You take your dog to the vet for regular checkups and everything is good, so no need to worry in between visits, right? Quite the contrary. It is the time in between veterinary visits that should include regular home care, maintenance, and dog mom and/or dad due diligence in ensuring Fido’s good health. Knowing how to keep dogs healthy year round is key to a long life.
There are at least a dozen things I do and maintain in between veterinary visits so that my dog is in tip top shape and I can stop any pending health issues before then worsen or arise in the first place. Here are my top six things to keep an eye on and do with your dog in the months between veterinary visits: (more to follow)
Dip the Urine: Seriously, check your dog’s urine from home. I purchase the Siemens Multistix that test for 10 different levels of things in my dog’s urine. If your dog battles urinary tract infections (UTI’s), these strips can be a lifesaver for detecting levels such as pH and blood in the urine in between vet visits. Collect the dog’s urine with a free catch in the morning when it is most concentrated, dip the stick in, wait the time recommendations (2 minutes for most) and then compare against the colors on the bottle. (strips expire and are about $35 for 100 but so worth it – about the same cost as one urinalysis at the vet, so very cost effective).
Keep Ears Clean: Especially floppy eared dogs like spaniels. I keep my dog’s ears trimmed and the groomer does a great job of making sure the ear canal has an adequate airway free of hair. Coupled with a weekly flush prescribed by my dog’s vet, Dexter has yet to have an ear infection. (knock on simulated wood).
Flea comb: Seriously, it goes without saying: You might find those little ^%$@ in a flea comb that costs 79 cents around here that would go unseen with the naked eye. Fleas can wreak havoc; nip them in the bud.
Flea prevention: Why wait til fleas take hold? I’ve switched to more natural and non-chemical forms of flea and tick prevention these past two years, with success. We like Buzz Guard from Earth Heart and human-grade Diatomaceous Earth sprinkled on the dog. It’s supposed to be a wicked fall for fleas and ticks here in the northeast, so we’ll be continuing protection. In fact, dogs can get fleas and ticks year-round.
Massage Me, Mama: What dog doesn’t love a tummy or whole body rub down? 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.
Throw Treats Away: Indeed – treats have expiration dates. All those preservatives doesn’t mean you should keep treats forever. Check dog food expiration dates and treat expiration dates. If you have no idea how long those dog treats have been in the cupboard, toss them out. Dogs can get sick or worse with treats gone bad. You wouldn’t drink old milk right? Dogs are the same way – bad treats are bad treats. Chuck ’em.
More tips to come, but what do you do to keep Fido healthy in between vet visits?