Category Archives: Healthy Dog Signs

Fleas Are Not Your Friends

puppy-scratching-fleas-300x282Chances are that if your dog has fur he has had fleas at some point. Actually, even if your dog doesn’t have fur they can still get fleas; they just hide better in fur. At some point you’re going to need to do something about them if you haven’t already. So let’s get down to it.

There are plenty of medicinal options out for there you to choose from – Frontline, Advantage, etc. – and there are plenty of versions – pills, topical, injections. Is any one going to be better than the other? Absolutely, but with a few clauses.

Quick tip: giving your dog a bath regularly will help in the fight against flea prevention. Be sure to use the right kind of shampoo and begin at your dog’s head and neck, working your way down.

First off, every dog is going to react differently to various medications just as a human would. For example, one dog may do very well with a pill form of flea prevention and do very badly with the exact same brands’ topical version. It is also important to take into consideration your dogs’ weight as getting the best application is based on this. There are also medications that are made specifically for certain breeds and weights. This is why it’s important to speak with your veterinarian about the best choice for your dog.

Your veterinarian will be able to tell you what has the best track record for what breed, age and environment your dog lives in. So remember that if your first choice didn’t work there are several explanations. One possible reason is your dog has sensitive skin. There are some breeds that react badly to topical ointments and other dogs that simply may just be allergic to that type of flea treatment.

Remember that after applying your chosen medication, fleas will continue to hatch and appear on your dog for several days. In fact, it can take up to a month for the medication to take full effect. The strength of each medicine will vary, but know that your veterinarian can prescribe stronger flea medication than you could buy in a store on your own.

Quick tip: if your dog has fleas, use a flea comb regularly to remove them. Keep a bowl of soapy water nearby and dip the comb in after each pass.

After giving your dog the medication there are also monthly applications available. This is a great preventive measure to use on an ongoing basis, especially if you dog is primarily outdoors. It’s also possible to treat your house or yard for fleas by using water-proof chemicals. This may speed up the process of getting rid of them.

Multi-preventive medications are injections or monthly pills for your dog that guard against fleas, ticks, or other parasites. Injections are not only becoming more popular because of their effectiveness at killing fleas, but also their longevity – a typical flea prevention injection will last up to 6 months!

With knowledge on new products, success rates, and breed specific options, your vet will be able to recommend the best option for you and your dog.

Signs of a Healthy Dog

Just as scheduling regular veterinary checkups is important, so too is being able to understand the signs of a healthy and unhealthy dog. Learning how to recognize these signs will help you keep your dog healthy and happy.

Cold Nose = Healthy Dog? Maybe.

Curious by nature, your dog’s first impulse when interested in anything is to sniff around a bit.  However, don’t be alarmed if your dogs’ nose is warm; a dogs’ nose will fluctuate between warm and cold throughout the day. If your dog’s nose is warm for a prolonged period of time or shows signs of cracking, you should take your dog to the vet.

Likewise, if you notice your dog’s nose is always cold, this could be the sign of a cold. Just as you would expect your nose to be running if you were sick, your dog’s will too.

Healthy Eyes and Ears

While some dogs have eyes that tear up naturally, under normal circumstances your dog should have free and clear eyes. If you notice your dogs’ eyes consistently discharging or appear to be red or irritated, consult your veterinarian.

You should think of cleaning your dogs’ ears just as you would your own. If you notice your dog is scratching their ears more, this could be an indication of an infection. Dogs with more hair in their ears may need more frequent cleaning as well.

Show Your Smile

Take care to ensure your dog has healthy and clean teeth that are free of plaque and tartar build up. While you can brush your dog’s teeth just as you would your own, an easy way to help your dog have healthy teeth and gums is to give them treats that are specifically designed to help keep their teeth clean. As an added benefit, they can also help keep your dog from having “dog breath”.

Manage Your Dog’s Weight

Most dogs aren’t going to turn down a bowl full of food when you put it in front of them; all the more reason to regulate how much food your dog eats. Dogs that are overweight have increased risk of other health problems including heart and respiratory issues.

As different breeds benefit from different portions and formulas of food, you should consult your vet on the best choice for your dog. At an ideal weight, you should be clearly see their waist and be able to gently feel your dog’s ribs on the sides. An indication of an overweight dog could be struggling during times of exercise or playing.

Paws and Pads

Having four feet means there’s twice as many feet to worry about than you’re used to. While your dog’s pads are designed to be tough and resilient, they still need proper care. Routinely trimming their nails is one way to ensure their feet stay healthy. While trimming their nails, you can also check for any redness, swelling or foreign objects.

Your dog may not be able to tell you what they need, but understanding these signs and indicators will ensure your dog remains happy and healthy.