Ever heard of a doggy MOT? Well, you have now. I call it a doggy MOT when my dogs get a once over by myself – not a vet. It’s something any owner can do when you just follow some simple guidelines, which is what I’m going to do here.
There are places where a follow-up consultation with your vet is recommended, so please heed this advice where necessary.
Disclaimer: I am not a vet, so please, if in doubt, take your dog to be checked by a vet without delay.
- Your dogs’ coat – too many dogs come into my boarding kennels with neglected coats. All you need to do is keep them bathed, combed and infestation free. If you can’t for whatever reason, then take them to a recommended groomer or your vet, most vets have in-house groomers as well. Use grooming time to check your dogs’ skin condition and for any lumps that may be there.
- Teeth – from personal experience, this is a biggy for me. Ive always been on the ball with teeth care but it still catches me out now. Debris that collects around the tooth/gum line can (ultimately) lead to a general anaesthetic and tooth extractions, at best an infected gum. I am going to do a new blog on oral health but for now, do this:
- Inspect weekly or every few days
- Note status of teeth and monitor
- Give roast knuckle bones under supervision and take away when they start to become well chewed. (Avoid your dog ingesting pieces, can also cause constipation, it is your responsibility to use bones properly). Done correctly, roast knuckle bones can save your dog having to have an anaesthetic. I’ve seen the worst teeth come up beautifully on these roast knuckle bones alone. (NB I reiterate. Be responsible.)
- A good toothpaste like LOGIC paste. This can be rubbed on to the gums with your finger or brushed in the traditional way.
- You can sometimes chip off tartar with your nail. Do this!
- Ultimately go to the vets, but check your dogs’ teeth weekly.
- Nails – keep them trimmed to the right length. As dogs mature and become senior in their years they grow more or don’t wear so fast – whatever. Keep an eye on dew claws as they don’t wear and can grow full circle to dig in or puncture the dogs’ pads or skin – nasty, been there. Checking them saves this.
- Anal glands – most owners don’t even know what these are. They are little scent sacks on either side of the dogs bum that are supposed to empty when they poop. If you think its funny that your dog scoots its bottom on the floor, or you can see them nibbling or licking their bottoms its time for a trip to the vet.
- Eyes – do they run, get them checked. Do they look clear, can you see anything on the eyelids or in the eyeball that shouldn’t be there? Does either the top or bottom eyelid look like it is rolling in or out? Is there a pink stain or a visible stain on your dogs coat from their tear duct? Time for a checkup.
- Ears – check your dogs’ ears and get them used to being looked at before there is an issue. Same with anything if you only ever check your pet when in discomfort or pain, they will never let you check them over as they will associate you checking them over with the pain or discomfort. Trust me I’ve made that mistake.
Have fun checking your dog, it’s time to bond and get them used to being handled.