Having a pet and caring for it, as all pet owners will vouch, is a fulfilling experience. Also pet owners will vouch for is that pets give us more than we can ever give them. A dog, as the saying goes is a man's best friend. Dogs can enrich and enhance our life making us better human beings in the process. Since pets are speechless, their wellbeing and health is primarily the owner's responsibility. A good indicator of a dog's health is its everyday normal behavior. A deviation in its normal conduct, however a small change it may be indicates that everything is not well.
Dogs are plagued by many ills in their lifetime and on which the poor animal has no control. Visible signs of canine health are body condition, digestion, skin and coat, teeth and gums, bones and joints.
Four main diseases that afflict dogs and can be fatal are Distemper, Rabies, Leptospirosis and Canine Infectious Hepatitis.
This is an airborne virus that is highly infectious and often fatal. It spreads through saliva, urine, feces and nasal discharge from an infected dog. Once a healthy dog is exposed to the virus, it takes between 3 to 20 days for the symptoms to appear.
Symptoms: Runny nose, sneezing, coughing, diarrhea, loss of appetite.
This is a rare disease but very serious too. It affects the central nervous system. It is a virus transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal.
Symptoms: A change in behavior mild mannered dog may become snappy and ferocious, foaming at the mouth.
This is a bacterial disease of dogs. It occurs in two forms canicola fever and Weil's disease. It affects the kidney and liver.
Symptoms: Vomiting, loss of appetite, thirst, nasal discharge, muscular stiffness, changes in bowel movements.
A viral disease of dogs which spreads by contact with nasal discharge or saliva of an infected dog. It affects the gastrointestinal tract of dogs.
Symptoms: Listlessness, vomiting, inflamed nostrils, blood stained stools.
Apart from the main four diseases dogs also suffer from various maladies.
Obesity and Weight issues: Lack of exercise and processed foods can lead to weight gain. Following dog food instructions or using a measuring scoop is the best way to control quantity of food given. Regular exercise is a must.
Teeth and Gums: Schedule annual dental visits. Clean your dog's teeth at home thrice a week. Give him a rawhide treat or a dental chew to help maintain healthy teeth.
Vaccinations: Vaccines are of two types core and non-core. Core vaccines protect against diseases that are fatal and non-core vaccines are for infections due to surrounding or lifestyle habits. The basic vaccine is the DHLPP an all in one shot that covers distemper, hepatitis, parva virus, and parainfluenza.
Food and Skin allergies: Food allergy symptoms are inflammation, flaky skin, loss of fur. A therapeutic diet with medications is required. Skin irritants such as grass, weeds and human shampoo cause skin allergies. Anti-itch medications to be applied on affected area.
Dog Incontinence: This condition indicates diabetes, chronic kidney failure or perhaps behavior problems.
A pet nutritional study undertaken by Dr Francis Pottenger observed that a lifelong diet of processed or cooked food is the prime reason for chronic degenerative disease. A diet of concentrated whole food supplement that includes enzyme rich nutrients and anti oxidant vitamins is beneficial.