There’s been a lot of high profile press attention recently focused on Donald Trump’s annual medical exam. And most of us are pretty good at booking in for our own physical check-ups. We know the benefits. They keep life running smoothly and help to detect any early stage symptoms we need to investigate. They give us an overall picture of what our health is like over the years. But what about our four-legged friends? Often, we only take them to the vet’s once there are already signs of a problem. But the same benefits of a yearly health check also apply here. It keeps them in fighting fit condition, can spot any issues and also help to ward off expensive visits to the vet until they are necessary. With dogs, there are four essential canine health checks that you can do routinely as an owner to keep your canine companion in tip-top health.
Four Essential Canine Health Checks
Check Their Teeth
Your dog’s dental health is a hugely important, but often overlooked. You may be giving them chews to keep their teeth clean, but you should also make sure that you’re regularly checking what’s going on inside their mouths.
Clean white teeth with no food build-up are a good indicator of health. Any apparent signs of decay may need further investigation or treatment. The gums should be a beautiful, bright pink color too. The cornerstone of doggy dental health is a good diet. If your pooch is eating the right foods, their dental health should be supported by this.
Your local veterinarian can guide you as to what needs to be done with your dog’s teeth and mouth. Follow their guidelines.
Heartworm is a silent killer that can go unnoticed by even the most vigilant of pet owners. If you live in an area with a lot of mosquitos, you need to be especially careful. That is how heartworm is passed on.
Go for an all in one preventative, like Heartgard for dogs, which comes in the form of a chew. It also protects against hookworm and roundworm. This approach is recommended because by the time you see visible symptoms of heartworm it can be too late to treat.
Other worming procedures happen much earlier, the puppy stage. Regular deworming every week for 6 weeks assures that both the mama and the puppies will be worm free and can grow correctly. Worming is one of the most crucial canine health checks.
Paws and Claws
Examining paws and claws is vital, but it doesn’t always feel natural to the animal, especially if you haven’t done it before. So be gentle and reassuring, and take it slowly. If their claws are over-long and not being naturally worn down, you may need to look into getting a pet claw clipper such as this one from Amazon, or schedule them in with the groomer or vet to have them professionally seen to.
In the pads of the paws, look for any rough spots, unusual discoloration or soreness, any objects that have become stuck or embedded. Often these things don’t initially cause a problem. But, if left unattended, you can risk infection or worse.
The Right Food
Take the time to review your dog’s diet against their changing needs. The right diet is the foundation of good health for our pets. It can support them maintaining a good weight, having strong energy levels, help their behavior, and ensure a healthy coat, teeth, eyes and internal organs. It’s really important to get it right.
Research the correct foods for your breed of dog rather than buying generic, make sure you know what the exact portion size looks like for the size of the animal and try to choose foods that are 100% natural and free from artificial colors and preservatives. The right foods may cost a little more now but could save you hundreds of vet’s bills further down the line.
You can provide treats as long as they are healthy. Many websites offer DIY recipes for making your own dog food and treat’s at home. These Frozen Berry Treats are a great example of a healthy recipe.
By providing excellent hygiene with their teeth, feeding them the right food, keeping their paws and claws trimmed and clean, and worming them as needed, you will have completed the four essential canine health checks. Remeber a healthy dog is a happy dog.
Do you use routinely perform these four essential canine health checks on your dog’s? What other canine health checks do you perform? Let me know in the comment box below.