Your Dog’s Health – The Basics Every Pet Owner Should Know
By Randy Jones
Your dog is probably stronger and healthier than most humans that you know. However, by taking him from his natural environment, where only the strongest survive, to the artificial one in which most pet dogs live, we have exposed him to an entirely new set of dangers which their instincts are not designed to cope with.
A dogâ€™s health is influenced by the genes inherited from his parents and by the care given to his mother during the prenatal period, as well as to the puppy during his first 2 or 3 months of life. A puppy, whose mother was properly cared for during pregnancy, will be more able to handle the hazards of growing up.
The majority of dogs lead perfectly healthy, normal lives. They overcome occasional skin rashes, chills, and upset stomachs, recover from cuts and bruises with ordinary care, sensible first aid when necessary, and professional diagnosis and treatment of serious ailments. Chances are that if you give you dog a normal diet, a healthy home environment, a well balanced life, you will only need to see the vet for check-ups and vaccinations.
A healthy dogâ€™s temperature, taken rectally when he is rested, is about 101.2 degrees in an adult dog, 102 in small breeds, and 102.5 in a puppy. It can fluctuate one way or the other, being lower in the morning and higher in the late afternoon. Long-coated breeds have a slightly higher normal temperature than short-coated ones. His pulse is taken at the femoral artery, high inside the thigh. There is no normal pulse rate for dogs. It can range from 120 beats per minute in a young puppy, to 70 or 80 in an older dog. Count the beats during 30 seconds and multiply by 2. Normal respiration ranges from 20 or 30 respirations per minute for a puppy to 16 per minute in an older dog.
A normal eye is bright and clear, although the lens becomes pale blue as he ages. His nose is moist and cool most of the time, but a dry, warm nose doesnâ€™t always mean a fever or illness. His tail wags and he carries himself normally. His coat is shiny and sheds normally. He eats his meals without gulping compulsively and without being coaxed, drinks a normal amount of water after meals and exercise, and more during hot weather. His bowel movements are regular and well-formed, his urine is clear and both processâ€™s are painless. As a puppy he sleeps most of the time, but as an adult only about half the time, and he is generally friendly, alert, and inquisitive.
A sick or ailing dog will have a temperature over 102 degrees, a sign of fever, or under a 100, a sign of weakness. If it does not return to normal within 24 hours, call the vet. If his temperature is as low as 99, or as high as 104, call the vet immediately. His pulse may be weak or irregular, his respiration at rest may be irregular or labored, panting or weak. His eye may appear dull, red or yellow with a sticky discharge. His nose may be dry and hot, also with a discharge.
His tail may be immobile, carried stiffly or between the legs, his coat may be dry and stand up when it should lay flat, the skin may be itchy and flaky and there may be bald spots, or red patches. He may eat with a good appetite but usually doesnâ€™t want food at all, and is usually reluctant to swallow any water. His bowel movements may be abnormal in form or color, have a bad odor, and contain blood or mucus, or he may be constipated with no movement at all. The urine may be dark, cloudy, or painfully produced.
He may sleep all of the time and hide in dark corners; his breath may have a bad odor and be labored. He may show very obvious symptoms of disorder such as swellings, protuberances, lameness, pain, prolonged wheezing or coughing, and unusual sensitivity in some part of his body. His overall general behavior will be lethargic and unresponsive when he is normally friendly and active, or nervous and excitable when he is the quite type with snapping or snarling for no apparent reason.
The symptoms offered here which are fairly obvious and not too far from our own human symptoms, (good and bad). Itâ€™s the severity of the symptoms for an ailing dog that will determine whether you should call the vet. Far sighted dog and cat owners select a veterinarian as soon as they become a pet parent, for sooner or later they get sick to some degree, and your chances of prompt attention are better if the vet already knows your pet.
Randy Jones and his partner Brent Jones have been in the pet industry for a long time. Recently they formed Joncopets.com. On the site, customers can read articles about anything pets as well as shop for the latest fancy dog collars, dog dresses, fancy dog beds, and more for their best friend. Feel free to check out the site at http://www.joncopets.com
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