You are here

Canine General Health

Some Suggestions For Keeping Your Dog Healthy

Maintaining your dog in top physical shape and optimum health is the goal of every responsible dog owner. It is also your veterinarian’s goal and together, you can ensure that your pet stays healthy for years to come. Crucial to maintaining your dog’s good health is the routine physical examination that your veterinarian performs on your pet.


Why are regular check-ups important?

Check-ups are important because they provide an opportunity to prevent diseases or even avoid them altogether. Unfortunately, many pet owners tend to underestimate the value of these visits because their pets appear to be healthy. This may be deceiving since many diseases are often not evident in the early stages.


Questions and Answers

The check-up also provides pet owners with the opportunity to have their questions answered regarding health, nutrition, training and hygiene.

Obedience training is important for your pet’s health because behavioral problems can account for may preventable deaths in dogs. In fact, a well-trained and obedient dog is more likely to live to a ripe old age than a poorly trained one. Obedience-trained dogs are less likely to be involved in car accidents and dogfights, tend to be happier, and are less likely to have behavioral problems. The checkup provides an opportunity to discuss training techniques and behavior concerns with your veterinarian.

Feeding a proper diet rates as one of the most important considerations in health maintenance. Its importance lies not only in optimizing a pet’s health, but also in the prevention and management of many diseases. Nutritional counseling is an essential part of the veterinarian’s checkup and many owners use the opportunity to gain valuable advice on what to feed their pets.


What happens during an examination?

Before the physical examination begins, your veterinarian asks you questions concerning your dog’s state of health. This is very important for determining whether or not there are problem areas that need to be addressed. For example, a "history" of poor weight gain or weight loss can provide a clue to your veterinarian that there may be a parasite problem. Intestinal parasites (worms and protozoans) are a common problem in pets. This is particularly true in young puppies, but also holds true for adult animals. With a simple stool test, your veterinarian is able to detect the presence of these parasites.

After obtaining a history, your veterinarian performs a physical examination on your dog. Starting at the head, your veterinarian examines the eyes, ears, face, and mouth. Examining the teeth is especially important since up to eighty-five percent of all dogs and cats over four years of age have some degree of periodontal disease! Early detection of periodontal disease is important, not only for effective treatment but also future prevention.


Disease detection

During the physical examination, your veterinarian listens to the chest with a stethoscope to make sure there are no respiratory or cardiovascular problems. For example, the early warning signs of heart failure can be detected in this way. Since more than 12% of the dog population experiences some form of heart problem in their lifetime, leading to heart failure, early detection is crucial.