Use this quick dog health checklist to monitor your pet. How is your furry friend doing these days? You need to asses roughly your dog's health status.
No need for a complete MRI scan and complete genomic check-up. Just the olfactory and visual basics... Is your pooch looking happy, active and alert? For this check up no completed veterinary study is required. Use this dog health checklist today and start observing your dog objectively. Look at him or her. Look at the eyes, the nose, the coat… you can do it!
Just follow this checklist. Note a simple “OK” or “not OK” for each category and write down any specific signs you notice.
Use a journal or open a new text file on your computer. Write down today's date and take notes as you progress through this 10 step dog health checklist.
List any and all conditions for which your dog receives veterinary care or medications.
What's your doggie's breath like? Do you regard it bad or fresh? Most doggie owners never examine this, but a bad breath is often a clear sign of infected gums and rotting tooth sockets. Now gently open his mouth and look at his teeth. Are they sparkly white, ready for a toothpaste commercial, or do you see a lot of tartar build-up and loose teeth?
Look at his eyes? Does your doggy have bright, clean eyes? Do you see redness, discharge or are his eyes looking quite dull lately?
Does your dog have recurrent ear-infections? Does he have clean odourless ears or are they rather smelly? Do you see parasites (such as ticks and mites) or does your dog shake his head often acting like there are, perhaps also holding his head at an angle? When your dog has smelly ears or you notice the presence of pus, he could suffer from an ear-infection. Perhaps his skin is irritated (rather red instead of pale pink)? But if there's just an accumulation of earwax you could suffice with a careful ear cleaning (check with your vet for the right product and instructions for usage).
Is it greasy, flaky or thinning? Or is it just bright, shiny and glossy? Is the coat free of parasites (flees, tics, mite, lice) and hot spots (inflammatory skin infections)? Is your dog scratching and itching? Licking his paws a lot? Rubbing his ears against surfaces?
Does your dog have repeated infestations of worms or fleas?
Does your dog have excessive gas (farthing)? Suffer from recurrent diarrhoea, constipation or incontinence? Or does your pooch just have a problem-free elimination about twice a day, normal quantities and with a normal structure?
Is your dog low or high in energy? Is he a lazy couch-potato or suddenly hyper(re)active?
Does your dog have a normal appetite or is he seemingly disinterested in his food bowl? Has this always been the case or can you remember when this changed?
Has your dog's behavior changed for the worst? Did you notice a sudden onset of antisocial or aggressive behaviour? Or is he just a good boy with a fine attitude? Is he wagging his tail as usual when you make your presence or does he seem tired and grumpy?
Now have a look at your completed dog health checklist. Do you see a lot of problems? When you have a good score on assets (good breath, bright eyes, shiny coat etc.) and no or only small issues (the occasional fart) then the menu your dog is having these days doesn't seem to be the problem. Keep your notes for reference though! Write down on the same page the food your dog is currently eating. You may need this information later.
Perform the health check ups regularly, it's a good habit. Your dog will get used to having his ears and teeth inspected, which will come in handy at dog shows or at the veterinarian's. It's also good for bonding as it can be quite intimate to have someone look into your ears and mouth. When your dog is resisting a lot, you may need to establish your alpha role more strongly. And remember… You can't force being an alpha, you have to act like one to be recognized by your dog as one. However, training is beyond the scope of this website. So let's get back to the 10 step dog health checklist you just finished.
Did you discover some problems your dog may be having, these please go and visit your veterinarian and get professional advice. You may also want to visit your vet for a routine yearly health check which could include examination of blood samples for instance. This can of course be in combination with your visit for the yearly vaccinations.
Is your dog ok but could be better, then read on as we're going to get the best nutrition for your tail-wagger.
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For a complete survival guide on stress-free dog care, including detailed information on when your dog needs to see the vet, how to respond to pet emergencies, dog first aid and all common health problems, check out Ultimate Guide to Dog Health.
This is a quality handbook on dog health care, and teaches you how to take a proactive and prepared approach to knowledgeable dog ownership.