Many people would do anything for their dogs. They feed their dogs the finest foods, dress them in the trendiest small dog clothes, and pamper them as if they were royalty. However, many dog owners tend to overlook tell tale signs of illness and disease. Conducting a monthly exam on your dog at home can greatly help maintain a healthy dog. These monthly exams on your dog can also help prevent a serious illness from becoming life threatening. Finding an illness early on can greatly increase your dog’s chance of survival in extreme cases. I suggest doing a monthly exam on your dog to check for any strange lumps, bumps or strange odors. To start, simply place your dog between your lap and run your hands from their neck to their tail feeling for any strange lumps or bumps. If your dog let’s out a yelp when you touch certain areas, this should raise concern and possible need to visit a veterinarian.
Checking your dog’s coat is another necessity. This is pretty easy to do since you simply pay attention to how their coat looks and feels. If your dog is healthy, their coat should look sleek and shiny. If your dog has a greasy or dull looking coat, this could be a sign of poor health or something more serious. If the coat is simply dirty, then give your dog a bath. However, if the coat remains dull and greasy even after giving your dog a bath, I would take your dog to see a vet. Bald patches are also an area of concern. These can be caused by fleas bites, excessive licking of the fur, allergies to foods, lice, dry and flaky skin disease, and solar dermatitis.
The last illness, solar dermatitis, is exactly what it sounds like. It is a skin disease related to prolonged exposure to the sun. This is usually seen in dogs with shorter hair and light colored skin. Symptoms to look out for include hair loss, thickening of the skin, excessively red skin, and rough patches in the skin. To prevent solar dermatitis, keep your dog out of the sun during the hottest times of the day. If your dog does go out, then put some dog sunscreen on them.
Lastly, and pretty obvious, check for any sort of sores or open wounds. If the sores do not improve within a couple days of from any sort of home remedy, take your dog to see a vet.
If you find a lump in your dog’s skin, don’t panic right away. Many dogs develop harmless bumps in the skin caused by fatty growth. These little fatty bumps under the skin are known as limpomas. They are firm to the touch and can generally be slightly moved around. Although these are generally harmless, it might be a good idea to have a vet check them out just in case. Other lumps in your dog’s skin may be a case of cysts, warts, or an infected hair follicle. Lumps may even indicate serious illness such as cancer. If you notice any strange bumps or lumps in your dog’s skin that do not go away, I recommend taking your dog to a vet to have it checked out. Better safe than sorry.
You’ll also want to gently press your fingers along your dog’s stomach to check for any signs of strange bumps or enlarged organs. If you have a female dog check the nipples for any sort of abnormal swelling or discharges. Any of these signs may indicate cancer. It is also mandatory to keep checking the strength of your dog. If you find any kind of issue in their bone strength t, then the use of Nutramax Cosequin Maximum Strength Plus MSM can be highly beneficial. It has got all the required minerals and vitamins which are necessary for strong bones.
You’ll want to check for matted fur around the anus. Kind of a dirty job but somebody has to do it! Having matted fur around your dog’s anus can make it difficult for your dog to handle their business. It can even be a painful experience for them. To take care of this, wear some rubber gloves and wet the fur with warm water. Try to work the mat out with your fingers. If that doesn’t work, I recommend simply cutting the matted area of the fur completely out. If you are not comfortable with cutting your dog’s fur, then take them to a groomer.
Gently examine your dog’s paw pads by pressing each one. If you notice any sort of discomfort from your dog, there may be a problem. Look for any sort of cuts or scrapes that may be causing your dog discomfort. Look in between each toe for anything that may have gotten lodged in between. Sometimes, thorns and other sharp objects may get stuck in between your dog’s paws. Using a tweezer can help pull out some of these foreign objects. If the object does not budge from your dog’s paw, go seek help from a vet. Also, keep your dog’s nails short. Clipping them on a regular basis will ensure that your dog’s nails don’t become twisted and potentially grow into their paw pads. This can be quite painful to a dog if this occurs. Some people believe that a dog’s nails will naturally trim themselves from daily walking and refuse to cut their dog’s nails. In my opinion, this is bad for your dog and may cause an ingrown twisted nail.
In one of my posts, I stressed the importance of brushing your dog’s teeth on a regular basis. If you are doing this like you are supposed to, then examining your dog’s mouth should not be too hard. First, you’ll want to examine their gums. Your dog’s gums should have a nice healthy pink tone to them. If your dog’s gums are white or yellow, this could signal anemia, hypoglycemia, or jaundice. All three are very bad if you are wondering. Next, check your dog’s teeth for any tarter or loose and broken teeth. If you are brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, you shouldn’t see any tarter. If you do notice some tarter, get that dog toothbrush out and get to work. It is very important to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy.