If you can do just one thing just FoR today (FoR as in “Fidose of Reality”) to change your dog’s life, how paw-tastic would that be? Touching my dog is today’s topic.
We’ve been scouring the world of dog news and sharing with Fidose of Reality readers tips to enhance your dog’s life and things to ensure they aren’t a victim of things like dog food scares, treat recalls, etc.
We’ve been discussing different things here on Fidose of Reality that take seconds or minutes but can make a huge difference in a dog’s health, well-being, and life in general.
Just FoR today, January 18, 2012: Should I be touching my dog to see if there is anything wrong and how do I know?
Abso-waggingly-lutely. Not only do studies prove that dogs are calmer, happier, and connect with us emotionally when we pet, massage and rub them, but feeling your dog’s skin, paws, head, ears, feet, and all over can help detect some problems before they continue or worsen.
Cases in point:
Ears: Run your fingertips along the flap of Fido’s ears – inside and out, taking caution not to disturb the opening. Feel if there are any unusual swellings or bumps and visually inspect for growths.
Legs: Besides the legs, also check the paws and in between the dog’s toes. If your dog gets groomed, be sure to check with the groomer after every session to see if anything was felt or seen. If the dog is not accustomed to having its skin felt or feet touched, slowly ease him into the process and provide reward for positive reinforcement.
Butt Check: Yes, the butt isn’t the most pleasant area to screen, but having had a dog who had a tumor appear on her hind end, this is something worth looking into, literally. Inspect the tail, the tip and underside of it and around the anal area. Using fingertips gently palpate the tushie to feel for any lumos.
Head: Oh la la, Fido will think he’s in doggy heaven when you give a scalp massage, but this also serves to screen for any growths, ticks, or abnormalities. If you do find a tick, never remove with fingertips. Something like a Tick Key comes in handy.
Stomach and back: While the tummy rub ensues, gently feel for anything near the rib cage or chest, where sometimes fatty tumors (lipomas) can be found.
Lymph nodes: Once my belated Cocker Spaniel, Brandy, had a grade 2 mast cell tumor, the vet taught me how to palpate the lymph nodes for anything unusual. I was glad I learned. Every week she thought it was the best rub since well, the last one she had, but I was also checking for anything new.
If you do find anything, check with your vet as a lump could be a variety of things. Here’s a good link from PetMD on lumps and bumps in dogs.
In addition, if your dog gets a lump or new ones appear, it’s a bit hard to remember what was where and how big they might have been. I have a pair of calipers handy for any growth measurements and also advise taking a snapshot of the lump so you know where it was located for future purposes.
Who knew a rub could be so great in preventative medicine though Fido thinks it’s the greatest treat ever (well, next to biscuits, of course.).
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