Do you know how to spot potential health problems in your dog, treat common problems yourself and recognize when a health issue requires Veterinary care?
Jump straight to the specific dog health care information you require:
Our dogs rely heavily on us to look after their health issues. Caring for our dogs is a responsibility we all take on board when we bring a dog into our lives. But dog health care is not necessarily a subject we all have expertise in - I know I didn't when I got my first young puppy.
Over the years I've put together a health care program or strategy I follow to help manage my dog's health issues. The dog health care program I have outlined below is an ongoing process of maintenance which relies on careful observation, being proactive and is designed to prevent major health issues from arising. It also addresses how to effectively diagnose and treat dog health problems when they do arise - either yourself, or by your Vet when necessary.
These Are The Steps Involved In The Dog Health Care Program I Follow To Safeguard My Dogs:
- Daily observation and maintenance of my dogs
- Picking up on the early signs/symptoms of illness or injury
- Accurately diagnosing and treating common health problems when appropriate
- Quickly recognizing health issues that require Veterinary care
The dog health care strategy I follow is an ongoing part of what I call "responsible dog ownership" - I feel that it helps to keep my dogs happy, healthy and free from unnecessary pain or stress.
What Can We Do To Keep Our Dogs In Peak
Condition & Out Of The Veterinary Office?
Dog Health Care Program - Things You Can Do Everyday To Manage Your Dog's Health
Responsible Dog Ownership - The Basics
The first step in our dog health care program
is to simply make our dogs feel comfortable and safe in our home environment
. This requires you to always provide your dog with essentials such as a warm, draft free and comfortable dog bed
, fresh water and a couple of chew toys. It's also important that we provide an area in our homes that is off limits to everyone else except for our dogs - a place where they can have a "time out" to relax in peace and quiet.
Another proactive and preventive health care measure you can take is to "puppy proof" your home and property. Basically this means that you make your home and property a secure area, free from any hazards that may be dangerous to your dog. You can read more about this subject here - how to puppy proof your home.
Dog Food Nutrition - What Should You Feed Your Puppy?
The dog food or nutrition you provide to your dog is the number one factor in determining the health, wellbeing and longevity they enjoy
. The nutrition your dog receives affects every aspect of his/her life. The role nutrition plays in your dog's health and behavior habits cannot be overstated. How do you provide wholesome, nutritionally balanced meals to your dog? Read this article and watch the free video for more dog food advice - what is the best dog food?
Bathing & Grooming Your Dog
Regular bathing and thorough grooming
is a crucial element to this dog health care program. A bath with a gently medicated soap has many health benefits to your dog. It assists in flea control, prevents numerous skin conditions
, identifies ticks and mites plus it makes your dog look beautiful!
A good solid brushing every few days is extremely beneficial to your dog's health. It stimulates blood flow to the skin which helps to prevent eczema, hot spots and many skin related health problems. Of course it also keeps your dog's hair in peak condition and free from tangles or matting.
Regular Inspection / Handling
Every few days I like to inspect my dogs all over
by running my hands over them while closely observing them. You'll find that your dog actually looks forward to these "maintenance" sessions - I'm sure my Shih-Tzu Macy simply believes she is getting a massage!
What to look out for when inspecting your dog:
- Check all over for cuts, lumps, bumps, hot spots or any tender areas. To fully understand what these symptoms mean and most importantly how to properly treat, them you may require a dog health care resource such as this - Veterinary Secrets Revealed.
- Take special notice of how your dog reacts when you run your hands over different areas - any wincing or flinching requires further attention.
- Be sure to check your dog's teeth and gums. Every week or so I give my dog's teeth a clean with a moist towel or doggie toothbrush. Gum disease is a serious matter so pay extra attention to this area - any changes you notice to the gums should be investigated.
How To Brush Your Dog's Teeth
- Check your dog's feet and nails. Make sure the pads under food are strong, clean and healthy. Look out for anything (like grass seeds) lodged in-between the toes. Also make it part of your dog's health care routine to keep the nails neat and tidy.
- Ears also need to be checked for any build up of moisture or infection. Any smell coming from the ears is a telltale sign that all is not well.
- During these inspections or other times when you are observing your dog be sure to be on the look out for any changes in behavior. Your dog cannot talk to you (not in our human language anyway!) and may even try to hide health problems from you, so it's up to you to observe him/her closely for any signs of discomfort.
Some early signs or symptoms which may point to a potential health problem could be vomiting, lack of energy, shaking, diarrhea, drinking more water than usual or lameness. To properly diagnose and deal with these early symptoms you may need a good resource to guide you such as Veterinary Secrets Revealed. One of the most valuable topics covered in this health guide is the clear step-by-step explanation of how to thoroughly examine your dog from tip-to-tip.
- The real benefit of continually observing and examining your dog is that you will pick up on potential health problems before they escalate into something more serious. The earlier you identify any potential health problems the less your dog will experience unnecessary pain and the easier the problem will be to remedy.
