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Top 12 best books on canine health and care (Updated 2020)


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When it comes to an adventurous pet like a dog, ensuring that it stays fit, healthy, and free from injuries can sometimes be challenging. After all, you cannot rush your pup to the vet for every small health issue. A high-quality guide for canine health and care can be extremely useful in such situations.

In this article, we list some of the best books on canine health and care, based on the survey and feedback from numerous pet parents and experts. These books provide useful information and easy-to-follow tips, tricks, and advice for at-home care of canines.

Whether you are a longtime pet owner or a newbie, you would find these books as excellent resources for providing everyday care to your pooch (and some of them work well for cats, too!). So buckle up and read on!

Do not forget to check out our article on the best dog training guides if you are looking for additional resources on your dog’s routine care. And if you are looking for some homemade dog nutrition resources, check our article on the best dog food cookbooks.

Best books on canine health and care list

Some of the best books on canine health and care available in the market are listed below:

* These books and guides are not a replacement for qualified veterinary consultation. Please consult your vet when necessary.

Which are the best books on canine health and care list?

The Ultimate Pet Health Guide


Year of Publication: First Edition, August 2017.

  • This best-selling comprehensive pet health care guide is authored by a renowned holistic veterinarian and scientist, Dr. Gary Richter, and published by Hay House Inc.
  • In 430 detailed pages, the book offers a multifaceted, integrative medicine approach (conventional + non-traditional) to handling common pet health issues. Suitable for both cats and dogs.
  • The book offers practical and effective approaches to diagnosis, management, and therapy of common pet conditions using traditional and non-traditional treatments.
  • In addition to healthcare advice, the book also has over 50 holistic homemade recipes with detailed instructions.

For Dog’s Sake!Best books on canine health - For Dog's Sake!: A Simple Guide to Protecting Your Pup from Unsafe Foods, Everyday Dangers, and Bad Situations


Year of Publication: First Edition, May 2016.

  • This popular everyday canine care guide is authored by Amy Luwis, co-founder of, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of shelter animals.
  • In 140 concise pages, this guide covers all aspects of everyday care in clearly nine clearly divided sections – accidents and first aid, healthy tips on diet, exercise, and grooming.
  • All the information is presented in a somewhat humorous and easy-to-follow manner with supporting pictures, diagrams, and infographics.
  • Primarily meant for beginner pet owners and teenagers, this book can also act as a reference for experienced dog parents.
  • Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, a portion of the book sales proceeds go directly to’s Veterinary Care Fund.

The Complete Healthy Dog Handbookbest book on canine health - The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook: The Definitive Guide to Keeping Your Pet Happy, Healthy & Active Through Every Stage of Life


Year of Publication: Illustrated Edition, April 2009.

  • This canine care compendium is authored by Dr. Betsy Brevitz and published by the Workman Publishing Company. It is a completely revised and updated version of the famous “The Hound Health Handbook.”
  • In 470+ pages, the book covers everything from how to choose a dog to puppy care, nutrition, vaccines, first aid, and senior care. Well supported by over 100 photos and illustrations.
  • The book also covers more than 100 canine illnesses – both physical and behavioral, as well as the approach to handle them.
  • Because of a comprehensive coverage of the subject, it caters well to both new and experienced pet owners.
  • Because of an early publication year (2009), some of the information on topics such as pet food and vaccinations may be slightly outdated.

The First-Aid Companion for Dogs & Catsbest dog first-aid book - The First-Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats (Prevention Pets)


Year of Publication: First Edition, March 2001.

  • This definitive dog first aid guide is authored by renowned pet care expert and behaviorist Amy D. Shojai – award-winning author of over 25 best-selling pet books.
  • In over 440 pages, the first aid guide covers basic techniques to handle injuries and emergencies. The book also offers a checklist on how to make a pet-friendly first-aid and medicine kit.
  • The first-aid and emergency information is organized into alphabetical order for quick reference and well-supported by simple checklists and sketches.
  • Suitable for both cats and dogs. Despite published in 2001, the book offers accurate and useful information, advice, and tips ideal for current times.
  • Ami Shojai has also authored two popular canine care books for specific canine life stages – Complete Care for Your Aging Dog and Complete Puppy Care.

