Giving your double coated dog a thorough check over on a regular basis could end up saving you thousands at the vet. So here are some common sense checks you can do in the comfort of your home where your beloved dog is most at ease.
Let’s start with the ears. Are they clean? Are they inflamed or red? Are there any strange lumps? Do they smell? Look for any clear, grey or brown fluid seeping from the ear, thick wax-like material, or any scabs, scratches or wounds. If you see any of these signs DO NOT clean the ear and consult your local vet. Seek professional advice on how to clean your dogs’ ears as there are ways to clean without damaging the eardrum.
Next are the eyes. A dog should have clear and clean eyes without any redness or swelling, and be wide open. Some double coated dog breeds including the Japanese or German Spitz, or the Pomeranian have some form of discharge which is not harmful, but needs wiping away on a daily or twice daily basis. Perhaps looking at their diet or exercise could improve this scenario. If the discharge is of a thick consistency or is cream in colour, get advice from your vet.
Moving onto oral health. Check your dog for brown straining on the teeth, ulcers, red gums, or even bleeding. Bad breath is also a concern for gum disease. A pink healthy tongue is what you should expect when looking at that. A yearly check-up at the vet is recommended to spot early onset of serious conditions and to clean as needed.
The double coat. Ensure you are cleaning your dog as required with the correct shampoos and conditioners, and grooming them in the right way. If you notice their coat is thinning out too much or has taken on a dull colour or texture, get it looked over at your vet. A change in diet can cause allergies or reactions in the fur or skin.
Skin examination. Start with the nose looking for abnormal or red discolouration or any small lumps that have appeared. It’s imperative to look really closely under their double coat for all kinds of issues ranging from any flea infestations through to any lumps which could out to be tumours. Make sure to check their tails and look in and around the anal area as well for lumps or abnormal redness. Ageing dogs often start to develop tumorous lumps round their nether regions, so early detection is paramount. Take a quick look at their genitals as well for any swelling or excessive gooey off-colour seepage.
Look at their paws. It can be easy for plant awns, small twigs or splinters, or seeds to get stuck in-between their paws. It’s also possible their soft pads have been cut on glass or other sharp objects whilst out on a walk. Make sure you trim their nails regularly not only so they don’t get their nails caught on something, but also so that they don’t scratch your legs to bits when they try to hump. Remember to give your dog a treat after each check as a reward for being helpful and happy to be checked over. It’s always a good idea to start checks at an early age so your best friend knows it is part of their life’s routine. Otherwise ease into it, but make it a regular habit. Early detection and prevention is better than advanced life-threatening conditions.