Is dog health check worth the price? A general consultation practice and dog check-up cost £30- £60 in the UK. One may submit their dogs for a medical examination only when they have spotted apparent signs such as blood in dog stool, vomiting, and the list goes on. In reality, though, the health-check process is far from complex and scary. For those with annual appointments, the time interval can be a long wait. With that being said, consider having a basic dog health check at home, which will be further discussed in this article.
Why have health checks for your dogs?
In general, a dog health check detects minor abnormalities or complications before developing a more serious problem.
- It helps detect early signs and symptoms.
For example, one might think that having a dog that constantly spends his time drinking water is normal. To a vet’s viewpoint, he may suggest that the dog is potentially suffering from diabetes. Your vet may then recommend him to undergo blood testing.
- Preventative healthcare is better than a cure.
At times, a change in diet will suffice as prevention to potentially serious conditions. With your vet’s advice, he/she may be able to give you specific ways, depending on the condition, on preventative healthcare. It usually follows a span of 6–12 months to see the results.
- Behavioural issues can also be tackled.
Regular check-ups are the perfect time for you to talk with your vet about your furry friend’s physical, emotional, and mental health. Take this opportunity to talk about behavioural issues such as a distressed puppy when left alone, jumping on visitors, and others.
Think about your vet as a partner that has the same goal as you, which is keeping your dog’s health at an optimum level for a quality life and longer lifespan. The best way for them to help you is to get to know your dog.
Firstly, have a closer look to see whether there are any signs of abnormal hair or bald patches. Run your hand over the puppy’s or dog’s body to feel its coat. Note that some dogs have smoother and glossier coat than others. Learn what your dog’s normal coat appearance and texture are. Be sure to detect any changes.
Run your hand over your dog’s body and this time part the hair on all areas of the body. His skin should be supple and clean instead of dry and flaky. Check for any signs of wounds and pain.
Is his eyeball too concave? Is there any discharge in or near the area of the eye? Note that the eyes should appear clean and clear. He should not be excessively or rapidly blinking and squinting.
The ears should be kept clean without any signs of dirt build-up. Observe for signs of parasite infestation. It is important to regularly check the condition of his ears as any complications may lead to infections and discomfort. Check for any behavioural abnormalities such as constant scratching, shaking, or pawing at their head.
There are two areas where dogs secrete moisture: their paws and nose. With that being said, it is perfectly normal for your dog’s nose to be slightly damp. At a touch, it should be cool instead of hot. Check for any signs of abnormal discharge and observe whether the colour of the mucous is abnormal or fine.
Check the condition of your dog’s tongue, teeth, gums, and breath. His tongue should be moist and his gums should be in medium pink colour. Moreover, his teeth should be in white to yellowish colour without any signs of tartar build-up and cavities. Lastly, the dog’s breath should not smell too bad. Any complications may indicate dog dental disease.
Check his paw pads for any signs of shedding and dryness. Listen as your dog walks on hard floors. His claws should not be too long to the extent where you hear his claws clicking on the floor. Be sure to examine the space in between his toes.
A healthy canine should not have a protruding anus, any signs of inflammation, and dog worms.
What can you expect from an annual check-up?
Be ready to answer questions on the following:
- Behavioural concerns
- Exercise level that you provide
- Food and water consumption
- Blood tests – particularly for canines that are susceptible to specific health issues
- Coughing and sneezing
- Coat and skin check – refers to the manifestation of lumps, bumps, rashes, and others
- Ears and eyes – for any signs of redness, discharge, or swelling
- Dental health
- Digestion – to answer concerns on abnormal stools and others
- Parasitic infestation
- Urine tests – to check for any urine discolouration and discharge
- Vaccinations – making sure everything is up-to-date
Remember that vet check-ups can add years to your dog’s life. As a general rule, it is advisable to follow an annual check-up. In the end, health checks largely depend on the needs of your furry friend. Older canines may require more veterinary appointments as they are more susceptible to health issues. Consider having a twice-a-year visit when needed.