Dog health checks at home
A dog health check is giving your canine companion a check-up. This includes examining their eyes, ears, mouth, body, skin, legs, paws, tail, and private areas. By understanding what’s normal for your dog, you can more easily spot when there are changes that should be checked by a vet. It's an essential aspect of dog care that you can perform at home to help ensure your dog stays healthy and happy.
Why are dog health checks important?
Taking care of your dog's health is crucial for their physical and mental wellbeing as well as your peace of mind. Regular check-ups can help to catch any health issues early, leading to more effective treatment and a speedier recovery. Performing these health checks at home also strengthens the bond between you and your dog and helps you to recognise changes in behaviour or appearance that might indicate something is wrong.
Preparing to give your dog a health check
How to perform a health check at home
You should always start at your dog's eyes and head, often considered the "clean end", and work your way down to their bottom, sometimes referred to as the "dirty end".
During a health check, if you spot anything that doesn't look or feel right, don't hesitate to contact your vet.
Reading your dog's body language during a health check
Dogs communicate their feelings through their body language, so always pay attention to their cues during their health check. If they show signs of distress or discomfort, such as lip-licking or turning away from you, take a break to make sure your dog feels happy and positive about health checks.
What are common health conditions to look out for?
There are many common health conditions that your dog may suffer from at some point in their life. By being aware of these conditions, you’re more likely to spot symptoms or anything unusual during their health check and in everyday life.
- Fleas and ticks
- Obesity and carrying excess weight
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Ear, eye, and skin infections
- Foreign objects like grass seeds in eyes, ears, nose, and pads
- Paw pad damage and overgrown nails
Who to contact if you notice something unusual
If you notice anything unusual during your dog health checks, don't hesitate to contact your vet for advice. Home health checks are an important part of looking after your dog and should be carried out regularly, but they shouldn’t replace routine vet visits for vaccinations and check-ups. If you suspect your dog or guide dog is unwell, always contact your vet for advice.
For guide dog owners with general questions (non-urgent), please contact Guide Line, who will be happy to help with any queries or concerns.
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