- During these regular examination sessions you can also administer any medication that your dog may require. It's worth learning how to give your dog tablets the quick and easy way.
Exercising Your Dog
Exercise is an absolutely essential ingredient in any dog health care program
. Apart from being a whole lot of fun, exercise provides a great outlet for all of your dog's energy. Exercise keeps your dog in good physical shape and goes a long way to prevent obesity. Canine obesity is slow and painful death sentence for dogs
. It greatly increases the risk of many dog health problems such as arthritis
, heart disease and diabetes.
Exercise can be any number of fun activities such as long walks on leash, a trip to the beach, a game of fetch or anything else you can think of. There's no substitute for exercise. I like to play games that stimulate my dog's natural instincts and drives such as "hide n' seek" and throwing the ball at the park - they love it.
Training Your Dog
What does obedience training have to do with your dog's health I hear you ask? The answer is plenty. A trained dog who you have under voice control is in a much safer position
than an untrained dog. A trained dog can be included in all family outings and activities which has got to be a good thing for their health. Plus training your dog provides unmatched physical and mental stimulation to your dog - it gets them thinking, moving and having fun. Clicker training
is my favorite way to shape the behavior of my own dogs.
First Aid For Dogs
It's one thing to recognize a potential health problem but what do you do when your dog is actually injured or sick?
For common health problems such as nicks, licking problems and minor eye irritations you need to be able to quickly and confidently apply some natural home remedies. You can learn how to diagnose and treat many common dog health problems in this health care guide Veterinary Secrets Revealed
. This will save you and your dog many unnecessary visits to the Vet and will save you money in the process. Being able to administer first aid to your dog (and others) is a great skill to have in your bag of tricks.
Just as important as recognizing and treating minor health problems is being able to quickly identify those symptoms that need to be brought straight to the attention of your Veterinarian.
Health Issues For Your Veterinarian To Address
We have to be honest with ourselves, we can't do everything for our dogs - some dog health issues must be addressed by qualified and experienced professionals
. This is where your Vet steps in. Your Veterinarian is a vital part of your dog's health care program. Having a good Vet in your corner, one who you know and trust is a valuable asset and is very reassuring. What dog health issues should your Vet help you with?
Puppy Shots / Vaccinations:
Puppy shots or vaccinations
protect your dog from many diseases such as parvovirus, hepatitis, canine distemper and rabies. The diseases you need to guard against differ depending on where you live so having a reputable Vet to advise you is invaluable.
My Vet recommends a full course of puppy shots up to 1 year of age and then a booster every 3 years - some Vets suggest an annual booster. Don't take your young dog out and about in the community before he/she is safely protected from disease - this is usually about four months of age, but once again ask your Vet.
Puppy Spay / Castrate
Please neuter your dog - we have too many dogs as it is, don't add to the problem
. By neutering your dog
you will also help to prevent many serious health problems from arising later on in your dog's life. If you dog is pregnant read this article - dog pregnancy
Flea Control / Worming
Controlling fleas and worms is one of the biggest health issues
we have to face as dog owners. That's why I like to put my trust in a qualified Vet when dealing with the prevention and treatment of these harmful parasites. Your Vet will recommend a suitable flea control and worming (heartworms, tapeworms, roundworms..) schedule
- then it's up to you to stick with it. You will probably need to administer monthly worming tablets to your dog and maybe other medication - it's no big deal and it's more than worthwhile.
Also keep in mind that it's not only your dog who needs to be treated for the fleas. You may need a flea management program which covers your entire home, including your dog's bedding and the carpets.
As part of your dog health care program it's a good idea to schedule an annual Vet inspection or "wellness test"
. Your Vet will conduct a series of tests for this purpose - it's a great proactive and preventive health measure. A good Vet will be on the lookout for any irregularities in the test results and will also check your dog for any sign of breed specific health problems
In the unfortunate case of serious injury or illness you will need a Vet who you trust and can rely on to save your dog's life
. It helps if the Vet is familiar with your dog. When you are first choosing your Veterinarian consider one who is open long hours and has the ability to perform emergency surgery should the need arise. If it gets to this stage hopefully you will have suitable dog insurance in place to ease the financial strain - the truth about dog health insurance
One last thing! There have been numerous scientific studies undertaken which confirm the health benefits we receive from having a dog in our lives. So I think it's only fair that we return the favor by giving our dogs the very best health care we possibly can. Best of luck (and health) with your dog....
Additional Dog Health Care Resources
Natural Dog Health Care Guidance from Organic Pet Digest
Your complete holistic and natural dog health care adviser. Use their free dog health advice and their My Online Vet ask a veterinarian service to help ensure a long and happy life for your dog.
Dog Health Care issues, reviewed and written by professional pet editors and pet lovers. PetGuide has a complete resource of dog information and can help you research problems that are affecting your furry friend.