Dog First Aid: A Field GuideDog First Aid: A Field Guide to Emergency Care for the Outdoor Dog


Year of Publication: Revised Edition, November 1994. Reprinted in 2006 and 2009.

  • This traditional masterpiece is authored by Dr. Randy Acker and Jim Fergus and published by Wilderness Adventures Press. Originally published in 1994 with subsequent reprints in 2006 and 2009.
  • One of the first field guides to focus on first aid and emergencies in the wilderness and other outdoor adventures. All the information is easy to follow and to the point.
  • In 90 odd pages, the book covers injuries and emergencies such as snake bites, gunshot wounds, poisoning, choking, cuts, bleeding, lacerations, dehydration, rashes, and broken bones.
  • Originally published as a 4″ x 6″ spiral-bound book, now available in paperback editions. For a spiral-bound option, check out the Pet Emergency Pocket Guide as an alternative.

Dog First Aid (Red Cross Ready Safety)Dog First Aid (Red Cross Ready Safety)


Year of Publication: Second Edition, January 2008.

  • This comprehensive, everyday first aid guide for dogs is authored by Christine McLaughlin based on the American National Red Cross’s years of experience handling pet emergencies.
  • In 100+ pages, the book presents up-to-date and accurate information on handling emergencies such as choking, bleeding, trauma, and poisoning with effective and affordable procedures like CPR, dressing wounds, and making slings.
  • In addition to emergency situations, the book also contains useful information on routine pet care and health.
  • The paperback/spiral-bound version of this comprehensive guide also comes with a DVD for visual learning.

Caring for Your DogCaring for Your Dog: The Complete Canine Home Reference


Year of Publication: First Edition, October 2002.

  • This complete canine home reference guide is authored by the best-selling practicing veterinarian, Dr. Bruce Fogle, and published by DK Publishing as part of the “Complete Pet Reference” series.
  • In 440 detailed pages, this comprehensive book provides professional-quality medical advice on diagnosing and handling common canine diseases and disorders in dogs of all stages of life. Also has a full section on “First Aid and Emergencies” for everyday preparedness.
  • The information is presented in a clear, easy-to-follow manner, supported by sidebars and flowcharts and over 600 full-color illustrations.
  • The book also has an informative Q & A section for quick reference. Overall, it is a useful reference guide to consult before visiting a vet, especially for experienced pet parents.

Dog Health and Nutrition For DummiesDog Health and Nutrition For Dummies


Year of Publication: First Edition, June 2001.

  • This beginner canine care and health guide is authored by Dr. M. Christine Zink, renowned canine sports medicine consultant and a professor at Johns Hopkins University.
  • In 380 pages, this book expert advice and tips on basic canine healthcare, injuries, and nutrition as well as recognizing and treating common ailments and caring for the canine senior.
  • Written in the true “For Dummies” style, the book offers useful information in a friendly and easy-to-understand language with many sidebars, information nuggets, and illustrations.
  • The book also offers clear and concise advice on building a canine first aid kit and handling common emergencies and injuries.
  • For some periodic e-Tips associated with pet care, you can also sign-up at

Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary HandbookDog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook


Year of Publication: Fourth Edition, August 2007.

  • This best-selling pet care guide is authored by Dr. Debra M. Eldredge, Dr. Liisa D. Carlson, Dr. Delbert G. Carlson, Dr. James M. Giffin, and edited by Beth Adelman for Howell Book House. A popular, authoritative reference for over 25 years.
  • In more than 650 pages, the fully-revised and updated fourth edition provides up-to-date and accurate information on how to take care of your dog (or dogs) at all ages and stages of life – from pediatric to geriatric.
  • Although written primarily for experienced and academic-minded pet parents, the book presents the information in an easy-to-understand manner supported by illustrations and diagrams.
  • This book is a great resource to identify when it is time to visit the vet and what data can help with the diagnosis.

