Pets age at a faster rate than humans. A six months old frisky puppy is ten years equivalent of human years. Hence, it is not surprising that age-related ailments tend to set in way earlier in our furry friends than we often think.
As pet owners to ensure your four-legged friend, enjoy a full, healthy and happy life in the time they have with you, it is essential to provide them with proper nutrition, a safe, clean environment and of course, regular health checks at home and your vet’s.
But what are the things to keep an eye out for when you take your pet to the vet’s office?
When you bring your pet to the vet’s office for the first time, you are going to answer a couple of questions which will help the caregiver establish baseline health metrics for your pup.
It is also an opportunity to express any concerns you may have about your pet. Remember also to ask questions on things that are not clear to you. It would help if you were up to speed with how best to care for your animal.
Here are some of the most important things to include in a health checkup for your dog.
Dental health check
While on the surface, your dog’s teeth might appear healthy, you might miss the brown tartar building up gradually, especially on the back teeth.
You may want to visit a dog dentist to examine your pet’s teeth, including checking for redness along the gum-teeth margins, nasty smells and lumps on or under the tongue.
Your vet will also check for broken teeth, stains around the lips which could be signs of deeper issues, excessive salivation and ulcers around the mouth.
Ears, Nose and Eyes Checks
Your vet will physically look over your pet to see if there are any abnormalities present. Usually, the dog’s eyes are bright. Abnormally teary and cloudy eyes might be symptoms of something more serious.
For most healthy dogs, you will notice a gradual build-up of a blackish residue; this is normal and perfectly fine.
However, if you notice yellow or green discharge, excessive teary eyes, or your dog’s squinting one or both eyes, which may mean it is painful these are telltale signs that something is not right.
Your dog’s nose is usually cold and wet, but if you notice it is warm and perhaps a bit dry while everything else seems fine, you do not need to worry.
You may also want to check for sores or discharge around the nose.
Look and smell inside your dog’s ears to see if you notice any redness, unpleasant smell, and or black flaky discharge.
Skin and fur checks
Running fingers through your dog’s coat helps to see if you can feel any lumps. Check for spots with hair loss, rashes, discolourations or sores.
While you are at it, check for evidence of fleas and ticks even if you regularly treat them -these critters often leave bits of soot-like droppings.
Urine and Blood tests
As part of the wellness checkup, your vet may want to run urine, or blood or faeces tests, especially for older pets.
The analysis of the samples will help your vet determine whether your pet is free from parasite infestation.
Observe dog behaviour
This is probably one of the first things you vet will check when you visit. You should, too, when doing a home health checkup for your dog.
You should pay attention to how your dog walks and stands. Is your pet bright, alert and responsive? Does your dog bark excessively or seem emotionally unstable?
As they say, a healthy dog is a happy dog. By taking your dog for regular health checks, you not only prolong their lives, but you also give them a quality, healthy life.
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