Having a pet in the house has been linked to a reduction in stress and anxiety in humans. As man’s best friend, a dog lights up almost any room they walk into.
However, dogs, much like people, also require adequate love, care, and attention. As a first-time dog owner, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure that you are providing your dog with as much attention and care as they give you.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure you have a happy, healthy dog:
Check Your Dog’s Skin
Dogs are covered in hair or fur, and their skin or coat can be a good indicator of whether they are healthy. This is also where a number of dogs first develop infections.
A healthy coat of hair on a dog will feel smooth to the touch. If you find that your dog’s skin and coat are rough or brittle, it could be a sign of poor health. You can also check for patches or rashes. If your dog has patchy skin or has developed a rash or scab, it could be a sign of several skin infections.
Some common infections include :
- Pyoderma: This is caused by a bacterial infection. Also known as impetigo, the disease causes pustules to form on the skin.
- Ectoparasites: This is a term used to refer to a host of pathogens like fleas, mites, and fleas. Ectoparasites live in the skin and take nutrition from their host.
- Contact dermatitis: This is caused by your dog’s skin being exposed to irritants which cause itching, sore skin, scaling, and the skin to change color.
If your dog has red spots on its skin, it could be a sign of ringworm.
In addition to making sure you are bathing and cleaning your dog routinely (preferably with antifungal shampoo or similar alternatives), your dog’s diet, exercise routine, and other factors also play a role in how your dog’s coat and skin look.
Common antibiotic medicines like clindamycin for dogs can treat a host of skin issues. If you have more than one pet at home, the medication can be used for cats as well.
The primary goal of clindamycin is to tackle infections that are caused by bacteria, by slowing down the bacteria. The medicine is available in the form of capsules as well as a liquid. The medication is built to take effect in a short time frame, and its effects generally conclude after 24 hours.
If you are administering clindamycin to your dog (make sure you only do so if your doctor instructs you to), keep in mind that a common side effect is diarrhea. It can also cause excessive drooling. It is also not advisable to administer clindamycin to animals with a history of kidney, or liver damage.
Finally, antibiotics like clindamycin can also treat dental infections, which brings us to our next point.
Dogs Need to Brush Too
As humans, if we don’t brush our teeth for extended amounts of time, we are put at risk for a number of infections and diseases. The same goes for your furry friend. If you leave your dog’s teeth unchecked, it could cause issues like gum infection, tooth decay, and bad breath.
It is recommended that you brush your dog’s teeth daily. However, it is also acceptable to brush your dog’s teeth every alternate day, or every three days, if they have healthy teeth and gums.
Brushing your dog’s teeth will also prevent plaque buildup. If plaque buildup is left unsupervised, it could lead to the formation of tartar.
Keep in mind that dogs are not used to having their teeth brushed. If your dog seems uncomfortable, start it off slow. You can use dog treats built to tackle dental hygiene to maintain their dental health while they get comfortable with brushing.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Dogs are bred from wolves. While today’s domestic breeds might not be able to survive independently in the wild, they still require extensive exposure to the outdoors and rigorous exercise.
Many people refrain from getting a big dog if they live in an apartment or do not have too much space. A big dog is acquired by people who have this privilege. This is not a golden rule, however. Some smaller dogs might require more space and exercise than others. Beagles, for instance, who were bred for hunting require substantial outdoor spaces despite their smaller size.
While dogs have multiple ways they communicate with us, they aren’t able to speak our language. Unlike a child, your dog won’t be able to let you know if they are feeling unwell or distressed. As a pet owner, it is imperative that you keep an eye out for signs of illness in your dog.
You can monitor their behavior to know if something is not right. A usually energetic dog displaying signs of lethargy could mean they are not healthy. The best way to make sure you stay ahead of any illnesses in your dog is to take them for regular health checkups.
If you have a puppy, you will be visiting the vet often anyway, because of the multiple vaccines puppies require. For an adult dog, even if they are not displaying signs of illness, make sure you take them in for an annual check-up at the very least.
Stock up on Medicines
You and your dog could also benefit from making sure you stock up on common medicines a dog might require.
If your dog is prone to getting ticks or fleas, you can stock up on insecticides and acaricides for dogs like fluraner, afoxolaner, or others available in the market. If you have an older dog, they might be prone to arthritis or other painful illnesses. You can stock up on carprofen or other anti-inflammatory drugs.
PetRx points out that you may require a prescription to acquire some of these medicines. Make sure to consult your vet before you give your dog any medication, especially if it’s their first time taking it.
Also, remember that medicines for animals and humans are not interchangeable. Make sure you avoid giving your dogs human medicine, and vice versa to the best of your abilities.
A common myth followed by dog owners for decades is centered around a dog’s nose. It was previously believed that if a dog’s nose is cold and wet, it is healthy. A warm, and/or dry nose was perceived as a sign of illness. This isn’t the case at all. However, if your dog usually has a wet nose but it is now dry, this deviation from the norm could be a cause for concern.
Dogs require as much, if not more, love and care than humans do. As their sole caretakers, it is our responsibility to not only enjoy our dog’s company and love but do everything we can to make sure they live a happy, healthy life.