The Nature of Animal HealingThe Nature of Animal Healing : The Definitive Holistic Medicine Guide to Caring for Your Dog and Cat


  • Kindle
  • Paperback
  • Hardcover
  • Audiobook

Year of Publication: Paperback Edition, June 2000. Hardcover edition, 1999.

  • This holistic medicine and natural healing pet care guide is authored by Dr. Martin Goldstein, one of America’s most successful, renowned holistic veterinarian.
  • In this exhaustive 350+ page guide, the author covers all aspects of pet care and ailment treatment using alternative medicine techniques and diet adjustments. The content is divided into three sections – understanding diseases, taking action, and understanding the spiritual side of pets.
  • The book also offers specific guidance for the use of herbs, supplements, and natural remedies for curing pet conditions. Suitable for both dogs and cats.
  • All the information is presented in a clear, concise, and compassionate manner, well-supported by anecdotes from the author’s own experiences.

Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & CatsDr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats (4th Edition)


Year of Publication: Fourth Edition, March 2017.

  • This traditional masterpiece is authored by Richard H. Pitcairn and Susan Hubble Pitcairn. Dr. Pitcairn was the founder of Animal Natural Health Center in Oregon and a pioneer in utilizing holistic methods and homeopathy in treating animals.
  • This book has been the go-to resource for health-conscious animal lovers who believe in holistic care and nutrition for over 30 years.
  • In 500 detailed pages, the book is tailored towards providing a holistic homemade diet to dogs and cats without using any commercial products.
  • The fourth edition has been updated with the latest information in natural pet health, including groundbreaking research on the benefits of vegan diets for pets and making nutritionally complete food for pets.
  • The book also discusses emotional and behavior issues in pets, general nutrition, and a humane approach to caring for pets.

Veterinary Secrets: Natural Health for Dogs and CatsVeterinary Secrets: Natural Health for Dogs and Cats


Year of Publication: First Edition, May 2014.

  • This another popular holistic pet care guide is authored by former practitioner vet and natural healthcare expert Dr. Andrew T. Jones. The book is published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
  • In 460 odd pages, the book provides comprehensive yet easy-to-follow information on non-traditional and natural pet care, with only limited reliance on conventional medicine.
  • The book also offers over 1000 safe, natural, and effective remedies for the most common dog and cat health problems – both physical and behavioral.
  • The book also presents a glimpse into the author’s transformation from a traditional medicine vet to a non-traditional one. The book is supported by supplementary material on the author’s website.

Additional Resources for canine health and care

In addition to the best books on canine health and care listed above, there are some other excellent online resources that provide the latest information and tips and tricks for home care and remedies. These resources are listed below:

  • Veterinary Partner Portal: The premier online resource to provide pet-owners, veterinarians, and common people with the information and tools to provide proper care to their pets. Affiliated with the 30-year old – an online professional vet organization. VIN also provides a less formal client education blog called VetzInsight.
  • ACVS Small Animal Portal: American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) is the AVMA-recognized specialty board that sets the standards for advanced professionalism in veterinary surgery and provides veterinarian certification. The ACVS small animal portal provides essential information and advice on major health issues in cats, dogs, and other pets in an alphabetically-indexed format.
  • Washington State University Pet Health Topics Portal: Managed by the Washington State University College of Veterinary Science, this portal provides useful information about when to seek veterinary care and how to talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s healthcare needs.
  • ASPCA Dog Care Portal: The website of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Offers a wide range of dog health and behavior tips that help pet parents and caregivers provide the best possible care to their canine companions.
  • HealthCare for Pets YouTube Channel: A popular YouTube channel with some excellent videos on how to handle everyday care as well as emergencies.

Also, check out the following video on some useful dog first aid tips to get you started. If you are looking for a fully-stocked dog first aid kit, check our article on the best dog first-aid kits.


How to pick the best books on canine health and care for your needs?

Picking the best canine health care guide is not much different from picking up any other pet training guide. The best canine care book is the one that fulfills most of your requirements and provides accurate information on routine care and emergencies in an easy-to-follow manner.

Just like any other pet training materials, no single book may be sufficient. You may need a combination of resources- both online and offline to cover all aspects of handling pet emergencies and at-home canine care. Moreover, these books are not a replacement for qualified veterinary consultations, and you should always contact a vet in case the situation worsens.

