Is Fido Feeling Foul? Let’s face it – you don’t go out looking for problems when you bring a dog into your family. But often, that is exactly what you get! So, before you go out and pick up a new pooch, here are some tips on how to avoid some of the top 5 dog health problems:
1. EAR PROBLEMS
First of all, common sense comes into play here – keep the inner and outer ear canals clean. To do this, you will need cotton balls, cotton swabs, rubbing alcohol and warm water.
Start out by dipping a cotton ball in warm water, wringing it out and then gently cleaning your pup’s ears. Heap tons of praise on him as you do this, so this is as positive an experience as possible. Then fill up a dropper with the alcohol and carefully disperse it into the ear canal. Repeat. Doing this 2 to 3 times a week should be sufficient. Also, because the alcohol will dry up the ears, so do this every time your dog’s ears get wet.
If your dog is shaking his head, scratching his ears and/or has a foul odor coming out of the ear, a visit to the vet is in order.
2. SKIN DISORDERS
Sometimes skin disorders can be serious and warrant the attention of a veterinarian. But often they are a result of a poor diet. Solution? Make sure you are feeding Fido the right kind of food. Essential fatty acids are, well, essential. He also needs proteins, vitamins and minerals. When your vet recommends premium dog food, it is not because he is getting some kind of a kickback from the manufacturer. It is because the premium foods are simply better for your precious pup.
Proper grooming is essential as well. A good brushing will stimulate the sebaceous glands, which will keep your dog’s skin and fur well moisturized. You know how uncomfortable dry skin can be. So does your dog. If you find any dry patches, apply some olive oil as needed. Matted fur can lead to problems as well, so brushing often is important.
If you find any “hot spots” when grooming your dog, call the vet right away.
Of course, parasites can be the cause of skin problems with your pooch, especially if she has allergies. Proper flea and tick control is vital.
3. PERIODONTAL DISEASE
If your dog’s breath practically knocks you out when he is panting out his ‘welcome home’ to you, the disease has probably set in. Call your vet.
Of course, the best way to treat periodontal disease in dogs is to avoid it altogether! This requires some commitment on your part. As with your teeth, your dog’s need proper attention, which means daily brushing, professional cleaning, and a healthy diet.
Human sufferers of arthritis know how much it hurts and can tell you all about it. Your pooch knows the pain, but cannot verbalize it. But you can spot the symptoms. Between the doggy wobble and the yelping upon lying down or rising, you can pretty much assume she is suffering from arthritis.
Again, there are things you can do to help prevent this. Start with — you guessed it — a proper diet. Add plenty of exercise and keep your pup’s weight down. These are the three most important things! In order to keep your dog’s joint cartilage in good shape, talk to your vet about supplementing her diet with Glucosamine and Chondroitin.
Using doggy steps and ramps to help avoid any jarring injuries to your pup’s joints (when jumping out of the car, for instance) can go a long way in avoiding the pain of arthritis as she ages.
5. VOMITING AND DIARRHEA
Nothing is more unpleasant than a pooch plagued with problems of this sort. Warding them off is your best plan of attack!
Need I say it again? A proper diet is essential. Keeping your dog out of the garbage is another vital step, coupled with not feeding him table scraps and people food, especially raw eggs, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, onions, chives, milk, raw meat, grapes and raisins, avocadoes, yeast dough, macadamia nuts and garlic.
If your dog is prone to stomach problems, probiotics and fiber supplements might be necessary. Depending on the frequency, you also might want to switch over to hypoallergenic food.
If either the vomiting or diarrhea is severe, call your vet immediately.