Proper hygiene

Health Tips

Proper hygiene and a loving atmosphere are the prerequisites for the growth of healthy pets. In case of dogs, cleanliness and health care becomes even more important, because they are some of the most active pets.

Your Dog's Teeth

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When was the last time you cleaned your dog's ears or brushed its teeth? These often overlooked areas of pet care are essential for the health and well-being of your dog.

Your Dog's Teeth

Dogs need regular dental care. Buildup of tartar can cause inflamed, swollen gums and secondary infection that can lead to serious health problems. Dogs, one to three years old, should have their teeth brushed once a week. Dogs over three years old should have their teeth brushed three times a week.

Use a toothbrush that is made especially for dogs. They have long handles which allow you to brush the dog's back teeth. Never use human toothpaste, use an enzyme toothpaste specifically made for your dog.

There are specially treated dental cleaning pads which can be wiped over the surface of the dog's teeth. The enzymes in the pad do the cleaning.

The Ten Most Important Tips for Keeping Your Older Dog Healthy

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The Ten Most Important Tips for Keeping Your Older Dog Healthy

1. Establish a relationship with the best veterinarian you can find. For most older dogs, it is advisable to make an appointment with the vet every six months. Your vet should be someone whom you trust and with whom you feel very comfortable.

2. Become informed about the conditions common to older dogs and the therapies used for them. Be alert to symptoms, bring them to your vet's attention promptly, and be prepared to discuss treatment options.

3. Feed your older dog the best food you can afford; consider feeding him a home-prepared diet and two small meals daily rather than one large one.

4. Don't overfeed your dog. Obesity will create health problems and shorten his life.

5. Consider the use of dietary supplements such as glucosamine/chondroitin for arthritis.

6. Give your senior dog adequate exercise, but adjust it to her changing abilities.

7. Attend to your dog's dental health. Brush her teeth daily and have them cleaned professionally whenever your vet advises it.

8. Tell your vet you wish to have your dog vaccinated only once every three years, as currently advised by the major veterinary associations.

9. Be diligent in controlling fleas and ticks, and keep your dog and his environment scrupulously clean.

10. Make your senior dog as much a part of your life as possible, and do all you can to keep him interested, active, happy and comfortable.

Common Health Problems Facing Older Dogs

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All dogs are different and, depending on their size, breed and activity level, will exhibit health problems differently.  However, there are common health issues that may manifest in all senior dogs including the following:

  • Joint and bone problems
  • An overall reduction in their metabolism
  • Difficulty with their eyes and ears
  • Liver and kidney dysfunctions
  • Skin becomes thin and less pliable while the coat becomes mottled and patchy
  • Problem with teeth and gums

Unlike a little puppy who has an endless supply of energy, an older dog will tend to slow down and take longer to lay down or stand up.  Instead of bounding up the stairs your senior dog might take each stair one at a time.

Your dog may develop arthritis, an inflammation of the joints causing pain and discomfort, which is generally the cause of this slowing down.  There are a host of anti-inflamatory drugs that your veterinarian can suggest to reduce the discomfort caused by arthritis

How To Keep Dogs Healthy

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How To Keep Dogs Healthy

  • Prepare for the visit beforehand. Jot down all the queries about your dog and seek information about potential problems, from your veterinarian.
  • You may need a stool sample of your dog as well as its inoculation records. You should also be aware of flea and tick prevention and control programs, the prevention and symptoms of heart worm tests and Parvo Virus. To get all the required information, consult a veterinary doctor.
  • Get prescription for a good antiseptic cream for daily use.
  • You may use a syringe, without the needle, to give liquid medicine to your dog. Insert the syringe through the mouth of the dog, when it is closed, and place it behind its canine teeth. The liquid medicine should be given slowly and gently.
  • The best way to give pills to the dog is to make the pet sit down upright, by tilting its head back. Lift the lips away from its teeth; hold its upper jaw by the gums behind the canine teeth. Now, push down on the lower jaw with the other hand and place the pill in the very back of its throat. Close its mouth and stroke its throat softly, until the pill is swallowed.
  • You may also consider crushing the pills and mixing them with peanut butter, to make the dog swallow the medication with it.
  • Dog's normal breathing rate is 15 to 20 per minute, while normal heartbeat is 100 to 150 beats per minute. To check the pulse of the pet, place your hand under its chest or under its rear leg.
  • Dog's body temperature is checked using the rectal thermometer. The normal temperature of the dog is around 100 to 102 degrees F.
  • Mucus membranes of the dog, such as the gums, tongue and inside of eyelids should be healthy pink. Any other color is an indication of sickness.
  • A change in dog's behavior and untimely laziness, growling, snarling or irritability indicates that your dog needs to be taken to the clinic.
  • Dog's ears are prone to infections quite easily because of the accumulation of dirt and debris. Therefore, routine ear care is very essential. In case your pet is suffering from infections, say, ear mites, then treat its ears with mineral oil. Soak a cotton ball in mineral oil and clean your pet's ears with it. You may also put two drops of the oil into the dog's ear, using an eye dropper, and massage the ear gently. Thereafter, clean the ears with a dry cotton ball.
  • Dogs need proper dental care, because buildup or plaque and tartar could lead to swollen gums. Secondary infections may also arise, leading to serious health problems. Hence, brush your pet's teeth twice a week, using a soft-bristled toothbrush.

How to Treat and Prevent Kennel Cough

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Coughs in dogs is a common upper respiratory problem that can affect a high percentage of dogs over their lifetime. Also known as tracheobronchitis or Bordetella, this disease can be caused by a virus or bacteria. Most often, the disease is mild and goes away on its own. It also can lead to serious complications or death if left untreated.

Like colds in humans, the disease is spread in close confinement at a shelter or anywhere there are a lot of dogs in a small space. Be aware that it can be spread for up to fourteen weeks after the infection has been cleared. Some dogs are more susceptible than others.

If that’s the case with your dog, try to keep it away from other animals. Board it at a friend’s home to try to avoid infection. Vaccinations are also an option and can be administered to puppies as young as three weeks. A 5 or 7-way vaccine can protect against several contagions, but is not a catchall, your dog can still contract this condition.

Many dogs exhibit no symptoms beyond a hacking cough, many continue to eat and sleep normally. Treatment will try to relieve symptoms in mild cases with cough suppressants. More severe cases may require antibiotics.

Though this condition is usually mild and rarely results in death, most pet owners want to protect their dog. Keep your dog out of kennels, away from other dogs and keep your dog healthy and happy.

If your pet is sick and the condition doesn’t seem to get better, it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian. They will give it necessary medication to help it heal fast.

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