Many of us put off a visit to the doctor until we are already ill. While a regular check–up is a wise idea for all of us, it’s absolutely vital for our pets. Animals obviously can’t always let us know when they are feeling under the weather – though they may exhibit some signs which owners should look out for which may indicate something is wrong, such as being off their food, moving abnormally, panting, vocalising, vomiting, being quiet or lethargic etc (talk to your vet for advice). It’s up to us to help keep them healthy and happy with some basic precautions.
What a health check involves
Your vet will assess your dog thoroughly at a check–up to look for any signs of illness or other problems. He or she will generally start by weighing your dog, and will check their body condition, skin and fur, eyes and ears, teeth and mouth, and feel around the body, limbs and tail for any potential issues. The vet may look for fleas or other parasites and will administer vaccinations if due. Where teeth exhibit tartar, your vet may recommend a dental procedure.
It’s a good idea to have a chat about any concerns you might have. If the vet feels there may be an issue, he or she would generally suggest further testing. Depending on the potential problem, this might involve a blood test or x–ray.
General health maintenance
A healthy diet and regular exercise are a great foundation for good health. Speak to your vet about the dog’s current food intake and level of exercise. If your dog is lacking in nutrition, your vet may recommend some dietary changes.
It’s advisable for every pet owner to get to know the basics of health care and what signs to watch for that might indicate a problem. To find a vet in your area, see the Australian Veterinary Association’s website.
6 Nov 2014