There is so much you can do at home to keep your dog healthy and when they do fall ill, you can learn to read the signs and decide whether it is time to call a vet. Dog owners are some of the most giving and caring people on the planet. Taking in a pet is almost as large of a responsibility as having a child and some people actually care for their dogs as if they were children. The extent of care needed to keep a dog in good shape can be daunting and quite the chore, so the need for the proper methodology is very important.
Jump to Section
There are many things that you can do to keep a healthy dog. Many of which are easy to do and really inexpensive, if not free. They don’t involve specific brands or products and some don’t require a veterinarian visit. It’s all in the approach, execution, and persistence. It has to be practices that you do regularly so that you don’t confuse your dog and teach them to follow through so that it becomes almost second nature for them. The more comfortable they are with the routine the easier it is to implement.
An obvious way to keep your dog healthy is to make sure they have regular exercise. A lazy dog will eventually turn into an unhealthy dog. Exercise is a much-needed part of any living creature’s life. Regular walks help a lot and a change of scenery will help as well. Whether it’s a walk on the beach or out to a dog park it will keep your dog in healthy and high spirits.
The happiness of a dog is important but only to an extent. Obviously, a dog will roam freely anywhere that you let them but too much freedom can create a poor and undisciplined attitude in your dog. It will also upset your neighbors and put your dog at risk of being hurt by another person or vehicle. Give them an open yet confined space for them to play in and call their “home”.
If at all possible, make the time and effort to have your dog neutered or spayed. Aside from basic instinct, dogs are not all that keen on parenthood and it can really stress them out and cause health problems if they are not actively breeding. They are susceptible to many diseases and conditions because of their practices and by spaying or neutering your dogs. More importantly, if you own a female as they are highly susceptible to uterine cancers and complications.
As much as a dog loves to run around, make sure they spend most of their time indoors. If the need or want to be outside is greater than make sure you stay on top of flea maintenance and bathing. Regular baths for dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors will help a lot with keeping those nasty bugs and fungus’ from invading them. Keep up with flea and worms treatments and check their stool often to make sure they are in good health. Also if they spend a lot of time outside, keep up with regular brushing as well. It helps to keep odor down and certainly keeps that ever growing pile of dog hair to a minimum.
Far too often dog owners resist the urge to ask a vet until Fido’s condition becomes severe. Unfortunately, once you’ve reached that point, it’s often too late. From a vet’s point of view, the most frustrating aspect is that lots of conditions can be easily treated if you’re caught early. From an owner’s point of view, though, it can be tough to know when to take the dog to the vet right away and when to wait it out.
The first thing that you should look at is his nose. Does he have a hot and dry nose? If he does, he likely has a fever. If he’s been running and playing, it can elevate his temperature, so wait until he’s relaxed and resting to see if he truly has a fever. You can take your dog’s temperature with a thermometer, but it’s a bit tough. You’ll want to make sure he’s relaxed, and carefully lubricate the thermometer with Vaseline. You may need someone to hold him down, because few dogs enjoy the process. Once you’re ready, insert it about an inch into his rectum. Anything higher than 102.5 is cause to ask a vet.
If your dog has a change in his breathing, whether it increases or becomes fairly shallow, it’s important to phone you vet. This kind of change is a good indicator that something serious is wrong.
Another real problem is discharge from the eyes. While it could be something as simple as seasonal allergies, it could also indicate a serious infection that needs to be evaluated immediately.
If your dog is drinking incessantly or has had a large change in his diet, it’s time to call the doctor. Change in diet or drinking habits is a key sign that should be taken seriously.
If you do find that your dog is ill, do everything that you can to keep him calm and relaxed until you ask a vet. Dogs can be very sensitive to your voice and your mannerisms and getting stressed out will definitely not help their condition, so stay calm and give the vet a call.
When not writing about himself in the third person, Andy spends much of his time walking his dog Mr Wox, aka Soxy Woxy. A leading authority on dog-related topics, Andy is highly respected, deeply appreciated and widely admired.