Whether you’re a new dog owner or you’ve kept pet pooches all your life, you need to make sure you’re aware of how to promote the wellbeing of your beloved pup. We all want our pets to live long and healthy lives; they are a cherished member of the family and if they are taken ill, it can be emotionally straining for the entire household. As veterinarians, we have some helpful advice for keeping your dogs happy, healthy and bushy-tailed.
Home health checks
You should be checking your dog every day for injury or illness. Just like us, dogs are prone to infectious diseases that are easily curable if detected early. Some of the most common health problems your dog may experience are:
- Ear infections – Particularly common in dogs with long and floppy ears. Look out for excessive head shaking and scratching or pawing at ears.
- Skin or food allergies – Dogs can be allergic to things too. Be aware of hypersensitivity, dry skin, bald patches and excessive scratching.
- Skin infections – These are common but can turn nasty, so watch out for itching and dry or inflamed skin.
- Dental diseases – Usually relatively easy to detect as you’ll notice a loss of appetite or abnormal eating habits and your dog will eventually lose weight.
- Gastroenteritis – Your dog will experience acute vomiting and diarrhoea. If it continues for more than two or three weeks, take them to the vet immediately.
- Kennel cough – A highly contagious cough commonly spread through kennels. Listen out for a high pitched or honking cough followed by retching.
In all of these instances, seek advice from your local vet on what the next steps are and remember, only ever give your dog medicines prescribed specifically for them.
It’s essential that your dog receives vaccinations from puppyhood. At around eight weeks old a puppy should receive standard vaccinations followed by boosters throughout their life. These vaccinations protect against:
- Canine distemper
- Canine parvovirus
- Kennel cough
- Canine hepatitis
Keeping your dog’s coat in good condition is another very important aspect of looking after their welfare. This will protect them against parasites like fleas and worms and keep them looking healthy too. If you’re not sure how to groom your pet, either take them to a local groomer or simply ask your vet for advice. They’ll also be able to offer parasite treatments if necessary.
You may not realise that neutering not only reduces the risk of unwanted puppies but also prevents your dog from picking up contagious illnesses. Adult dogs can be neutered at any time, however, it’s best to neuter your puppy before he or she reaches sexual maturity, so between four and nine months.
Unexpected vet bills really can break the bank and unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for us to see owners make decisions based on financial circumstances rather than what’s best for their dog. Pet insurance means that expensive vet bills are covered and more importantly, you can keep your beloved pooch in your care for as long as possible.
Finding the best veterinary centre in your area is the best way to keep your dog healthy. You should take them in for regular health checks – at least once a year – and make sure they’re up to date with vaccinations. Whether it’s a routine check-up or an emergency, you need to find a local veterinary centre that you can trust.
At Minster Veterinary Centre, we treat pets and small animals as well as equine and farm animals, ensuring all the animals in our local area are happy and healthy. We carry out check-ups, prescribe medication and also offer a 24-hour emergency service so if your pet comes into trouble, we can help straight away. Get in touch with us today.