This is the seventh article in the series about educating yourself about DOG OWNERSHIP
Health and Wellness
How to know when your dog is sick, conditions to look our for and preventative measures.
Let’s get started!
Health and Wellness
How can I make vet visits easier for my dog?
There are several factors at play with dogs who have excessive fear of the vet’s office.
First, there is the drive itself. Many dogs enjoy a ride in the car, but this excitement can mutate into anxiety once your dog arrives at the office.
Dogs are easily distracted, however, and you can help instill a sense of calm by performing a few ‘comfort’ routines once your dog reaches the office.
It is important for you to remain calm, above all, and not transmit fears to the dog by appearing to be stressed by its fearful behavior. What your dog reads into your action is that this “Vet place” is indeed somewhere that is not nice. Have a friendly talk with other people in the office to let your pooch know that you are relaxed. (But watch for the chronic Vet visitor who is there to tell their worst ever pet problems stories as much as to have their animal checked out by the Vet).
It also helps if you can divert your dog’s attention at key points. For example, you can offer a treat once in the waiting room, and again while your dog is being examined and / or receiving shots. Vets are (usually) Vets because of a love of animals and they are usually a very calming effect on your dog; as well as it being a bit of a selling point for coming back again. (“Oh, he had such a great bedside manner”).
Also, you may work on your dog’s fears at home by including ‘medical’ style examinations in the grooming process. At least once per week, make a point of lifting your dogs tail, opening his mouth to check his teeth, examining his ears, and so on. Don’t make the grooming routine a torture routine or the opposite effect will eventuate.
How important are vaccinations?
Very! Every single vaccination is important to your dog’s health, and none should be skipped over. It only takes a few untreated animals to spread disease. Parvovirus, for example, was almost unheard of before the 70’s. Once it took hold, however, it spread rapidly and the effects were devastating.
Prevention is the best cure, so don’t shirk on your dog’s vaccinations!
I’ve heard you can tell whether a dog is sick by whether his nose is wet or dry. Is this true?
This is an old wives tail. Neither your dog’s nor your cat’s nose can tell you how he’s feeling, or whether he needs to see the vet. Changes in the moisture and temperature of your pet’s nose can vary based on the weather, recent physical activity, sleep and more.
A warm, dry nose can accompany a fever, but this information is only valuable when your pet is displaying other signs of illness, such as lethargy, disinterest in food/water, etc. If you suspect your pet is sick, you’re better off being safe than sorry. Take him in for a check-up.
What are some of the most common health problems faced by dogs?
A wide variety of bugs and parasites would love to make a home on and/or inside of your dog. Some problems, like mange, are seen primarily in strays and not a big concern for well-cared for animals; but that’s not to say they can’t catch it by frequenting a place where other dogs with mange have been.
Awareness is the key to prevention, however, so let’s look at a list of potential health conditions to look out for:
Internal and external parasites (worms, fleas, ticks, mites, etc)
Saracoptic mange (caused by mites)
Clogged anal glands
Rabies (some Countries do not have this terrible disease due to strict quarantine laws).
One of the biggest keys to protecting your dog’s health is to be aware of what’s going on in the outside environment. Pay attention to the seasons. Fleas and ticks can afflict your dog any time of year, but are much more abundant in warm weather months. We are so lucky in the present day as there are so many completely effective controls for fleas and ticks. If you can’t control them on your dog then re-read the instructions or change the drug you are using as you are doing something wrong. If you still have a problem see your Vet.
Keep an eye out for ‘local threats’ too, especially if your dog loves to run through tall, grassy or wooded areas. Unless they are brought up in an environment where they are exposed to a lot of outdoors threats and learn to be cautious, creatures such as rodents can bite and can carry disease and a snakes curious movements could cause the inquisitive nature of your dog to get too close. Snakes would regard any carnivore as a danger to their well-being so they would be naturally defensive and ready to give a lethal bite to save themselves.
Well now that we’ve looked at the serious health and wellness “stuff” you are probably a little frazzled and wonder how you didn’t think about what types of “things” could go wrong when you become a dog owner. BUT ….. it’s not all bad! In fact it can be accounted for once you know the risks pertaining to the breed you have chosen. Basically it is making the decision on whether to get pet health insurance or not; and you can balance up the costs versus risks equation (to a certain extent) by researching YOUR breed.
when it comes to owning a dog …. you’ve had a lot to digest so far; reading thus far has given you an amazing increase in your capability as a potential responsible dog owner ……. but now its about time for some “FUN” information …. about having FUN with your furry companion that always manages to put your mood “into the zone”….. because you can’t help but be in a good mood when you come home to a loved one that has nothing but adoration for you as you walk in through that door. So if your still hanging on and reading this then keep on reading ….. in Part 8 “COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT DOG MAINTENANCE – PART 3” we will open the door to a lot of the fun things available that you can do to make your bond even stronger while having the BEST time ever!!