Do you give your dog a routine health check? How do you know if something is not the norm for your dog?
By checking your dog over regularly is key to spotting something that is not your dog's norm. These regular check overs can help us spot potential problems and get them seen to by a vet at the earliest stage.
We recommend giving your dog a good health check from nose to tail once a week. Here is a guide to checking your dog over and what you should be looking at.
Eyes - Are the eyes bright and clear?
Ears - Are they clean, without discharge and free of a black waxy substance?
Mouth - Are the gums a healthy pink colour? Are the teeth free of plaque and debris?
Nose - Is the nose clean and free of mucus?
Breathing - Is the breathing steady and without effort?
Paws - Are there any cuts on the pads? Is there any debris between the toes? Are the claws beginning to become overgrown?
Anus - Does the anus appear clean without faecal material and without soreness?
Vulva - The vulva is the birth opening in female mammals. Is the vulva clean, without discharge or unpleasant odour?
Urethra - The urethra is the opening from the body that leads inside the urinary bladder. On male dogs, this would be the end of the penis. Is this clean, without discharge, signs of soreness or unpleasant odour?
Fur - Is the coat clean and unmatted? Are there signs of parasites, eg, fleas?
Skin - Run your hands along your dog's skin. Are there any lumps or bumps? Where visible, check for cuts or abrasions. Is the skin dry or show signs of flakiness?
Weight - Is your dog a healthy weight for your dog's age, breed and size?
Movement - Is your dog able to move their joints with ease? Does your dog show any signs of stiffness, pain or lameness?
Alertness - Is your dog alert and keen to respond to you?
Bodily Functions - Is your dog passing urine and faeces easily with no apparent problems?
Eating & Drinking - Is your dog eating and drinking well as per normal?
Getting your dogs used to regular health checks and handling by yourself will also help your dog become comfortable when being checked over by the vet.
If you are unsure of anything relating to your dog's health, please contact your vet.