Without going into too much detail, the major factors you should consider while picking the best book for canine health and care are listed below:

  • Primary Purpose and Type of Content
  • Level and format of the book
  • Popularity, reviews, and ratings
  • Publication year of the edition

Primary Purpose and Type of Content

The primary purpose of the canine care guide is an important factor as it governs the type of content you should look for in a book.

In our list, we have covered four broad categories of canine health guides:

  • Books that cover the basics of canine health and care: This is probably the most popular category for canine care guides because of their hands-on writing styles. These books offer basic, easy-to-follow information on everyday pet care as well as handling emergencies without going too much into medical details. These books are perfect for novices and first-type dog owners. Caring for Your Dog and For Dog’s Sake! are two such guides.
  • Books on canine first aid and emergency care: These books are primarily meant to handle injuries and other emergency situations such as dehydration, allergies, and rashes. Many of these books are also suitable for felines. The First-Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats and Dog First Aid: A Field Guide are two such books.
  • Books on home-remedies and holistic health care for pets: These books focus on holistic and non-traditional approaches to pet care including home remedies and natural healing. The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook and Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats are two of the most popular books in this category.
  • Advanced books on canine health and care: These books are more comprehensive and detailed and primarily meant for experienced pet parents. They are also helpful in identifying the situations in which veterinary consultation is necessary and the main things to capture before opting for a vet consultation. Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook is one advanced reference to consider.

Depending upon your primary purpose and requirements, you can pick the best book for canine health and care. It is always a good idea to choose a couple of books from different categories.

Level and format of the book

The level and format of the book is also something to check out before picking the best book for canine health and care.

The format of the information presented in the book is also something to check out. Almost all the books that we have listed above have an easy-to-follow style filled with illustrations, anecdotes and clear and concise instructions, so you can pick one based on your experience level as a pet owner.

You would not have any issues following the information, advice, or suggestions presented in our selection. Still, you can utilize the “Look Inside” feature on the Amazon website to get a preview of the book. You can also check for excerpts for the book in Google online bookstore to determine if the presentation style is suitable for you.

Furthermore, if you prefer digital editions, then check if the book is available in Kindle format for easy access. Kindle editions are generally cheaper, too, and also available with the Kindle Unlimited service.

Popularity, Reviews, and Ratings

The popularity of the author, publisher, and book is often a great indicator of how the book would turn out to be.

Most of the books listed above have been written by veterinarians and experts and edited by publishers with considerable experience in the field of everyday canine care, emergencies and health, so you can trust the information given in them.

Still, as one size does not fit all, you should look at the reviews, especially by other experts and authors in the field. Check out the reviews on Amazon and platforms such as GoodReads by other readers to determine its suitability.

Publication year of the edition

When it comes to canine health and care, the publication year of the current edition is as important as, if not more, as in the case of other pet training guides. While the fundamentals might not have changed, many advancements have been made in the past decade, especially in the field of conventional veterinary science.

So check the publication year of the books and see that none of them are from the previous century, especially before picking the best books on conventional canine health and care. Of course, traditional best-sellers in holistic care, canine first aid, and emergency care such as the Dog First Aid: A Field Guide are still entirely accurate and relevant.

Final Thoughts on the best books on canine health and care

Every pet parent wants to ensure a healthy and happy life for their beloved pet(s). However, consulting a vet for minor health issues and everyday care is not always possible (and not always economically viable). A good canine care guide is a perfect resource to refer to for such advice.

In this article, we listed some of the best books on canine health and care, authored by renowned vets, pet nutritionists, and canine care experts in the field.

Although they are not replacements for qualified veterinary consultation, these books provide some excellent information, tips, and tricks for complete at-home care of your canines (and some work for cats and horses, too!).

We also shared some additional resources to take care of your beloved pet and handle injuries and emergency situations.

We hope you found this article useful, and it would help you pick the best canine health care book or guide for your pooch. Do let us know your feedback by commenting below. Until next time, happy dog care!!

Image credits:



Robert Dunfee