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Is your pup healthy?

Many people see their pets as an extension of themselves. Others see them as their sidekick and travelling companion, to accompany them wherever they go. Petcare is a huge part of pet ownership, and  you must ask yourself a few questions. How do you tell when your pet is sick? Have I learnt pet facts or pet fictions? When should I call in the professionals?

 

A puppy can put the smile on the face of anyone. When dogs are at this age, they are irresistibly cute, lovable and playful. However, this stage is one that must be monitored closely. Dogs are like a map, and just knowing how to read them will tell you everything you need to know.

 

Ears

The ears of your puppy should be clean when healthy. Signs of redness can be attributed to painful ear problems that a veterinarian should be consulted about. Odor and/or discharge is also an indicator of poor ear health. If left untreated, hearing loss or complications can arise.

 

Eyes

These windows to the soul should be bright and clear. Discharge from the eyes should be reported however dogs are known to develop the characteristic ‘eye gunge’ with no signs of ill-health. If you notice an off-colour or excessive amount of discharge, get in touch with your local veterinarian.

 

Nose

The number one myth in the dog world is “a wet nose means a healthy dog”. Dog’s do not sweat as we do, instead they sweat through their nose and paws. Their nose also excretes a mucus that helps them in absorbing scent chemicals. This is why you will see a dog lick its nose, as it transfers the scent chemicals to the olfactory glands in it’s mouth.

 

Mouth

Another myth surrounding our canine companions is that their mouths are cleaner than a human’s. Simply put, your mouth is healthy if you look after it, and the same is true for dogs. Improper dental care for your pets leads to sores and growths on the mouth and lips and bleeding gums. These can cause pain, leading to your pet not eating properly. At this stage, a registered veterinarian would be required. To avoid needing to take your faithful friend to the vet, make sure you have dental chews to remove plaque and tartar. Check their breath and make sure any bad smells are the result of a smelly diet and not bad hygiene.

 

Coat

This has never been a myth, but more a widely accepted rule of thumb. The shinier the coat, the happier and healthier the dog. So if a dog is happy and healthy with a clean coat, what does it mean if the coat isn’t? Dull hair or lusterless hair is often a sign of a lack of healthy fat in the dog’s diet. Veterinarians can advise you on all that is essential to a young dog’s diet, and how that diet should evolve with them. However, smelly hair can sometimes be a sign of a skin condition. Many dogs deal with skin conditions by generating more oil, which can carry a strong smell. Use this as a flag to contact your veterinarian, and have them take a look in more detail.

 

Bladder/Bowel

All animals relieve themselves, more often than not in places we’d sooner they didn’t. When caring for a puppy this is always one of the few negatives to having your own furry friend. The important things to keep track of are consistency and frequency. It’s not pleasant, but check the consistency of your dog’s stool/urine, and report any radical changes to your veterinarian. Similarly, monitor the frequency of your dog’s toilet habits, and be sure to report any sudden spikes or drops.

 

Weight

This is a very common worry that new pet owners will face. A dog’s ideal weight varies depending on breed and age, however it’s not often to find a particularly overweight puppy. As they are usually very energetic in their younger years if not beyond, obese pups are infrequent. Yet as time progresses it is an understandable worry to be concerned over what you feed / how you exercise your dog. Veterinarians are always happy to offer advice on how best to feed your dog, and make sure it gets the right exercise.

 

Small Animal Care