In this article, we would be looking at how to do a physical exam on a dog. You see, when you own a dog you are responsible for ensuring your pet is healthy, well-fed, and happy.
The health part of this task must not be taken for granted as dogs cannot speak to you and tell you if something is wrong with them. You have to be on top of things and apart from observing their behavior, regularly check and examine them physically to tell if something is wrong with them.
Also, dogs are prone to urinary tract infections, cancers, and other diseases like humans. This is why we have decided to share with you some tips provided by a licensed veterinarian doctor Liz Whitney on how to do a physical exam on your dog.
Table of Contents
How To Check If Your Dog is Overweight
The first step to checking if your dog is overweight is to look down on your dog’s waist. You should see a little bit of indentation at the waist if you’re not seeing that then it could be that your dog is a little overweight.
It could also be that got a really fluffy hair coat though so you want to make sure that you get your hands on the dog in that you feel okay.
You want to be able to feel is just a little bit of skin and tissue over the ribs but you do want to be able to feel the ribs they shouldn’t be sticking out or prominent but you want to be able to easily feel them without having to search or press really hard. If you can’t press easily and feel them that it probably means that your dog is overweight.
How To Check Your Dog’s Hair Coat
The next thing that you want to do is check their hair coat. You want to make sure that the pet’s hair coat is kept dry and clean and free of any mats or stickers or grass seeds you don’t want any of those types of things in the hair coat.
You also want to make sure that you don’t have external parasites on the dogs which would be like fleas or ticks and if you find some you need to remove them. Of course, it will be better to prevent them completely by using the right dog care products.
You should make sure that there aren’t any lumps or bumps or any new type of growths or sores that maybe you haven’t seen in the past as these could be dangerous to your dog. To do this just gently run your hands along the body of the dog and check for any of those abnormal swellings.
Check For Odours
The next thing to check for is odors. You don’t want to have any bad odors as usually a bad odor is an indication of a problem unless maybe they’ve been sprayed by a skunk or they’ve rolled in something really nasty which we know dogs tend to do sometimes.
Check Your Dog’s Feet, Toenails, And Nose
The feet and the toenails are something that you want to pay attention to. Here you must check that your dog has white toenails.
Also, the average dog probably needs to have their nails trimmed approximately every four to eight weeks you can reduce the amount of time that you need to have those done by doing walks on asphalt or pavement.
This can help you to keep the nails worn a little bit and save you trimming time.
Also, ensure you touch the nose of the dog when conducting an examination of your dog. It should be a little cool to the touch as a really dry or crusty nose can sometimes be an indication of a problem.
How To Examine Your Dogs Eyes
The next step on how to do a physical exam on a dog is to check the eyes. In some breeds of dogs, it is typical to get a bit of staining around the eyes and that’s normal but you want to make sure that the eyes are both wide open there’s no squinting. Also, clean your dog’s eyes of normal discharge with a clean moist cloth. Ensure it’s a damp soft cloth.
On the other hand, if you do see any squinting or you see any evidence of yellow thick discharge that’s a reason you might want to visit the veterinarian.
How To Check Your Dog’s Gums and Mouth
A dog’s mouth and especially the gums should always be nice and pink.
If you ever think your dog’s sick, one quick thing you want to do is look in their mouth and make sure that they’re not pale or that there aren’t maybe any bruises or darkness to the gums which can be an indication of a problem.
Another thing that that might ask you to do is to just gently Blanche out the color of the gum and see how fast it takes to refill. It should be less than two seconds in a normal healthy dog
This brings us to a very important topic of dental disease. Dental disease is a major source of other diseases in dogs and cats as the bacteria that accumulates in the mouth can cause infection of the heart and the urinary bladder or kidneys.
Therefore, it’s very important to try to keep the teeth clean. it is normal to have a bit of tartar on the teeth and that is still okay but you don’t want it to be too much.
There are a lot of things you can do at home to help care for the teeth by not only providing good nutritious dog food that helps with teeth cleaning but also brushing your dog’s teeth once in a while. These two actions can really help prevent visits to the veterinarian.
How To Check Your Dog For Ear Infections
Another common source of problems with lots of dogs is ear infections. Some small breeds have an accumulation of hair in the ear canal that’s something that you or a dog groomer can help to reduce or keep out of there so that it doesn’t cause infection the pinna of the ear or the flap.
The pinna of the ear should always look healthy pink. It shouldn’t be red or thick or painful you shouldn’t smell any foul odors coming from the ear or see any significant wax accumulation.
Also, you can also sometimes get grass seeds in the ear or parasites like ticks so you want to make sure that you check these at least once a week and that everything looks good in there.
How To Check Your Dogs Genital Area
The last important thing you need to check is the genital area. The checks will vary slightly from if you have a male or a female dog.
If your dog is male, we want to look here and make sure that there isn’t any swelling or any abnormal discharge or matting or soiling around his little boy parts. You also need to check the rear end of the dog.
You may have heard of these or maybe you haven’t but the anal glands especially small dogs and some larger dogs need to sometimes be emptied and usually, that’s maybe every two months or so by a veterinarian.
If they’re not emptied on a regular basis, you can sometimes get a situation where they’re too full and then they become infected.
If you’re noticing an odor in this area the most likely thing is the anal glands and those may need to be expressed some people will do that at home but the majority of people don’t want to deal with that so it will be best to just take him to a vet or the groomer.
On the other hand, if it is a female dog, the areas to examine are a bit different as common with females. You want to make sure you don’t see any soiling or matting that the hair is kept trim around the area.
Another thing with girl dogs is that sometimes they can have problems with their mammary glands there’s actually they can get breast cancer just like women can, so you want to make sure that you’re feeling this area when you pet them a couple of times a week and if you notice any swelling or bumps or redness then make sure you take a visit to the veterinarian.
I hope you have gained some useful tips about how to examine your dog at home. The important thing to note is that each of the issues discussed in this article about how to do a physical exam on a dog can all be separate posts as there is more to it than has been written here.
Taking your younger dog to the vet is necessary at least once yearly and older dogs at least two or three times yearly. This will ensure a professional examine your dog and makes sure he/she is okay.
Also if you notice any of the abnormal symptoms here, don’t wait, visit a vet as soon as possible. Let’s keep our dogs happy and healthy.
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