Keeping our furbuddies happy and healthy is a top priority. In this article I have listed some tips to help maintain our dogs health. Our dogs rely on us to look after all their needs so it is vital we know we are caring for our dogs in the correct manner. Knowing all their habits and likes and dislikes and noticing changes is a good indicator if something is bothering them. There are a few things to keep an eye on to ensure the health and well-being of our dogs.
Regular vet checks
Regular trips to the vet for a check-up is good practice for any dog owner. Regular health checks can identify any issues quickly, also your vet can provide you with great knowledge and advice. Keeping vaccinations up to date is also a priority, as they can prevent your dog from serious and potentially fatal diseases. Some vets run regular health check clinics on a drop-in basis.
Regular worming tablets and flea/tick ointments are widely available and should be administered regularly. Always check your dog for ticks after a walk, especially if your dog likes being in long grass. Remove the tick immediately preferably with a tool designed for this purpose as it is important the head of a tick is removed to prevent your dog from tick-borne illnesses. Your vet can assist with this if you are unsure.
Checking your dog all over on a regular basis is an ideal way to know when issues arise and to deal with them.
Your furbuddy should have soft and even skin. No growths or scabs should be present. There should be no white flakes or red areas on their skin. A dog skin can range in colour depending on their breed. Ranging from black, brown, pale pink, or spotted. Checking your dog skin for parasites such as ticks or fleas should be done regularly. A good way to check is to brush hair backward to see if any ticks are clinging to the skin or small flecks move around. Biting at a particular area is also something to be checked. Flea droppings are identifiable as black specks on your dog skin.
Signs of a healthy coat is it should be pliable and glossy. No bald areas or dandruff and there should be no excessive dryness or oiliness. This is the case for long and short hair coats.
Bright and shiny, white of eyes should be clear with no yellow tinge are signs of healthy eyes. Any tears should be clear not excessive. There should be no swelling, discharge, or inflammation and there should be no eyelashes rubbing the eyeball causing irritation.
It is important to keep any dogs ears dry on the inside and out and to keep them clean. This is especially important for long-eared dogs. The skin inside the ears should be a light pink colour, yellow or brownish wax is normal but there should not be a large amount. Redness or swelling indicates an issue as does frequent scratching or shaking of the head.
- Teeth and gums
It is important to keep your dogs mouth healthy, infections in the mouth can contribute to issues in other parts of the body. This can include the heart, a healthy mouth is of high importance. Firm gums that are pink, black, or spotted like the dog skin are signs of healthy gums. Brushing your dog teeth should be a regular occurrence to prevent plaque and tartar. Most vets have a regular dental clinic.
A dog’s nose can vary in colour too, black, pink, or the same colour as the coat, it is usually cool and wet to the touch. Contrary to popular belief a dry warm nose does not always mean your dog is unwell. Healthy nasal discharge should be clear and odourless. Yellow, thick, or smelly discharge should be checked.
Regular grooming at home is a good way to identify any skin issues. It is also a good way to feel if any lumps or bumps have appeared. Brushing at home from an early age is a good way to get your pooch ready for the salon, and for some dogs it can be a nice experience. Depending on the breed of the dog, coat and hair length professional grooming is important. Bathing and brushing can prevent issues with matting and knotting of the coat.
A great tool for de-shedding at home.
Keeping our dogs at a healthy weight is important to ensure good health. Like us humans a healthy weight is a result of a balance of food and exercise. A dogs rib should visible and should be felt under the skin, extra padding around this area suggests the dog is overweight. There are many health issues that arise through obesity. It is a good idea not to give too many treats or between-meal snacks, especially if there are mobility issues that prevent regular exercise. If there are no issues around food or exercise and your pooch appears over or underweight then it’s a good idea to have a trip to the vet.
Diet and nutrition play an important role in the health of our dogs.
When to call the vet
Seek veterinary advice if your dog displays any of the symptoms listed below.
- Vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive urination for more than twelve hours.
- Loss of balance.
- Bowel or bladder issues.
- Runny eyes or nose.
- Persistent scratching at eyes or ears.
- Thick discharge from eyes, ears, or nose.
- Coughing or sneezing.
- Difficulty breathing, prolonged panting.
- Whining for no apparent reason.
- Loss of appetite for 24 hours or more.
- Weight loss.
- Dramatic increase in appetite for 24 hours or more.
- Increased restlessness.
- Excessive sleeping or unusual lack of activity.
- Limping, holding, or protecting part of the body.
- Excessive drinking of water.
- White gums.
A happy healthy dog
All of us want our dogs to be as happy and healthy as possible. Looking after their basic needs and giving as much love and attention as possible will make for a happy and healthy furbuddy. Nutritious food, exercise, and play are important to their well-being. Ensuring regular health checks and vaccinations are up to date is of utmost importance.
Toys, boredom busters, and a comfortable bed in a warm secure space also makes for a happy healthy pooch.
I hope this article has been helpful to you.
Feel free to leave a comment below and a photo of your own furbuddy.