As a pet owner, the health and well being of your dog is one of your top priorities. Vet bills can be expensive, though, and it is important to know how to make sure that you have a healthy dog without having to visit the vet for constant unnecessary check ups. Here are a few tips that will help you in monitoring the health of your dog regularly so that you can keep both your dog and yourself feeling and looking happy.
One of the best ways to keep your dog in the best physical condition, and therefore keep the vet bills lower, is to do a couple of things for healthy dog maintenance. Feed a good quality dog food that has a protein source like beef, chicken, or another meat as the first ingredient. Try to avoid dog foods that have fillers, animal by-products, or that contain corn as the first ingredient listed on the label. Make sure that you regularly give your dog a heart-worm prevention pill, usually one time monthly. Use a flea and tick preventative on a monthly basis as well to help prevent many of the common problems seen in dogs today. Make sure that your pet gets plenty of exercise, and most of all make sure your dog has lots of interaction time with you and does not get lonely or bored.
Sometimes your dog may seem sick, however, and it is important to know when to go to the vet and when you can handle it at home. In fact, you can make sure you have a healthy dog by doing weekly checkups at home. Begin with looking at your dog's ears, making sure they are clean and free of any unusual sores or discoloration. Check your dog's eyes next, making sure they are bright, focused, and are not leaking or cloudy. Gently check your dog's mouth and be sure that the gums are a healthy pink color, and that there is nothing unusual looking around the gum line or teeth. Check your dog's nails, making sure that they are not long enough to be causing trouble when walking. Finally, run your hand gently over your dog's body, searching for any lumps, bumps, or sore areas.
If you find any of the warning signs above while doing your home checkup, or notice extreme lethargy, weakness, loss of weight, total loss of appetite, vomiting, persistent diarrhea, discolored urine, or difficulty moving, it is best to call and check with your vet. If you and your vet work together, you can keep a healthy dog. Your dog will feel better, and so will you.