Dogs are fun, great, naughty, pals and so much more. If you are not a dog lover then you will probably not agree with my choice of words. For me though my two dogs are as much a part of the household as my husband and myself.
If you are lucky, your dog may be pretty robust and rarely suffer from ill health. However, some dogs are just poorly dogs from start to finish. It could be that the dog is a rescue animal and its previous suffering has took its toll on the dog's health. Then again, it may be a dog that was puppy farm raised and not raised well.
Whatever the state of play is with your dog, if you are a loving and responsible dog owner, you should have dog's interests and health in the forefront of your mind.
Dogs need to have plenty of exercise, preferably in the form of long regular walks. If this is not possible, encourage as much play as possible around the home or garden. This will help maintain your dog's heart, bone and joint health.Skin and coat
Dogs sometime develop problems with their skin and coat. It may be a benign wart or a skin allergy. One way of keeping on top of such problems is regular grooming. This enables you to check you dog over for any health issues. It also helps you bond with your dog.Fleas, ticks and worms.
Unfortunately, any of the above can be a problem for your dog. Consult your vet and ask what you can do. Prevention as always is better and easier than the cure. Dogs need to be wormed every 3 to 6 months. I use a monthly application of Frontline on my dogs to prevent flea and tick infestations. If your dog already has fleas, you will need to remove these before starting such a treatment. It is always best to consult your vet as he or she can supply the most effective, but kindest treatments, for your dog.
All too many dogs will scavenge and eat anything and everything given half the chance. This could happen when your dog is playing on a field, and is off its lead. Some dogs are there fore more prone to tummy problems than others. Nine times, out of ten, the dog will just eat some grass to induce vomiting and that will be it. Occasionally though it may be more serious. If your dog has eaten something such as a human's medication, an urgent visit to the vet will be necessary. Try to keep what you can out of your dog's reach and access.
Dogs like human's can develop constipation or diarrhoea and again this may be nothing more than upset tummy. You will need to keep an eye on your dog though and reassess the situation ongoing. If there is blood present in the stools, you will need a vet to check this out.
After an initial course of vaccinations, your dog will need annual booster shots to prevent certain illnesses. Some dog owners choose not to have these vaccinations given to their dogs but think very carefully if this is you. If it is because of the cost, consider the hefty vet's bills you will have to pay if your dog becomes sick, never mind the suffering it may cause your animal.
Eyes and Ears
With age, your dog may develop cataracts and the like. As you groom your dog, check its eyesight by waving your hand in front of its eyes. If your dog has gunky eyes ensure that you clean this out regularly. At least once a day is best.
Similarly check the dog's ears to make sure that they are clean and tick free.
As dogs have become domesticated their diet has changed considerably. This means that they are more prone to dental problems, especially with age. As you grrom your dog make sure that you check your dog's teeth . This helps your dog become used to you examining its teeth and mouth area. Go careful though until your dog is happy with this procedure.
Many dog owners clean their dog's teeth on a regular basis. It is possible to buy finger brushes which enable you to do this easily. Never use ordinary toothpaste but instead buy one designed for this use.
Your dog is a living creature and, as such, it will become ill from time to time. A dog cannot tell you what is wrong and, in fact, dogs are pretty good at hiding their pain. If you assess your dog's health regularly hopefully, you will be able to help it keep well.
Eventually of course, the dog must pass away. Usually though a dog does not simply peacefully pass over but will need you to have it put to sleep. After the fun and love you have shared this will be the one last act of kindness you can give your dog.