Life is a journey and dogs make it better. One of the best ways to ensure your dog remains a loving, loyal part of the family for a long time is to touch him or her. 10 touches, 10 minutes, once a week will keep a dog healthy, happy, and rewarding you with love.
Why Does Touch Matter?
Knowing what ‘normal’ looks like and feels like on your dog means that when something out of the ordinary or ‘abnormal’ happens, you, the dog parent, are ready to act. Case in point: In preparing to write this blog post and help you keep your dog healthy, my dog faced a life-threatening illness.
On Saturday, October 7th, my wife and I packed up the car and headed out of town for a day of fun with our dog, Dexter, to a New Jersey beach. There, the dog played, ran, and showed tons of energy.
Upon arrival back home about 11:30 pm, I decided to check my dog’s ear, as I thought he may be battling an ear infection, common in Cockers but only the second time ever for Dexter. I noticed he had some lumpy looking reddish marks on his inner ear flap. I immediately checked Dexter’s gums. They were normal in color and capillary refill was good, but he had some bleeding along the gum line, and in particular between two teeth on the right side rear portion of his mouth. I noticed splotchy red marks on the inside of his upper lip flaps, too.
My spouse and I rushed our dog to the emergency vet/hospital located about 10 minutes from our house.
Dexter spent four nights in the hospital, where a diagnosis of IMT, or immune-mediated thrombocytopenia was made. The body’s immune system attacks platelets as invaders, causing my dog’s platelet count to clock in at zero. (yes, zero).
Dexter recovered, is on medication, weekly vet visits, and thanks to our twice daily hospital visits, prompt attention to his medical care, and knowing that something was wrong, he is alive and healthy today.
As a lifelong dog mom, I encourage you to perform 10 touches on at least a weekly basis to keep your dog healthy. Here’s what to do:
Prepare to Treat Them Well
You want the experience of touch to be a positive one with your dog. There are two ways to get your dog used to being touched as a regular part of their life:
- Go on an adventure, similar to the one you will see outlined in this post. While having a fun day at a local fall festival, I rewarded Dexter with one of his favorite treats from True Chews®. I would pet him, check for lumps and bumps, snap a photo, give him a treat, and then go about our sightseeing.
- Touch Your Dog’s Body From Time to Time: Massage your dog gently from the tops of the feet, to petting the legs, lifting or looking at his ears, and do so in a positive and reinforcing way. I broke up little pieces of the True Chews® Dog Treats Pork and Chicken sausage treats during our recent weekly touch check.
10 Touches To Keep A Dog Healthy
Gums: Gently lift your dog’s lips and peek at his gums. Are they pink? Is there any bleeding? Are the gums a nice rosy or shrimp color? Dogs with black gums might be harder to discern, but if the gums are bleeding or white, see a vet immediately. Take a peek at the teeth while there. This is a win-win because dogs who are accustomed to having their mouth touched are more likely to accept tooth brushing.
This is the exact ‘touch’ that saved my dog’s life. As I examine Dexter’s mouth and body, I keep True Chews Premium Grillers on hand in little pieces next to me to praise and reward. I can use one treat for the entire experience.
Ears: Some dogs have floppy ears, like Dexter, and others have high standing erect ears. Whatever the case, look for any change in appearance, color, and if there is an odor or discharge.
Paw Pads: A broken nail can be very painful. An overgrowth of fur between the pad surfaces means dogs can slip on flooring. Any cuts or wounds on a paw pad need immediate attention. Visually inspect the paw while using touch to feel for anything unusual.
During our fall fun fest, Dexter allowed me to check his paws as we sat and enjoyed a tasty apple cider for his moms and a True Chews snack for Dexter. I feel good rewarding him with a treat that is made in the USA, as I am super fussy about the treats he eats.
Face: Your dog’s nose touches the ground, so be sure and give his face a once over. Feel for any lumps or bumps and look and feel for ticks or anything else. Is his nose bleeding? It might surprise you to learn that dogs can and do get a bloody nose for which veterinary care should be sought.
Eyes: The eyes are the window to the soul, and dogs carry such love in their hearts. Look for any redness, debris, changes, or discharge.
Double T’s: Tush and Tail: Most dogs love a good butt scratch: Gentle and massaging, across the tush and hips, feel for any bumps or lumps and take a peek, too: The sensitive anal glands are located in this area, so any unusual odors should be checked out by a veterinarian. Touch the tail for any bumps and ticks.
Now is a good time to reward with the True Chews snack you have hiding out in your pocket.
Jowls: They vary in size, depth, and thickness, but all dogs have them: Those cheeks must be checked. Give them a good inspection and if there is any blood, debris, or odor have that checked.
Belly: Ah, the oh so fabulous tummy rub. If your dog loves his tummy rubbed, this is a great way to gently feel for anything unusual as you run your fingers through his hair and across his skin. Take a peek at the coloring of his skin, too. Any sort of bruising or redness can indicate an issue.
NINJA DOG PARENT TIP: Take photos of anything unusual so you can show your dog’s vet at the next visit.
Head and Chest: Feel your dog’s chest and notice of there is any discomfort or pain while petting the chest area. Just behind the elbow on the left side of the dog’s chest is here you should be able to feel a heartbeat. Move onto the dog’s head and gently palpate, running your fingers along.
Lymph Nodes: The lymph nodes filter foreign invaders/particles from a dog’s blood stream. The lymphatic system includes organs like the thymus gland and spleen, so the regulation and production of cells of the immune system are involved. Touching the lymph nodes of the body and knowing where they are located is an important part of understanding your dog’s anatomy. Gently palpate the neck, legs, and groin region. Feel into your dog’s armpits.
Video Dog Touch Tutorial
If video is more your thing, couple the above tips with this easy-to-follow video to help prepare for your dog’s next touch session:
My Dog is My Sunshine
My dog, Dexter, is my heart shaper, love keeper, treat beggar, hope renewer, wigglebutt wagger, bone burier, ball player, life changer.
We go on many adventures together including cross country road trips, beach adventures, picnics, sightseeing, and meeting fellow dog parents from sea to shining sea. My life is enriched for his presence in it, and any sort of treat he gets from me has to be something I feel good giving him.
Why True Chews
Learn more about True Chews and find a store near you that carries this Made in the USA line of natural treats-you-can-feel-good feeding your dog.
We like the variety and quality of treats from True Chews, but your dog will just love the taste and making memories to last a lifetime with you.
What sort of adventures do you take with your dog to make memories? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to include those touches!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of True Chews. The opinions and text are all mine.