Dogs are probably the highest-maintenance pets and looking after them requires great responsibility, but it’s nothing that willing owners can’t handle. Like all living things, in order to survive dogs need food, water and shelter. But to lead a happy and healthy life, a dog also requires exercise, physical care and nurture from its owner.
When it comes to health care, dogs are generally healthy animals that when their basic needs are met, owners should encounter any serious medical issues. Still, there are a few things responsible pet owners should be attentive to regarding dog health care.
Unfortunately, many dog owners overlook the importance of canine dental care. Responsible owners should brush their dog’s teeth, buy them plenty of chew toys, and schedule frequent dental cleanings with the vet. Plus, to provide proper dog dental hygiene and to stop bad breath from becoming overpowering, you should regularly check if their gums and tongue are a healthy colour.
Dogs run a lot and that has serious impacts on the dog’s joints. In addition to being a result of everyday activities, stiff joints can also be the result of obesity, age, accidents and trauma. There are also some breeds that are usually more prone to developing arthritis than others such as golden retrievers, German shepherds and labs. There is a range of dog health care products available, such as nutritional supplements, that your vet may prescribe to ensure optimal mobility.
Wear and tear are one of the most common causes of cracked paws. Harsh chemicals, like floor cleaners, and cause your dog’s paw to become irritated and cracked. Pups especially can get a lot of dirt stuck in their paws, and it’s your job to keep them clean. For that, you will need to wash the paws with gentle pet-friendly soap and get them a pair of booties if you see signs of dryness or irritation.
Be Aware of Warning Signs
Poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy are all signs that something is wrong with your dog. Illness can also show up as a loss of hair or itchy areas on the skin and around the years. Sometimes dogs can get a mild illness that will pass on its own. However, a more serious condition could develop just as easily, so if you notice any of these signs or any kind of abdominal behaviour in your pet, consult your vet on how to proceed.
Importance of Veterinary Care
Puppies need to be taken to the veterinary usually every 3-4 weeks until they are about 4 months old. Adult dogs should have a veterinary examination at least once a year while dogs older than 7 to 8 years should see their veterinarian twice a year more frequent as illnesses are more common in older pets and are better if identified sooner. Depending on the condition of your dog, your veterinary may recommend a wellness program including routine blood work monitor for problems such as early kidney or liver disease.
Pill and chewable medication are generally kind easy to administer to dogs. You give your dog a pill hidden in a small treat, such as a piece of cheese or a bit of peanut butter. It can also be helpful to gently hold your dog’s muzzle closed until you are sure that your dog has swallowed. Liquid medications are sometimes prescribed only for puppies. These can be given via a string into the rear of the dog’s mouth by inserting the tip of the syringe near the bach teeth on either side. To prevent spills, hold your dog’s head particularly upward. Topical medications should be applied directly on the coat or skin. If your dog needs eye drops or ear medication, your veterinary will show you how it should be applied. No matter the type of medication or how it should be managed, make sure to read and follow all label instructions.
Vaccination is a critical component of preventive medicine in dogs. Just as in people, vaccinations are given to dogs to stimulate the immune system against infection before exposure to a disease. A number of vaccines are routinely given to dogs as the core defence against serious illness such as parvovirus, distemper, rabies, etc. Some vaccines are important in certain regions and situations like the Bortadella, Lyme disease.
The main type of intestinal parasites in dogs are roundworms, whipworms, hookworms and tapeworms. These parasites can damage the digestive tract and interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients. To diagnose parasite infections fecal sample as necessary to see if there are worm eggs. Fecal samples should be tested periodically in all dogs but more frequently in puppies.
Common external parasites are ticks, fleas and mange mites. Monthly preventive treatments are available to control ticks and fleas and are administered as body sprays or spot-on preparations that are applied on the skin between the shoulder blades. Mange mites can be detected by scraping the skin of infected areas for signs of mites or their eggs. Signs of this parasite include red, scaly areas or bald patches on the skin.