When you get to know your dog’s normal body shape, movements and behaviors, you can easily notice when there may be something wrong. Finding an abnormal spot on your dog’s skin or feeling a lump beneath the surface can quickly be examined and treated effectively when discovered sooner rather than later.
If you ever cuddle with your dog, whether it’s in bed or relaxing on the couch, there are several simple health checks you can perform on your dog in the process. Your furry friend will just think you’re petting them and giving them love, but at the same time you’re checking for changes and abnormalities. In this post, I’ll share the health checks I perform on Wynston on a routine basis so he stays as healthy as possible.
Simple Health Checks You Can Perform on Your Dog
Feel for Lumps and Bumps
When you regularly relax with your dog, you probably spend a considerable amount of time petting them. Next time you’re enjoying time on the couch, pet your pup while being mindful of any suspicious lumps or bumps. I found a lypoma on Wynston under his armpit because I could feel it. It was too small to see at first, but eventually grew. Make sure you feel those crevices, as masses can seemingly pop up overnight and grow overtime. Better to catch anything early!
Look in Their Ears
Your dog might not appreciate you handling their ears and looking down inside them, but while you’re snuggling simply massage the ears and take a quick peek in there. Make sure the ears are nice and pink in color. If the inner ear is dark or black, your pup most likely has an ear infection, at which time you’ll need to see your veterinarian.
Check for Parasites
While petting or brushing your dog, look closely through their fur for parasites such as fleas or ticks. Although these pests are small, they are visible when combing through your dog’s hair. Parasites also cause itchiness and irritation, so if your dog is scratching a lot, look closely for these nasty buggers. My favorite flea and tick treatment is Pet Armor.
Feel for Points of Pain
Offer your dog a deep massage, and observe if any areas seem to be causing pain. Check their back, legs, hips and neck especially. If your dog winces, growls or moves suddenly when you touch these areas, it may be time to seek veterinary attention for further examination. If the pain is severe, they may not want to be touched at all.
Observe Their Breathing
Make sure your dog’s breathing isn’t abnormally fast or slow. Keep in mind that if your furry friend just got done exercising or playing, their breathing may be a bit irregular.
Are your dog’s gums nice and pink? If they are, it means your pup is properly hydrated. Also look at the teeth for blackened areas, as that could mean Fido is due for a cleaning. Your dog should get regular teeth cleanings annually once they turn 5-7 years old.
Be Aware of Excessive Licking and Scratching
If your furry friend is licking or scratching excessively, they may have fleas or ticks. They could also have a skin condition that you may need to have looked at. Look for redness and inflammation, then determine a plan of action with the help of your vet.
Give Them a Massage
Everyone loves a deep tissue massage! Your dog will very much benefit from a thorough massage to relax their muscles, especially if they are active or aging.
Understanding your dog’s body shape and intricacies will help you easily determine when there’s been a change. Also, if there seem to be differences in their movement or activity level, you will want to further observe their behavior. You can perform all of the above health checks on your pup while snuggling on the couch, cuddling in bed or whatever relaxing activity you both do together.