Basics of Dog Health Care

February 13, 2019
As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

How to Take Care of Your Dog's Health

Pets, like children, have a tendency to get into situations that can be very dangerous. As a responsible pet owner, you should always know about the proper way to proceed if you dog gets sick, swallows a foreign body or hurts itself.

Toxic Substances

Many things found in an average house are toxic for dogs. The list starts at almost all cleaning solutions and ends at chocolate. Make sure you keep all cleaning solutions, medication and groceries out of your pets reach. If you think your dog has swallowed a substance that could be dangerous for it, take it to the veterinarian without any delay. 

Swallowing Foreign Bodies

Puppies are known for their love of chewing, but this can often prove to be deadly for them. Make sure every toy you give your puppy is, in fact, made for puppies. Dog toys come in different sized so get one that your puppy or dog cannot swallow by mistake. Keep all small objects out of your pet's reach in case it decides to play with the object. If you see your dog with a foreign body in its mouth, take it out of its mouth immediately and reprimand the dog. Replace it with an appropriate toy. If your dog has trouble breathing or starts hacking, take it to the veterinarian as a foreign body could be stuck in its throat.

Administering Medication

Administering medication to a sick dog at home is a skill you need to learn. Here are the steps on how to give a dog a pill:

  1. Place your left hand over the muzzle and raise the head slightly. Press the jaws gently with your thumb and forefinger
  2. Place your thumb behind the long canine tooth and press gently, this will make the dog open its mouth
  3. With your other hand, place the pill at the base of the dog’s tongue
  4. Close the mouth, hold it closed with one hand and use the other to lightly stroke the throat. This will encourage the dog to swallow.
  5. If the dog doesn’t swallow, put a treat in front of its nose. The saliva generated will make it swallow the pill.
  6. Give it the treat.

It is also important to know that you should never give your dog medications made for humans. Since dogs process food and medication differently than humans, a medicine that could provide humans relief can prove to be toxic for your dog. Never give your dog your own medication and keep all medicines safely locked away in a cabinet your dog can't reach. When disposing off medication, make sure you do so in a manner where no animal can reach them.

Emergency Situations

If you see any of the following symptoms, take the puppy to the veterinarian as soon as possible:

  • Vomiting
  • Choking
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive thirst
  • Not eating its food (for more than 24 hours)
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Noticeable weight loss
  • Bleeding from the mouth, nose, anus or genitals
  • Lameness

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