A doggie at home is not just a pet, but a baby of the house! Our dogs are our babies loved and pampered by everyone in the family. And why not? After all our dogs give us so much unconditional love. They can smell danger for the family even while we might not be skeptical about a situation. They are always ready to give us company and are happy to join us wherever we go. All in all, there is more than one reason why we love our pets so much!

A bubbly, energetic pet always enlivens the pet parent’s heart and we wish our pet stays the same always. However, this is easier said than done. Our pets also suffer from the vagaries  of ill-health just the way we do. The only difference is that we humans can often perceive the onset of a disease and also take preventive action pro-actively. On the other hand, for our beloved pooches, it is for us to decipher that some health affliction is on its way!

Certainly, we want to dismiss any health morbidity for our pets as soon as possible. What if we tell you that there are ways of finding out if your pet is suffering from some health issue! A simple DIY check of your pet can give you a peep into its internal health. What’s better is that by noticing budding symptoms, we can arrest a disease that might become the cause of much trouble later on, not just to the pet, but also to the pet parents. Having a sick pet is not only stressful, it is also emotionally draining. 

Most diseases show their unfolding as faint changes in the body of the pet. A close look at your fur-baby’s body will tell you if he is 10 on 10 in health or scores a bit lower. Skin is the largest organ in the body and also tells a lot about the pet’s condition. A dull coat that also sheds symbolizes poor skin health. The reasons for poor skin health could be many. It could be a fat deficiency, or a protein deficiency or just body heat (we often witness skin diseases in dogs in summer). Sometimes, the culprit for a poor coat are the notorious ticks and fleas. 

The reasons for compromised health in our pet could be many and will need further investigation.  However, a body check will not only tell us if an investigation is required, it will also guide us with our investigation. For example, a skin eruption may be a sign of a food allergy, while a non-pliable skin may be a sign of dehydration. To investigate a food allergy, the pet parent will need to start making notes about the foods fed to the pet. While investigating dehydration, the pet parent will have to immediately start feeding high moisture food to the dog while also providing water to drink at all times. If the problem resolves, then we can be sure that our investigation was in the right direction!

Though a body check-up is important when it comes to inspecting your pet’s health. Yet, the behavior of your pet is a far more noticeable function of your dog’s health. A healthy dog, who gets appropriate nutrition, ample love and sufficient exercise is happy, active and very responsive. Whereas, if you feel your dog is disinterested in the environment, is dull or on the contrary, is hyperactive, you may consider this as reason enough to suspect an underlying condition for your dog. While a disease might be proliferating inside the body of your pet, it takes several weeks for it to manifest into behavioral changes. Therefore, a regular body check-up is essential to identify and arrest any underlying health problem in your dog, at the earliest.

Having shared this, there are another two very important tools when it comes to a DIY check-up for your pet. These are:

  • Temperature check: The temperature for a dog is taken rectally using any digital rectal thermometer. Lubricate the end of the thermometer with petroleum jelly or any soothing balm and insert it about 1 inch (for small dogs) to 2 inches (medium to large dogs)  into the rectum of your dog. The normal temperature of a healthy dog should be between 100° F to 102.5° F.

  • Breath Count Check: Look at your dog’s chest and count the number of breaths a minute. A normal resting dog would breathe between 15 to 30 breaths every minute. Also observe the quality of breath of your dog. The chest should move in and out rhythmically, with ease and every breath should look effortless.
All DIY health check measures must be used regularly by pet parents. If two or more of the body checkpoints are in the red zone, special attention must be given by the pet parent to their pet’s health. Special attention to the appetite of the pet should be given. In case any appetite loss is seen, the pet’s behaviour should also be closely monitored. Once the pet parent suspects that the pet may be having an underlying health disorder, a blood profiling will help determine if everything is alright with the pooch. Some of the standard tests done to ascertain the pet’s health are Complete Blood Count, a Liver function Test, a Kidney Function Test and a Thyroid Profiling.

Wishing your pooch great health now and forever!