The Importance of Dog Health
Dog health is of critical importance, and you must understand its components to keep your pup in optimal shape.
As with other mammals, dogs are susceptible to diseases and parasites which can pose serious threats if left untreated. Disease symptoms vary depending on the disease in question but typically include lethargy, loss of appetite, bloody diarrhea and respiratory distress. Early diagnosis means better chances of treating your pet before disease becomes harder to manage.
Cancer is one of the leading illnesses affecting dogs, and early diagnosis and treatment can make a tremendous difference in outcomes. Be alert for lumps or bumps on your pet as well as weight changes, lip licking, lack of appetite, bleeding from mouth/nose/ears and slow healing wounds as signs to keep an eye out for.
Dogs frequently experience skin infections caused by bacteria, yeast or fungus. A bacterial infection typically manifests itself with redness, itching and oozing at the site of injury – often known as hot spots – while yeast and fungal infections tend to be milder but still uncomfortable for their owners. A veterinarian will typically clean and medicate affected areas, along with prescribing antifungal medicines or topical creams as treatment solutions.
Parasites can be an extremely serious health risk for our pets, and your vet can prescribe preventative medication to address them. Most often these come in the form of chewable pills or topical solutions and should be given once monthly to combat fleas, heartworms, ticks and mosquitoes – particularly prevalent in warmer climates – but can also serve to protect against internal parasites like hookworms and whipworms.
Diet and exercise are essential components of overall pet wellness. Your veterinarian can offer specific guidance tailored to the age, breed and size of your animal; typically more physical activity and diets low in fat are recommended for overweight pets.
Regular exams are also key in keeping your pup healthy. Wellness visits can detect heart murmurs, enlarged lymph nodes and abdominal tumors as well as any liver, kidney or spleen issues which might not show up during radiographs or physical exams.
AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) and AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) have provided guidelines designed to prevent disease in pets through regular physical exams, blood and urine testing, tick and flea screening and tick-flea control screening. Adopting these preventive medicine measures will not only extend and enrich your dog’s life but can save money as early detection allows treatment at an easier and cheaper cost.