Examining your dog
A 'how to' guide at home
Examining your dog– a how to guide at home
An important part of being a responsible pet owner is keeping an eye on your pet in between visits to the vet. No-one will know your dog better than you and should you suspect anything is not quite right, don’t hesitate to ring your vet.
Here is our guide to a quick and safe home examination of your dog and signs of illness to look out for. These simple steps can be carried out on a regular basis to ensure he or she is in tip-top health:
Many dog owners tend to overlook tell tale signs of illness but a monthly home examination of your dog can greatly help maintain good health and help prevent a serious illness from becoming life threatening.
COAT and PAWS
You should pay attention to how your dogs’ coat looks and feels. If your dog is healthy, their coat should look sleek and shiny, a greasy or dull coat can be a sign of poor health. A dirty coat – simply needs a bath! Bald patches can be caused by fleas bites, excessive licking of the fur, allergies to foods, lice, dry and flaky skin disease to name but a few – always best to get this checked out.
Gently examine your dog’s paw pads by pressing each one and look for cuts or scrapes that may cause your dog discomfort – he or she will soon let you know if there is pain. Sometimes, thorns and other sharp objects may get stuck in between your dog’s paws. Using a tweezer can help pull out some of these foreign objects but if the object will not come out seek help from a vet. Clipping your dogs’ nails on a regular basis will ensure they don’t become twisted and in-grow.
Also, and this one may sound obvious, check for any sort of sores or open wounds.
BODY and STOMACH
If you find a lump in your dog’s skin, don’t panic right away. Many dogs develop harmless bumps in the skin caused by fatty growths which are firm to the touch and can generally be slightly moved around. Other lumps in your dog’s skin may be a case of cysts, warts, or an infected hair follicle. Lumps may even indicate serious illness such as cancer. If you notice any strange bumps or lumps that do not go away, have your vet check it out.
Gently press your fingers along your dog’s stomach to check for any signs of strange bumps or enlarged organs. If you have a female dog check the nipples for any sort of abnormal swelling or discharges, as any of these signs may indicate cancer.
It is important to brush your dogs’ teeth regularly to avoid dental issues – when doing this have a quick check of your dogs’ gums which should be nice and pink. If your dog’s gums are white or yellow, this could signal anemia, hypoglycemia or jaundice. Unpleasant breath could be a sign of illness, gum disease or tonsillitis among others.
NOSE, EARS and EYES
Check your dog’s nose for any sort of odor, swelling or abnormal discharge lasting longer than 24 hours. If you also notice a difficulty in breathing, this could also be a problem.
Check for any foul smelling odors or redness in your dogs’ ears. This could be a sign of an ear infection. Also check for ear mites that look like little black coffee grounds inside your dog’s ears.
Check your dog’s eyes and any signs of them being watery, red, filmy or dry are a concern. Discharge could be a sign of eye infection and if your dog is pawing or rubbing his or her eyes, it is best to speak to your vet.
Thank your dog for behaving by giving him or her a treat, some play or petting time.
Always contact your vet if you are unsure about anything you find during an at home examination