Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fall Is An Ideal Time For Your Dog's Health Check

An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away ***
Dogs Can't Eat Too Many Apples*** But They Can Get A Fall Check Up To Stay Healthy

There are a lot of reasons fall is the ideal time for a check up for your dog. Older dogs, those over five years of age, benefit from an annual visit to the veterinarian. Winters can be hard on dogs and if your older pet is suffering now from stiffness and arthritis, the winter will be even harder on his joints. There are new medications that can be used to alleviate these symptoms, but they often require blood work and a prescription. A visit now will assure a comfortable winter for your older dog.

For all dogs, fall is the time for heartworm testing. If your dog has not been on heartworm preventative throughout the summer or through the year, he/she should be tested now. Twice yearly tests can catch the disease before it spreads and matures, and is very difficult and expensive to treat. A simple blood test is all that is required.

With the change in seasons also comes a change of coat for most dogs. Dogs with double coats consisting of a fluffy undercoat interspersed with guard hair may be in the final stages of loosing the undercoat. To assure that the winter coat grows in well and is not matted, the old coat has to be brushed out. A bath in warm water with a good shampoo, followed by a cream rinse and blow dry with a hair dryer brushing as you go, should do it. If you are not inclined to mess with the hair, a visit to the dog groomers is a good way to accomplish your goal and leave your house hair free. There are also dog washes springing up around the northeast Ohio. At a dog wash you can go and take advantage of the facilities and do it yourself.

One of the advantages of a professional grooming is that they will also trim your dog’s nails. If you look at the nails and can see where they curve downward, the nails are too long. Another way to tell is if you can hear the nails clicking on the tile as your dogs walks across the floor. Long nails are bad for your dog’s feet, making him walk on the heels of his pads. Most veterinarians and groomers will trim your dog’s nails on a walk in basis for a reasonable fee.

Ears may be something else that needs attention. If you have a Poodle or Cocker Spaniel or any dog where the hair grows under the ear, you need to check for infection. Clearing out excess hair under the ears with clippers or carefully with scissors will increase the flow of air and help prevent ear infections. Ears are also good places for ticks and fleas to hide. So checking ears is doubly important.

Speaking of fleas, now is the time to double check for fleas. The best place to find these on your dog is underneath on the stomach and between the back legs. You will be looking for little brown fleas, and also for the dirt they leave behind which looks like a sprinkling of coffee grounds. If you see any of these signs a flea bath is in order followed by a trip to the veterinarian to get flea medication and a consult on treating your premises.

Now is also the time to check bedding and fill those dog beds with new cedar chips, which help repel fleas and insects. A bath, new bedding and a visit to the veterinarian for a check up and your dog will be all ready for a healthy and fun winter.

All items including pictures and text on this blog are copyright (c) and are the sole property of Deborah Lynch, pictures and text may not be copied or reproduced in any format.

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