If you’re a new dog owner you’ll need to know what checks to perform on your dog on a daily/weekly basis. Keeping an eye out for early signs of medical problems is one of the most important things you can do for your dog, and could save you a lot of stress, time and money in the long run – not to mention your dog’s health. Here’s a list of 10 checks to perform regularly.

1. Body Check

On a weekly basis you should be (whilst grooming if appropriate for your breed) performing a full body check of your dog. Gently run your hands over every part of your dogs body and check for lumps, cuts, inflammation and any signs of discomfort.

2. Eating & Drinking

If your dog goes off his food or drink for more than 24 hours it’s time to contact the vet, especially if your dog is usually a big eater. Remember, you know your dog better than anyone — if you think something is up, it probably is.

3. On Walks

When you’re out on walks, watch the way your dog moves when he walks and runs. Does he/she ever seem stiff? Overly tired? Or have a limp? Coughing and excessive panting may also indicate problems. Again, if it seems out of the ordinary take your dog to your vet.

4. Weight Check

Obesity is the cause of a huge number of problems in dogs and of course, should be avoided. Keep your dog on a steady, well balanced diet. If things start to get out of control, seek advice sooner rather than later.

5. Toilet Habits

Diarrhea, constipation, blood and mucus are the four things to look out for in your pooch’s stool. Similarly if the urine looks dark, cloudy or blooded then this should be cause for concern. Keep an eye on the regularity of your dogs toilet habits and make sure the appearance is consistent.

6. Mouth Check

Check the mouth for anything out of the ordinary. Gums should be pink, so darker/redder patches may indicate a problem. Check for growths and lumps, and make sure that the teeth are clear and that none are loose. Check the tongue for cuts and sores. Unusually bad breath could be an indication of digestive problems.

7. Eye Check

Your dogs eyes should be clear and the pupils should be the same size. Check for ingrowing eye lashes or hair that looks like it’s causing a problem. There should also be no excessive discharge or signs of irritation. If there is, visit the vet.

8. Nose Check

Your dogs nose should be moist and cool. Keep an eye out for excessive discharge, sneezing and that breathing is easy and unobstructed.

9. Feet Check

Examine your dogs feet for any cuts, grazes or growths. Long nails can sometimes cause problems and should be trimmed, either with dog clippers or a file. Be careful when cutting/trimming your dogs nails as this can sometimes cause bleeding.

10. Ear Check

Finally, check your dogs ears for wax-build up, swelling and bad odor. Wax can be removed gently with cotton wool but you should never poke anything directly down your dogs ears. Bad odor or swelling will need the attention of your vet.

These 10 basic checks should be performed on a routine basis and doing so will ensure you catch any sign of trouble early on. Remember, if anything looks out of the ordinary consult your vet.

Lewis Waller is the co-founder of Dog Walkers City, the online directory of Dog walkers and sitters that covers the US and the UK. Need a Dog walker? Head there now!

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