The Healthy Dog

The Mobile Dog Groomers Norwich - three dogs

Owning a dog brings great happiness but it is also a life-long responsibility to the dog. Owners need to care for their dogs properly and responsibly, including staying within the law. Before even getting a dog the following should be considered:

  • Lifestyle – Do you have the time, accommodation and willingness to look after a dog?
  • Environment – Are there suitable facilities near you to exercise a dog?
  • Budget – Dogs need a nutritionally balanced diet and will have to visit the vet for vaccinations and possible emergencies. There is also pet insurance to cover vet bills and/or accident or damage to property.

To keep your dog healthy

Register your dog with your local vet – don’t wait for an emergency!

Every dog should be protected against potentially fatal diseases.

First vaccinations are given at about eight weeks. Puppies should not be allowed on the street or mix with other animals until the vet advises.

Always keep your dog’s vaccination certificates. You may need them in the future.

Regular booster vaccinations are necessary, at least once a year.

Roundworms and tapeworms (intestinal parasites) can affect dogs at any age, so they should be treated regularly for worms. Worming is easy, effective and costs little using a worming preparation obtained from the pharmacist, vet or pet-shop. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Adult dogs should be wormed every six months. Pregnant bitches and bitches with young puppies should be wormed more frequently. It is essential that puppies are wormed when they are about two weeks old and then treated at regular intervals until they are at least six months old. Always seek veterinary advice before worming your puppy.

Skin Conditions

What skin conditions commonly occur?

Skin conditions are very common problems in dogs. They can arise from a number of different causes including infections (eg ringworm, bacterial skin infections), parasites (eg ticks, mites which causing mange and fleas), and allergies, although many underlying health problems may be reflected in a poor coat.

Symptoms

Common symptoms to watch for include hair loss, poor coat, scaling (dandruff), itching scratching, chewing or biting) and inflammation of the dogs skin.

What causes skin conditions?

Mange

Mange is the lay term for a parasitic skin infection caused by microscopic mites. Commonly found in dogs, it can occur in other domestic and wild animals. Symptoms of mange can include hair loss, itching and skin inflammation. Different types of mange occur and they require a different treatment. One form, sarcoptic mange, which causes intense itching can lead to scabies in humans and urgent treatment should be sought if you suspect sarcoptic mange.

Ear problems

Ear problems are often caused by ear mites, which can cause itching and a heavy build up of typically dark wax in the ear canal. This is particularly common in puppies. Older animals can develop bacterial or fungal infections in their ears which may be related to underlying allergies, foreign bodies or other disorders. Veterinary advice should be sought as soon as ear problems develop because prompt treatment will reduce the chance of long-term recurrence of ear disorders.

Ringworm

Ringworm is a highly contagious fungal infection of the skin that can affect any part of a dogs’ body. Spread by skin-to-skin contact and contaminated bedding, symptoms include skin scaling and hair loss. Ringworm infections may also affect humans so careful attention to hygiene is important. Although ringworm may resolve spontaneously it can prove a persistent problem and spores can remain in the environment for long periods. Both medication and environmental treatment are important to successfully manage a ringworm problem and veterinary advice should be sought.

Allergies

Whilst runny noses and eyes or wheezing are common allergy symptoms in humans, dogs with allergies commonly show symptoms relating to itching. Common areas affected for inhaled allergens such as pollens, moulds and dust mites include the face, ears, feet, belly and around the anus. This syndrome is known as atopic dermatitis and alongside fleas this is one of the most common causes for itchy dogs in the UK. Other important allergens for dogs include flea saliva (in flea allergic dermatitis), food (dietary sensitivities).

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