- Do you carry out frequent health checks on your dog at home?
- Would you know what to look for?
- Its best if the same person carries out these checks on a weekly basis
Carrying out a weekly check on your dog’s health, is a brilliant way to give him some extra attention and to bond with him. Frequent checks will allow you to become familiar with his body and more likely to spot any changes. If caught early, many health and behaviour issues are probably curable or treatable, so make a point of checking your pet on a certain day each week.
How to check your dog over
Grooming – Begin by grooming your dog. Of course any long-haired breeds will need grooming more frequently, but regular grooming removes any hair tangles and mats, and you can also check for ticks or fleas.
Body and head – Now run your hands over his body and head, feeling as you stroke for any unusual bumps or lumps.
Eyes – Open each of your dog’s eyes gently, using your thumb and forefinger to check for any grit or discharge
Nose – Inspect his nostrils, ensuring they are dry and clean with no discharge. A healthy dog’s nose is usually always moist and cool.
Ears – check both the outside and inside of each ear, lifting and opening the ear flaps. Clean away any wax with a solution specifically for cleaning pet’s ears. Never use a cotton wool bud or similar to prod into the ear, as this can very easily cause damage.
Mouth – Inspect his mouth and smell his breath. A dog’s breath isn’t usually sweet-smelling but you should notice any unpleasantness that could mean an infection is present. Inspect the dog’s teeth, tongue and gums for cleanliness.
Feet and toes – Check for any skin splits around the webbing area of the toes, especially for any grass seeds that can become lodged under the skin. Make sure that the fur around the toes isn’t too long, and that the nails are short and trimmed. His paw pads should be smooth without cuts or blisters.
Tail and bottom – Make sure this area isn’t overly smelly and that it’s clean, trimming away any long hair. During the week, you should also check the bowel movements of your pet and also their urine. A bladder or kidney problem can usually be diagnosed if they do not relieve themselves several times a day.
Weight – Obesity in canines is an increasing problem that can cause many health issues. If you feel that your pet is overweight, this may be the chance you have to commence a weight control programme, and to weigh him weekly and note his progress. Monitor his feeding habits, as changes such as infrequent drinking or no appetite are signs that your dog may need expert treatment.
Reproductive organs – On a male dog check the penis and testicles, and vagina and mammary glands on a bitch.
Walking and running – Taking your pet on a daily dog walk, is not only an effective way to notice their energy levels, muscle tone and movement, but is also important for their heart and weight control. When walking or running, take note if they have proper balance, and that they don’t exhibit any show of discomfort when exercising.. We are very lucky to have some great open spaces in and around Finchley for some lovely dog walks without actually hving to go that far from home
Hopefully, you will only need to make an appointment at your vets once a year, for annual vaccinations, or for worming and flea regimes, but it’s also a good idea to ask for a regular dog’s health check, especially if you notice anything untoward during your weekly inspections.