A guide to keeping on top of your dog’s health

Dog's health, just like ours needs regular maintenance and checks, but how do you go about making sure they stay fit and healthy?

Just as we look after ourselves with daily routines like brushing our teeth, trimming our nails and cleaning out our ears, it’s important to also help keep on top of our dog’s health. Spending some time checking over our pups can have benefits in the long term for their health.

Regular checks at home allows you to help prevent your dog becoming ill but also helps you to spot early signs of disease which can help fight it before they develop into anything harmful. With this in mind, we have created a simple guide on how to check your dog’s health and what you should be regularly looking out for.

Their nose

When it comes to a dog nose the normal rule of thumb is that if it’s wet or moist then your dog is fine and if it’s dry then it might be worth getting them checked out. This isn’t the case if it seems that your dog is eating, acting and sleeping normally then you don’t need to worry, regardless of whether their nose is dry or wet. What you need to look out for is any cuts, soreness or discharge.

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Their eyes

A healthy dogs’ eyes will be bright and bold. There will normally be a dark build-up of discharge in the corner of their eyes. This is due to tears and is normal for dogs, so don’t worry.

There are a couple of things to look out for:

  • A green or yellow discharge

  • Excessive watering

  • Squinting or closing one or both eyes can be showing signs of pain

  • The whites of their eyes appear pink or red

  • Your dog is rubbing their eyes

Their ears

When doing these checks it is important to learn and understand what is normal for your dog. Having floppy or hairy ears can hide problems and issues, this, therefore, requires you to check thoroughly for any issues in and around their ears. Plucking the hairs in order to see more clearly can cause inflammation for your dog so it’s advised to talk to your vet before doing so.

When looking into your dog’s ear it’s usual to find a small amount of wax however larger amounts can lead to infection. This is what you should be looking for:

  • Redness

  • Sticky or purulent discharge

  • Black crumbly discharge

  • Your dog is scratching their ear/s

  • There’s a nasty smell

  • Pain in or around the ear

  • Swelling, causing the entrance into the ear to close up.

When cleaning your dog’s ears, take into consideration that it’s a very delicate part of their body so only use special ear cleaners recommended by your vet and avoid putting cotton buds anywhere near the ear canal, as dogs’ eardrums can be easily perforated.

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Teeth and gums

Your dog’s oral care is very important. As they’re unable to brush themselves the duty falls onto the owner. This means that you should regularly check how their teeth and gums are looking. This takes time for your dog to get used to, so it’s best to check with caution. Slowly lift the top and bottom lips all around the mouth in order to get a full inspection of the teeth. You should be looking for:

  • Brown tartar building up around the teeth

  • Redness along the gum/ tooth margin

  • Bad breath

  • Retracted gums exposing tooth roots

  • Lumps

Skin & Fur

It’s important to examine your dog’s skin and fur as it’s a lot easier to detect issues with. Firstly, you should check your dog’s behaviour, if they scratch or bite their skin consistently this may be a cause for concern. You should also check for any changes in the appearance in their fur or skin including redness, inflammation or bolding. It’s important to check all over your dog including hidden areas such as under the foot or their inner leg.

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Their nails

When inspecting your dog’s nails, you should look for them to be smooth. Dogs nails can be either black or white and this doesn’t affect their health. If you find that your dog is missing any nails, or they are becoming flaky or brittle then it’s advised to get in touch with your vet. It’s also important to check your dog’s dew claws- these are found on the inside of their leg. Some dogs only have them on their front legs; some have them on all four while others don’t have any dewclaws at all.

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Dog bed

By Raised By Humans