You take your dog’s health for granted when Fido greets you like his long lost love every time you come home. He gazes at you with compassion and sighs and whimpers when you are sick. He puts up with all your moods and bad habits. So it’s natural that you would want him around for a long time and that your dogs health is very important to you. What are some of the things you can do for him?
The very first thing is, unless you plan to breed your dog, is to neuter Fido and spay Fida. Too many unwanted dogs have to be put down each year and we simply do not need any more Fidettes. Plus spaying and neutering will keep your dog from a frantic and unsafe escape and things will be much for comfortable for him and for you. Spaying and neutering are basic to dog health.
Dogs are susceptible to about 60 types of disease, 20 of them transmittable to humans. Make sure your dog’s health is protected by vaccinations. The basic shot is the DHLPP, an all in one shot that covers distemper, hepatitis, leptspirosis, parvo virus, and parainfluenza. Make sure Fido also gets his rabies shot and periodic worming. All these shots need boosters but the common practice of giving boosters once a year has become controversial, some vets saying that not only are they unnecessary, but that they can cause disease. Talk to your vet about this.
There is probably nothing that causes more dog misery than the common old flea. If Fido has fleas, he is miserable, scratching, biting, itching. A simple few fleas can flare up into a major allergy. If you see tiny shiny black specs on Fido, these are fleas and he has fleas. He should be treated right away. The best things since sliced bread are the flea and tick insecticides that you buy from your vet and apply between Fido’s shoulder blades. The fleas will be dead in about an hour and each treatment lasts a month. There are also flea baths, powders, and lotions.
Routine grooming is good for the dog’s mental and physical health, keeping the dog’s skin, coat, teeth, gums, and nails healthy. Brush Fido’s teeth daily and also brush his hair. Trim nails as needed and bathe as needed. Some dogs do not shed and will need their hair cut periodically.
Fido need daily exercise and so do you, so why don’t you both take a daily walk. You can also play ball games, Frisbee, and tug of war, among many other games. Fido needs some toys like nylon chew bones, chew-able rubber toys, or plush toys if he is not the type of dog who will tear these to bits in one minute.
Some routine checks would include examining hair and skin. Is the hair coat greasy and/or smelly? Is the skin color normal gray white, with no dandruff like scales? Does the cog smell rancid, rank, or fishy? These are all sign of poor health.
Check for matter at the corners of Fido’s eyes. Look at the undersides of his bottom eyelids. Are they red?
Look into ear holes. Are they waxy, oily, smelly?
Check Fido’s teeth for a red line on the gums along the roots of his teeth. Check his teeth for brown deposit. Does his breath knock you flat? All are sign of dental problems that can seriously impact your dog’s health.
It should not need to be said, but dogs die every year from being left in cars. Do not leave a dog in the car when the weather is warm; not ever, not even for a minute.
Fido can’t tell you when he is sick and needs to see a doctor but most of the following behaviors should tell you to take him to the vet.
- Dog is choking, gagging, drooling, or pawing at his mouth. This indicates something may be stuck in his mouth.
- His ears are hot. He may have a fever
- He keeps straining but is unable to have a bowel movement. He may be constipated or he may have an obstruction of the bowels.
- Dog cries, crouches or tenses, trembles, has heaving breathing. He may be poisoned or experiencing pain from swallowing a sharp object
- Dog has convulsions, thrashing on floor, glassy-eyed, foaming, rigid. Possible epilepsy, or poison, possible hypoglycemia.
- Nervous panting and pacing. Possible pain or discomfort of some sort. Watch carefully.
- Squatting many times but not urinating or just dribbling. He may have a bladder or kidney infection.
- Skin inside of ears is bright pink rather than pale. There is a bad odor for ear and/or constant scratching of ears. Dog has a possible ear infection or ear mites.
- Pale mucus membranes, heavy breathing, extremities cold. Dog may be in shock.
Let us hope that you and Fido both live a long and healthy life.
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