Published on October 17th, 2014 | by Debbie Martin0
Keep an Eye on Your Dog’s Health Between Vet Visits
In order to safeguard your dog’s health, it is important to give them a check-up between vet visits so that you can monitor their ongoing status. If you are paying attention to your dog’s health, you will be able to spot a health problem early which will make a big difference in recovery and quality of life.
So what type of things should you be looking for when you are monitoring your dog’s health? Here are some important factors you should be aware of:
Are They Eating or Drinking Less Than Usual?
You know what your dog’s usual appetite should be, so if they start to lose interest in food this can be a danger sign that something is wrong. If they have a poor appetite for more than a couple of days or they start to eat grass, this can be a sign of a stomach problem and you should visit the vet.
Also water intake shouldn’t fluctuate too much, beyond a natural fluctuation due to hot weather. This is another tell-tale sign that your dog isn’t feeling well.
Do Their Droppings Look Normal?
When your dog does their business outside, take a look to see that everything looks normal. If your dog has loose stools for more than two days, this can be a sign that there is something wrong and he needs to see the vet. Also watch out for signs of mucus or blood in the stool, which is again another warning sign. If your dog is scooting his bottom on the ground or carpet, this is another red flag as it might be a sign of a worm infestation or swollen anal scent glands.
Does Your Dog’s Coat and Skin Look Healthy?
When you brush your dog take a look at the state of their fur and skin. Do you see any signs of thinning fur, patchiness, or inflammation of the skin? Look closely for any parasites such as ticks and fleas. If you find that there is a problem with your pet’s skin or coat, your vet might recommend changing the dog’s diet to provide it with better nutrients. When it comes to parasites there are treatments and “spot on” products that you can apply every month.
Are Your Dog’s Ears Clean?
Lift up your dog’s ears and look inside – do you see any waxy build up or inflammation? Sometimes ticks and ear mites can hide within your dog’s ears, so check them often and take note if your dog starts scratching their ears more often. There are cleaning solutions that you can use to dissolve the ear wax, but if you discover that your dog has ear mites you will need to take him to the vet.
Are They At a Healthy Weight?
It is important to ensure that your dog is at a healthy weight, because being obese can put them at risk for problems such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and more. It can be hard to tell your dog’s weight if he is very fluffy, so reach your hands around his abdomen and feel for his ribs and waist. If there is a layer of fat there, talk to your vet about a weight loss diet.
Are Your Dog’s Teeth Clean?
Most people don’t realise that they need to brush their dog’s teeth, so their canine friend develops gum infections and dental decay. This can cause them to go off their food and can be very painful and serious. Ask your vet to show you where to find dog-friendly toothpaste (don’t use human toothpaste) and how to brush your furry friend’s teeth.
Is Your Dog Having Trouble Moving?
As your dog gets older they can start to develop arthritis and other joint and bone problems particularly in the back legs, which can make it very difficult for them to move around. Do you notice that your dog is having trouble getting from a lying down position up to standing, or are they stiff in the evening after they have been out on a walk? You might want to take them to the vet for an examination.
Giving your dog a check-up at home is very convenient and it can be done as often as you like. It can simply be incorporated into the daily grooming routine and it can even be a nice bonding moment with your pet. By checking on your pet often you will be able to spot any health problems early so that you can seek treatment as soon as possible.