You pride yourself on giving your dog the very best. But truth be told, there are only a few tell-tale signs that indicate your dog’s health is truly up to snuff. You might check your dog’s eyes for clarity, skin and coat for glossiness, and stool for shape and consistency. But what else can be done to look after your dog’s health?
If this question is one you’ve asked yourself, you’re in just the right mindset. According to Dr. Lauren Pagliughi, DVM, Veterinary Communications Manager at Purina, preventative care is a hot topic for veterinary professionals. Veterinarians are actively encouraging their clients to take preventative measures early and often. Of course, that means taking your dog to the veterinarian for his annual check-up. Some veterinarians even recommend bi-annual check-ups.
But preventative care goes well beyond the veterinarian’s office. Here are some simple steps from Dr. Pagliughi on how to put preventative care into action at home with your dog.
Stay on top of heartworm and flea and tick medicine
Your dog’s heartworm medication and flea and tick prevention is available through your veterinarian in monthly doses. Remember that prevention of heartworm disease and tickborne diseases is much easier and more affordable than the costs associated with treatment. So stay on top of the monthly dosage schedule. You never know when a lapse could lead to a flea or tick infestation or heartworm disease.
Conduct a body condition exam
Most of us don’t have daily access to the large scale at the veterinarian’s office, but that doesn’t mean you can’t monitor your dog’s body condition. A body condition examination focuses on your dog’s ribs, waistline, and stomach. All it takes is three easy steps, and if conducted monthly, it can help you spot any noticeable changes to your dog over time. Watch our video on how to conduct a body condition exam at home.
Check for lumps and bumps
It’s always good to feel around your dog’s body with your hands and take note of anything irregular that might be forming. If you identify a lump or bump, visit your veterinarian. He or she can take a sample of it to determine whether it should be removed or is not a concern.
Help prevent periodontal disease
Periodontal disease is one of the top two diseases that affects animals. To help prevent problems that could potentially arise later on, it's important to be diligent about brushing your dog's teeth. Periodontal disease can occur over a long period of time, and because the effects aren’t usually immediate, it’s easy to forget or postpone the task of brushing your dog’s teeth. The best advice is to make teeth brushing a habit. And brushing your dog's teeth doesn't have to be a chore for either of you -- check out our video on how to brush your dog's teeth.
Monitor activity level
We all expect our dogs to slow down once they hit a certain age, but if you notice that your dog is less energetic or slow to get to his feet, you shouldn’t dismiss it as old age. As Dr. Pagliughi says, “age is not a disease.” A change in activity or energy level could be related to a health issue. Instead of worrying or making assumptions, consult your veterinarian.
Watch both intake and output
It’s important to closely monitor the amount of food and water your dog is consuming. Fortunately, all Just Right® blends come with personalized feeding instructions to advise on how much you should be feeding. (You can also learn how much water your dog should be drinking.) In addition to your dog’s intake, be sure to look after the output, too. Is your dog urinating and defecating normally? If you notice a change, contact your veterinarian.
Stabilize your dog's diet
One reason to keep your dog on a consistent diet is to ensure he’s getting the 100% complete and balanced nutrition he needs every day. According to Dr. Pagliughi, a consistent diet also helps you catch changes or irregularities. If you feed the same formula or blend every day, it can help you tune into variances related to your dog’s body condition or activity level. Consider creating a personalized blend for your dog to suit his nutritional needs with Just Right®.