Our dog friends can get sick or be in poor health. It’s not always easy to guess where they hurt and act accordingly. That’s why prevention is better than cure! A healthy lifestyle and regular medical follow-up will already help to avoid major health problems.
But how can you monitor your dog’s health? How to prevent diseases in your dog? How to act if you think your dog’s health is in danger? You will find in this article the fundamental advice to identify any health problems in your dog as well as how to prevent diseases to keep your dog in good shape.
Preventing dog diseases
Prevention is better than cure! This golden rule does not only apply to us, but also to our beloved doggies. First of all, please ensure that your dog’s diet is balanced. The proportion of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates must be respected to prevent canine obesity and diabetes problems.
Some kibbles and pate are perfectly adapted to the dog’s diet and will cover all of his dietary needs. However, beware of brands sold in supermarkets, which are certainly cheaper, but in which there are poor quality foods.
At the same time, you must also watch your dog’s sedentary lifestyle. Your dog must do a minimum of physical activity. If you have a fenced garden, let him run around for a few hours a day. If you live in an apartment, take him out at least twice a day, and preferably in a park, forest… so that he feels free. Take advantage of the weekend to take him for a walk, dogs love the great outdoors.
The second fundamental thing to prevent diseases of the dog is to have a regular veterinary follow-up. Financially you will be more profitable. Like humans, dogs can contract diseases, sometimes fatal, that only vaccination can prevent. These vaccinations start very early.
In fact, you should vaccinate your dog as soon as he is 2 months old because he is no longer protected by his mother’s antibodies. Other injections, 1 month apart, are necessary. The vast majority of vaccines require booster shots. It is therefore necessary to check your dog’s health record and keep it up to date.
These vaccinations concern 7 diseases:
Canine distemper: high fever and loss of appetite of the puppy that can lead to death.
Parvovirosis: this highly contagious disease is often contracted in the kennel and causes severe diarrhea that can lead to dehydration and death of the animal.
Contagious canine hepatitis: close to human hepatitis, this disease is becoming increasingly rare.
Rabies: Vaccination against this disease is absolutely mandatory in certain regions of The USA and if you travel abroad or stay in collective places (Camping, hotels, …). You will probably be asked to provide proof of vaccination.
Leptospirosis: is a bacterial disease that animals can transmit to humans.
Piroplasmosis: is due to a parasite introduced into the dog’s bloodstream by a tick.
Kennel cough: is a cough that can develop into pneumonia.
How to examine your dog?
Is your dog in good health? Before taking him to the veterinarian, a few signs will tell you if your dog is sick or just a little tired. It’s not a question of watching every fact and gesture of your dog but simply of being vigilant.
Monitoring your dog’s behavior
Overall, a healthy dog will be lively and full of energy. His sleep is also a telling sign. If his sleeping habits are different, be careful because dogs are quite regular in this respect.
Another telltale sign is food and especially the dog’s appetite. A sick dog will have a small appetite or conversely, more of a feeling of fullness. At the same time, your dog’s general behavior can also alert you. An agitated or abnormally aggressive dog may have pain that he is trying to indicate to you. A lonely dog may also show signs of depression.
Monitor physical signs of disease in dogs
Remember to monitor your dog’s stool and urine from time to time. An abnormal color or composition may give you some clues. You should also be aware of your dog’s temperature. This is between 38,5°C and 39°C and is done rectally. Above this temperature, you can consider that your dog has a fever.
Remember to take his temperature in the morning, when the dog is at rest. Above 39,5°C, it is imperative to consult a veterinarian in an emergency.
Other physical signs are to be taken into account such as :
A limp may indicate a fracture.
A loss of balance may be due to an imbalance of the nervous system.
Vomiting may be the cause of digestive disease or intoxication.
Coughs or respiratory problems are signs of an infectious disease.
In general, any sudden physical changes should be monitored as the dog cannot communicate his suffering to you.
Is the dog’s nose an indicator of health?
We often hear that the dog’s nose must remain moist for the dog to be healthy. Indeed, the humidity of the nose is an indicator of the dog’s hydration. However, it is not a 100% reliable indicator as certain canine diseases do not dry out the dog’s nose. Therefore, do not rely solely on this criterion.
Caring for your dog on a daily basis: first aid kit for dogs
It is possible to take care of the small everyday boo-boos without going directly to the vet’s box. The goal is not to replace their work, which is professional and therefore indispensable.
You must, first of all, constitute a first aid kit for your dog. This one must be composed of the following elements:
1 pair of tweezers
1 anti-tip forceps
1 pair of scissors
1 pair of rubber gloves
1 skin antiseptic
1 healing ointment
1 tube of Biafine
1 roll of greasy tulle
Hydrogen peroxide to clean wounds
Sterile eye solution
Sterile compresses for wound cleansing
1 roll of plaster
This first aid kit for dogs will allow you to heal for example small cuts, or at least disinfect the wound if you do not consult immediately.
Provide health insurance for dogs
Even if you offer your dog healthy living conditions and take all the necessary preventive measures, your dog’s health has a cost. In fact, animal health is the second largest annual expense after food. It is therefore important to plan a health budget so that you can take care of your animal whenever it needs it.
To guarantee your companion a long and prosperous life, a regular follow-up with the veterinarian is essential. It is your responsibility, as your dog’s owner and best friend, to check your dog’s health, keep his vaccination schedule up to date, and consult a specialist if in doubt. Seeing a veterinarian in an emergency can save your dog’s life, and good chronic disease prevention can often prevent serious health problems.