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Questions About Dog Health - Answered Once and for All By Michael Lee

Do you have questions about dog health? Have you always been plagued with worry over anything to do with your pet pooch? Put your worries to rest because here are some of the most common questions about dog health you'll ever come across.

Question #1: How can I tell if my dog is sick?

You can tell if an animal is sick pretty much the same way you can tell if a person is sick. Unlike the latter, who can tell you straightforwardly if they're feeling a bit under the weather, you just have to be more alert to your dog's symptoms.

Be aware of any change, however negligible, in his daily routine. Take note of his appetite, his liquid consumption, urinary frequency, general appearance, sudden weight loss, and drops in energy level. More drastically, does he refuse his food completely? Is he vomiting? Does he limp or have difficulty getting around? If he exhibits any of the above signs, then better to be safe than sorry. Take him to the vet at once.

Question #2: How often should I have my dog checked at the vet?

Again, as with humans, going for annual canine physical checkups is ideal. It should be more frequent than that if your dog is still very young, or has a medical condition that needs constant monitoring. As he gets older, around age six, take him twice yearly so that any health problems that may come with age may be detected and fixed straightaway, and that the right course of action may be taken to ensure good and continued health as he matures.

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Question #3: Should I have my dog neutered/spayed?

Unless you're planning on putting up a breeding facility, it is highly recommended that your dog be neutered (if it is a male) or spayed (if female) once it has reached six months of age.

This makes them less aggressive. It also boosts their health. A male's chances of getting prostate and testicular cancer falls to almost zero, while the same rate holds true for females getting mammary cancer.

Spaying significantly cuts down their risk of contracting a form of diabetes, as well as womb infections or pyometra. On a more practical and humane note, it prevents overpopulation or the swelling in numbers of poor, unwanted puppies in rescue shelters.

Moreover, it saves you the trouble of having to deal with the horde of male dogs trooping to your house each time your female dog is in heat.

Question #4: Is excessive drooling normal?

Dogs drool. That is a given fact. But relative to his size, a good tip would be to take note of whether or not there is a sudden increase in his salivary output as this could be an indication of periodontal disease, tongue injuries, or even cysts, in which case you must take him to see the vet immediately.

Question #5: How do I deal with ear mites?

Before using your vet's prescribed ear mite medication, first clean off the deposit of hardened debris in your dog's ear by applying some drops of baby oil in the ear canal and letting it stand for a few hours.

Once the coating has softened, you can flush it away with vinegar and distilled water (avoid tap water) in equal parts using a rubber ear-cleaning syringe. Do this with extra care as too much pressure will cause pain.

Once clean, apply a few drops of the medication; after which, gently massage the ear's base for a few minutes so that the medicine can be properly absorbed into the affected area.

Don't forget to read the medicine's instructions first before applying. When in doubt about the procedure, your vet could always do the cleaning and medicating for you, though it would be advantageous for both you and your pet if you knew how to do it yourself.

Watching your vet as he/she does this is good training for you. Ear mites are contagious and if you have more than one dog, it's best to check if the others may be scratching their ears as well.

If you have any other concerns and questions about dog health, visit your friendly neighborhood veterinarian for more information.

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