Our number one goal as a pet parent is our dogs health. We want them to live long, happy and healthy lives.
It can be tricky sometimes to know what is going on with them, which is why we have a relationship with our veterinarians. Our vet can tell us more about health issues our dogs are having. However we, as pet parents play a major role in it too, as we know our dogs best. We know their eating habits, sleeping habits, their favorite dog toys, foods and blanket. We know where their safe place is and that special spot they like to be rubbed. We know their smell, and sometimes understand what they are communicating to us. We often can tell when something is not right with our beloved family member. Relaying this information to our veterinarian can help them make proper diagnosis and treatment plans when something is wrong.
If you’re like me I can’t remember all the small details that happened last week. Writing down a few things I can refer back to helps me keep the timeline on track. I have created a check list of daily, weekly and monthly things to check to make sure our pups are in the best health conditions possible. By doing a quick once over, we can catch potential problems and deal with them before they become more serious.
◦ Behavior – Changes in behavior and temperament can be an indicator of poor health or injury. A healthy dog is energetic and alert.
◦ Eating/ drinking- A healthy dog has a good appetite and will eat their regular meals. If they are turning down food this could indicate something is not right.
◦ Poop/urination- A healthy poop is compare to a tootsie roll. Well formed and easy to pick up. Occasional lose stools are not concerning. However, any blood, continuous diarrhea or straining could mean a more serious issue and should be checked out immediately.
◦ Temperature – A normal rectal temperature while resting is around 100.2-103.8. Get to know what your dog’s temperature when they are healthy. High or low temperatures can mean infection or circulatory problems.
The daily checks are quick and easy to do. Something many of you probably already do. A list gives you something to reference back to so that you can narrow down when potential symptoms start.
◦ Mouth-A healthy mouth will display clean white teeth and healthy shiny gums. Their breath although not pleasant won’t be foul. If it is can indicate issues in the gut. Check for signs of gingivitis. Poor dental health can lead to organ problems.
◦ Nose- Depending on your dog, A healthy nose can be cold and wet… or warm and dry. There should never be any discharge or sores.
◦ Eyes- Healthy eyes should be bright and clear. While the pupils should react to light and shadows. In older dogs, they can develop a white film over their eyes which is from degeneration. There shouldn’t be excessive tearing, redness or discharge.
◦ Ears- A health ear should be clean, free of any build up and smell “normal”. A strong smell or dark discharge could mean infection. Head tilting, shaking or scratching at their ears could mean a problem.
◦ Skin/ coat- Healthy skin and coat will show a shiny and springy coat with not presents of flakes, with normal shedding. Excessive shedding, dry, broken, dullness or smell can indicate something is wrong.
◦ Feet- Their feet pick up everything. Checking them for foreign objects, cracks, strong smell or Brocken toenails.
A weekly check allows you to get to know your dog better. With many of these allowing you to make sure their diet is balanced and allowing them all the nutrients they need for that stage of life.
◦ Weight- Dogs at a healthy weight are less likely to develop health issues. A healthy weight should have a slight waist and an abdomen that is tucked up. It will vary slightly depending on bread.
◦ Under any folds and groin area- This is a more thorough body check. Checking for open wounds, red inflamed area, and the anal glands. Which will be free of any inflammation or soreness.
◦ Flea and tick prevention – Parasites are pesky and can cause health issues. So while checking the body for any sore, do a once over for any parasites that may have found their way onto your dog. If you do give your dog/s flea and tick medicine this will be the time and will help keep you on schedule. Or any other parasite preventions.
We want the best for our dogs. We want to do everything we can to make their lives as happy as possible. So keeping an eye on their overall health is one of the most important things we can do!