By the Dog Walkers City team
Our dogs are considered family members and of course we want them to be healthy.
Contrary to popular belief, one does not need to be a veterinarian or animal specialist in order to conduct basic health checks for dogs and by keeping a watchful eye on their demeanor, behaviors and overall appearance, we are often able to spot health ailments when they first appear as well as prevent other, more serious ones.
Here are 10 weekly health checks for dogs that you can do to ensure the health and safety of your beloved pet.
1. Monitor Their Diets
Dogs need a routine eating schedule and most aren’t finicky eaters. They also tend to get dehydrated quickly which is why you should be seeing your dog drinking regularly throughout the day and evening. One of the surest signs that your dog is under the weather is any marked change in their desire to eat and drink. Changes such as lack of interest in eating or infrequent drinking are signs that your dog needs to visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.
2. Full Body Scans
Like humans, dogs are susceptible to a myriad of health ailments and diseases and also like humans their bodies will show signs of pending dangers. Once per week make it a point to give your canine a full body scan or rub. Begin at the head and work your way down and across their entire body, carefully feeling for and keeping an eye out for lumps, scabs, and swelling. Use enough pressure that you can feel for internal lumps that aren’t necessarily visible or noticeable and this will also be a good indicator of any discomfort as the dog will squeal or show signs of discomfort if you touch upon areas that are inflamed or sensitive. Don’t forget to check the under belly, areas near the buttocks and behind the ears as these are popular places for ticks to make their home as well.
3. Bowel and Urination
Each week it is important to check not only the bowel movements of your dog but also their urine. A healthy dog should relieve themselves numerous times per day (younger dogs more frequently) and thus if you notice that your dog is not doing so, it could indicate a kidney or bladder problem.
Owners should also take notice of the coloration and consistency of bowels and urine. Urine should never have a discolored or clouded color and bowels should be firm. Both the bowel movements and urine should also be free of blood or mucus; if you notice any of these within the stools or urine make an appointment with your vet.
4. See Spot Run
Talking your dog on daily walks in not only important for their weight and heart, but it is also an effective way to notice their movement, muscle tone and gauge their energy levels. While walking, make sure that their stance is balanced and mobile and that they aren’t exhibiting any signs of discomfort when walking and running. All of these are signs that something may be amiss, especially if they are less active than usual.
5. Weight Management
Although we can’t technically place our dogs on a scale to ensure there are not packing on the pounds, keeping a keen eye out on their overall physique is simple. Dogs should not have “pot bellies" and for the most part should have trim frames and physiques which is the best way for them to remain healthy.
Keep your dog on a well balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and nutrients and make sure they are getting enough exercise. If your dog appears to be gaining weight consult your veterinarian and they can assist in a new eating plan and exercise regime.
6. Dental Hygiene and Checks
Far too many dog owners do not pay attention to oral hygiene with their dogs. Many assume that giving them treats that claim to remove plaque is enough; this is a myth and dogs needs to have their teeth brushed regularly just as humans do.
It is also important to do a weekly mouth check which includes looking at the coloring of the gums and sides of the mouth and looking for discoloration or inflammation, as well as running your fingers along the gum line and teeth to check for swelling or lose teeth.
7. Ear Health
Conducting weekly ear checks is also important. While we don’t have the equipment to look deep within the canals for infections, we do need to inspect them regularly for any drainage or build up of wax which can easily be removed with a cotton swab. Additionally, take notice whether your dog continues to respond to you as they normally would and if you notice a lag in their response, have them checked out by your vet as this can be a sign of hearing loss.
8. Healthy Noses
Dogs’ noses should always be moist and cooler in temperature than the rest of their bodies even when they are not just coming in from the outdoors. Check for any signs of drainage or leaking from the nose as well as scabbing or discoloration as these can be signs of an issue.
9. Feet Hygiene
This can be done while you are performing your full body scan and should also be done weekly. It is important that dog owners keep their canine’s toenails cut short as long ones can be a breeding ground for bacteria and it is also painful for the dog when they walk and run.
Carefully check in between each of the toes while looking for any cuts, scrapes, bumps or signs of discomfort or infection. If you trim you dog’s nails on your own, be careful when doing so as not to cause injury and bleeding.
10. Eye Inspections
Vision problems are common in some breeds of dogs particularly when they age. Dogs that show signs of leakage or discharge from the eyes need to be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Also inspect your dog’s pupils to ensure that they are not overly dilated or under-dilated as this is also a sign of vision issues.
This article was written by the Dog Walkers City team. Dog Walkers City is the web directory of dog walkers and sitters. Search in your area or sign up today.