As a dog owner you know that going to the vets can be costly.
So how do you know when something is really wrong with your beloved Fido?
Or they may have eaten a little bit too much when you weren’t looking.
There are actually a number of ways you can check whether your pooch needs a trip to the vets at home.
Here is our DIY guide to checking out whether your furry friend is really under the weather. If you are in any doubt at all then you must of course take them to the veterinarian.
7 Step DIY Guide
The key thing is you need to know what is normal for your dog. Then of course you will know what is abnormal.
The best way to start is try out the check up when you know your pet is feeling tip top.
Then when they ARE suffering from an unknown ailment, it will be easier for you to detect.
Doing the check up in the comfort of your home also helps.
And remember, early recognition of a problem could keep Fido from knocking on heaven’s door as well as being in severe discomfort.
The first step is to observe your dog when they are just chilling around the house, or going about their daily business.
When you see your dog relaxed it is a good indicator of what is normal to them.
Take Your Dogs Temperature
This is not nearly as scary as you might think. A digital rectal thermometer is more reliable than an ear thermometer.
Mercury thermometers can break which would be an awful state of affairs.
Use petroleum jelly to lubricate the end, and gently insert it into the rectum.
This should be around 1 inch for small dogs and about 2 inches for larger pooches.
Don’t force it – the thermometer should slide in easily.
Your dog’s normal temperature is between 100º and 102.5º F.
Check Your Dog’s Heart Rate
You can do this by taking your pooch’s heart rate through the femoral artery.
This is located on the inside of your dog’s thigh.
Using your fingers you can feel for the roll of the artery and then a pulsing sensation.
The way to measure it is by counting the number of pulses in a 15 second period, and then just multiply by four.
While a dog’s pulse rate is highly variable, generally, a normal rate is 80 to 120 beats per minute.
If your dog is relaxed, a larger animal or athletic, their pulse is slower.
Puppies and smaller breeds have a slightly faster rate.
Your dog’s nose should be smooth, soft and clean, and feel like supple leather.
Contrary to popular belief, dog’s noses aren’t necessarily always cool or moist.
Their eyes should look bright, moist and clear, and the pupils equal in size.
When you are checking the whites they should only have a few visible blood vessels.
Their ears should have practically no smell, and be clean and dry. If you gently massage them they don’t suffer any discomfort.
When you look at their mouth, the gums should be pink and moist, and their teeth white.
Check Out Their Chest
When your dog breathes their chest wall should move in and out easily and rhythmically with no effort.
In fact, you should not even hear your dog breathing.
Unless they have been on a run and are panting out of breath.
A normal resting respiration rate should be 15 to 30 breaths per minute.
If they are sleeping or relaxed the rate should be lower.
Smaller dogs often have a faster resting breathing rate than pooches.
Examine Your Dog’s Skin
This is an important indicator of your dog’s health and should be unbroken with little odor.
They should also have a shiny coat, unless they are a wirehaired breed.
Check Your Pooches Hydration
How do you do this? You can try the skin turgor test.
You need to pull their skin over their neck or back into a “tent” like position and release.
If everything is a – ok, the skin should snap back. If it takes a while to return, then something is amiss. It may mean your dog is dehydrated.
The way to do this is to gently press your doggies belly with your hands. Start at the behind the ribs position.
If your dog has just had dinner, then there may be a slight enlargement on the left side under the ribs – that’s their stomach.
Then using your hands work your way to the rear of their body, gently and firmly feeling the whole area. If you feel bumps, or lumps, or even a sign of discomfort, then you may need a check up.
If your dog has any distention of the belly, this is another sign that something could be up.
Above all don’t panic – the vet will be able to explain all to you and address any concerns.
Other Tips to Try
If your pooch has a skin condition, they could benefit from therapeutic bathing. Using a special formula twice a week given by the vet could really help them.
Administering Injections And Fluids
If your pooch needs insulin, or allergy medication, you can do this, it just takes practice.
Your vet can show you how and then you can DIY at home.
Monitoring Your Diabetic Pooch
You can’t go to the vet every time your dog needs their blood sugar looked at. Or even a urine sample checked.
What Not To Do
Don’t give your dog with oil and milk if you think they have eaten something bad and been poisoned.
Turpentine dips to kill mange are a no no.
Don’t try and remove ticks with a flame – yes some people try to do this.
Rat poison DOESN’T prevent heartworm and chewing tobacco is not a deworming method.
If you liked this blog post, please check out our other post, which is all about how to use natural remedies to de-flea and de-tick your dog.