Keeping check of your pet's health is the best way of keeping them fighting fit for longer and staving off visits to the vets. Countryfile favourite, Adam Henson, shares his step-by-step tips for giving Fido the once over and making sure they're in fine health.
- Micro-chipping is one of the best ways to keep your pet safe. Micro- chipping ensures that if your dog ever gets lost, there is an easy way for it to be tracked and returned to you.
- Basic training is often over-looked as too costly or time-consuming but it can make a huge difference to a dog and the relationship it has with its owner. It doesn’t have to cost the earth either - a lot of basic training can be done at home, with a few treats and a little patience. Training can make a huge difference to your dog's behaviour, from pulling on the lead, to how they interact with strangers or children. It can also make them less likely to chew furniture saving your sofas too!
- A good diet will help your dog's weight, energy levels, teeth, eyes, coat and of course behaviour. Research the right food for your dog and know the right portion sizes for your breed. Foods that are 100% natural and free from colours, flavours and preservatives are far better for your pet. Also find a food that’s aimed at the correct age of your pet. Puppies, adult dogs and senior dogs all require a very different diet.
- Teeth: Owners need to look out for clean white teeth, no food build-up and no obvious signs of decay. Gums should be nice and bright pink. Like with humans, a healthy diet will manage dental care for you, so most importantly, get the diet right.
- Daily grooming is important; it helps owners check for ticks, fleas and any areas of skin that may be dry or sore. It’s also important to avoid matting in fur which can lead to a host of problems. Of course it goes without saying to keep up to date with tick and worming medicines from your vet.
- Paws: When looking at paws and claws you need to be slow, gentle and reassuring with your pet as it will feel unnatural to them at first, but within time, they’ll soon get used to it and relax when you pick up a paw. Look for sore areas, objects that may be stuck and cause discomfort and keep an eye on claw length. If claws are not getting worn down naturally then they may need clipping at the vets or home if you are able to do it carefully yourself.
- Eyes and ears: Some dogs may not like owners checking their eyes or ears, but after a month or so of doing these checks, they'll get used to it. It’s helpful to check that eyes and ears are clear and clean – any concerns with dirt, wax or potentially things like ear mites should be raised with your vet promptly, as these problems can be easily fixed, but if left, may cause great discomfort and big vet bills.
There's more health advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.