 at 7:18 am

    I forgot to add, excellent article, Inna. Something every pet owner should know.

  3. sue mcverry

    On December 17, 2008 at 8:36 am

    That is very useful information. We had a cat who died of the feline version of the same illness. I wish your little dog the best of health.

  4. papaleng

    On December 17, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Thanks Inna for sharing this helpful article. now i don’t have to worry when my dog is ill.

  5. Phil Newton

    On December 18, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up! Who knew?

  6. eddiego65

    On December 20, 2008 at 9:33 am

    A must read for all dog owners!

  7. Matt H

    On December 21, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks so much for this insight!

    -Matt

  8. Gabriel Knight

    On December 22, 2008 at 4:10 am

    An excellent article! Thank you for this!

  9. CHAN LEE PENG

    On December 22, 2008 at 4:29 am

    I strongly recommend this article to dog owners! Take care!

  10. Jamie Lee

    On December 22, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    This is a very good article, very educational, much needed information. Thanks!

    I’m new to Triond. Please read my article on how I came to be a dog lover and leave a comment. THANKS!!!

  11. trishia

    On January 8, 2009 at 5:22 am

    Thank goodness you got help and support for your dog!I don’t own a dog now,but wow!-they are so sensable and dedicated to their families.After loosing a dog some years back,I decided not to become attached again.As time goes by,I’m reconsidering. Thanks for sharing.

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