When you get a dog, you’re making a lifelong commitment. Dogs are like toddlers in the way that they constantly need your guidance, and they depend on you to survive. Whilst dogs are more independent creatures, they crave human contact and comfort. To make sure your pooch stays in the prime of their health, for this reason, as a pet owner you should regularly check them over for signs of health problems. Here’s a few ideas on what to do and what to look out for.
First of all, flea and worm treatments should be done regularly without fail. You never know when your dog may pick up a hitchhiker they’re powerless against. As the pet owner, your job is to defend your puppy against any difficulties like these. Every 2 to 3 months is a good timespan for these kind of checks.
Pat Over Their Body
Check their abdomen for any distortions or bumps. Any drastic changes in your dog’s shape or size could be a sign of something going on deep in their digestion, and so needs to be monitored. It could be a fat lump, it could be something else.
Combing through their fur regularly means you’ll keep a track of fleas and any other bugs that have decided to hitch a ride. Combing also means matted fur will be kept in check and not cause your pooch any soreness. It also works well to avoid any shaggy fur, and being done outside means less shed over your carpet. Having a hairbrush makes life easier all round!
Look in Their Mouths
If you notice that your dog’s bad breath has become more of a problem than usual, you might need to give their mouth a check over. Gently lift up the flaps of their mouth and see the color of their gums. Make sure their teeth aren’t chipped, discolored or broken, as all these things could constitute a trip to the vet’s.
Bad breath could be a sign of something wrong with your dog’s gastrointestinal tract, which also needs a vet’s trip.
Check Their Paws Over
Lumps and bumps on a dog’s paws can mean they’ve stepped in something they’re allergic to, have cut their paws open, or a sign of something a little more serious. Don’t jump to the worst conclusions however, but do book a vet’s appointment just to be safe. Dog allergies are more common than you might think, and thus affect your dog during the high season of summer and the cold of winter.
Also be sure to keep an eye on their claw length. These may need to be cut down if your dog doesn’t regularly walk, run, or play on surfaces that keep them cut down for you. Considering most back yards and gardens are made of grass, this can be a bit of a problem. Long claws not only hurt more when your four legged friend paws at you, but also means they can get stuck more often and chip them painfully. No one likes hearing their dog yelp in pain, so keep an eye out for overly long nails.
To help this, long and regular walks can also wear these down for you. Exercising your dog has many more benefits than just using up their energy. It’s a joint activity for you both!
Watch Over Their Airways
Make sure your dog can breathe properly, first and foremost. This can be a great difficulty in small dogs like pugs, whose snouts are not as long as they should be. Breathing should be smooth and not heavy.
Make sure there’s no obstructions to their nostrils, and that the nose itself is moist. You also need to see if their nose is too wet, as dripping can be a sign of a health problem. Don’t wipe off any fluid, as this is important for a dog’s health, and can also cause overproduction if it’s being removed by an outside source.
If your dog doesn’t like being touched in any area, this could be a sign of pain or discomfort, so keep an eye on that body part. It also could mean you need to take a trip to the vet’s, as aggressive behaviour like this isn’t good for anyone involved. Guests, and their children, may be snapped at by a dog who’s in pain, despite them being gentle otherwise. Check over your dog at least once every couple of weeks to avoid any of these common signs from turning into worse problems.