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Monitoring Your Dog's Health - 10 tips!
Here are a few tips to help you monitor the ongoing health of your dog. Early intervention when there is a health issue can make a real difference to recovery and will generally improve quality of life.
- Eating and drinking.
Most dogs have a consistency to their appetite with which you will become familiar. If appetite is poor for more than a day or two, then you should contact us to arrange a consultation. Similarly daily water intake should not fluctuate substantially without good cause e.g. hot weather or changed diet. Occasionally you may find that your dog will eat grass. This on its own may be a normal activity but if accompanied by other symptoms may need checking out.
- Faeces should be well formed with no sign of
mucous or blood.
If your dog develops diarrhoea which persists for more than two days he may need veterinary attention, particularly if he has gone off form. The quantity and quality of faeces produced and amount of flatulence is largely dependant on the quality of the food. We stock great quality premium brands. You will notice the difference! We also stock probiotics for the natural maintenance of healthy digestion. Watch out for scooting of the bottom which is usually a sign of excessive build-up of fluid in the anal scent glands or worm infestation.
- The coat should be full and good quality with
There should be no sign of excessive thinning or patchiness of the coat or inflammation of the skin. Nutritional supplements are available to help improve the health of the coat and skin. Premium quality food can make coats shine! It is also very important to monitor for fleas and ticks. Highly effective preventative ‘spot on’ preparations are available for monthly application.
Ears should be clean, with no malodour. Regularly lift the flap of the ears and monitor for inflammation or waxy build-up. Periodic cleaning with a solution to dissolve wax may be necessary. Some breeds need to have excess hair plucked from the ear canals on a regular basis. There are also very effective ‘spot on’ products for the prevention of ear mites. We will be happy to give you advice on which products to use.
Eyes should appear bright and shiny with no sign of discharge or sensitivity to the light. Due to conformation anomalies in some breeds there may be some routine tear overflow or build up of mucous at the corner of the eyes. Ask us for advice if you are unsure. Lid margins should be smooth and the white of the eye should appear white.
Nose should appear clean, moist and smooth, with no ulceration or build-up of discharge. There should be no ongoing sneezing, coughing or wheezing. Some breeds are more prone to snoring and snorting due to their conformation. Ask us for advice if you are unsure.
Teeth should be regularly checked for build-up of plaque or tarter. We have a variety of products available to help keep teeth clean including dental kits, dental hygiene chews and toys as well as special foods. The gums should not look inflamed and there should be no excessive amount of malodour from the mouth or lips. Many dogs need regular dental descaling at the vet hospital to prevent periodontal disease and premature loss of teeth.
Nails need to be checked for inadequate wear as they can become ingrown or torn if they become excessively long. Don’t forget to check the dew claws which are located higher up on the foot on the inner surface. We supply nail clippers which we can show you how to use, or if you prefer, we can clip your pet’s nails. Nail quality can usually be improved by a good quality food or nutritional supplement.
- Weight should be monitored closely.
A clear waist should be evident from above and you should be easily able to feel the ribs. There is no good reason for any healthy pet to become overweight given the right mix of diet and exercise. Neutering can sometimes cause pets to burn food more slowly, so it is important to adjust levels of feeding if bodyweight is increasing. We also stock low calorie and weight reduction prescription foods and appetite control supplements. Obesity can cause or exacerbate conditions such as arthritis, heart failure, diabetes, liver failure and difficulty breathing. Always maintain a healthy level of exercise as dietary control is not enough on its own. Excessive weight loss or failure to reach good body condition can be a significant indicator of ill health and it is important that you contact us for a consultation to investigate further.
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- Watch out for behavioural signs.
You know your pet! If they are off form they may show signs such as; not being as responsive as usual, reluctant to get out of bed, having a ‘hang dog’ look, less tolerant of handling, more clingy etc. If such symptoms persist it is important that we carry out a full examination.