Home Health Check

Tips and advice on how to check your dog's health at home

By observing your dog’s behaviour on a daily basis, you will notice any sudden changes such as excessive scratching, chewing, head shaking or bum scooting (for example), which may be a sign that something is wrong. By carrying out a simple home health check once you week, you will help to keep your pet healthy and free from pain and suffering the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

A guide to help you

1. Run your hands over your pet to check for lumps and bumps

2. Check for parasites in the coat (eg. fleas, lice, ticks or mites)

3. Check that the eyes are bright, shiny and free from discharge

4. Check the nose is moist and free from discharge

5. Check the ears are free from wax, nasty smells, and have good ventilation

6. Check the nails are not brittle, too long or curling inwards

7. Check the dew claws

8. Check the mouth for bad breath, ensure the gums are a salmon pink colour (or to breed standard) with no swelling, and the teeth should be free from tartar build up

How to identify common parasites

Ectoparasites live on the skin and may cause discomfort for the dog. Recognising these parasites and the signs of existing parasites such as: flea dirt in the coat, bald patches, greasy coat, sores and redness, crustaceans or lumps and bumps. Behavioural changes include: chewing, scratching excessively and becoming more irritable. If you notice any of these signs, contact your vet for advice and all year round treatment.

This is a diagram of a flea. They can be particularly common at the base of the tail, but may be seen anywhere. Small specs of flea dirt may be seen in the coat. They are a reddish brown colour and 1-2 mm in length. They may cause skin infections and diseases.
Above is a photo of a tick. They are grey/brown in colour and vary in size. They feed from their host by embedding their mouth into the skin and engorging their bodies with blood; once full they can remove themselves. They can spread disease to their host and need to be removed by a tick remover which can be purchased from your veterinary practice. Seek veterinary advice for removal of the tick. At Wilma’s, your groomer may remove any ticks found during the grooming session.
Above is a photo of a sarcoptic mite. They burrow through the skin causing intense itching and irritation, and the hair may fall out. Sarcoptic Mange is zoonotic, so it can be passed to humans to become scabies. If you suspect Sarcoptic Mange, call your vet straight away for advice on treatment. Your vet may give you a prescribed shampoo and treatment. Read the instructions carefully. Check it has a label which is not damaged. Check the information on the label. Check it has a valid date. Follow the guidelines including the dosage and times.
Above is a diagram of lice, the biting louse and sucking louse. They are usually prevalent around the ears and are common in longer haired dogs. There will be signs of intense irritation: head shaking, tilted head and self mutilation. They live in the coat, ranging from 1.5-4mm in length, pale in colour, flat and wingless. The blood sucking louse feed off the blood and tend to be motionless most of the time, whereas the chewing louse feeds from dead flaky skin and tends to move slowly around the dog. Lice thrive on coats that are matted and dirty.

First Aid at Wilma's

At Wilma’s we hold a First Aid Certificate and every 3 years we have First Aid Training to renew the certificate. The first aid box is within easy reach and kept near the telephone where important emergency numbers are displayed. It is fully stocked and dates are checked regularly. The Accident Record Book is kept fully updated.