Animal health, all about the dog:
The essential gestures and reflexes to have to protect our 4-legged friends.
Whether you adopted him as a puppy, a weanling or an adult, your pet has become your best friend.
But very quickly, you realized that it is not a plush toy.
This article is intended for the new dog owner, but also for those who may want to refresh their memory on how to take care of a pet. This is basic advice, guidance, and a non-exhaustive list of tips. If you have any doubts about your pet's health or safety, your veterinarian is always the best person to advise you.
I adopted a dog; the first steps:
Puppy in a cup
Water at all times: a clean water bowl in the shade.
Adapted food: 1 to 2 times a day depending on the dog's needs. Puppy, adult, overweight, digestive sensitivity... Many brands offer products adapted to your pet.
A dedicated place: a cushion placed in a place that is neither too hot nor too cold (not in front of a radiator, or in a draft). Preferably in a corner of the living room. From there, your pet will be able to see and watch the room without any trouble. Do not isolate your pet.
Discovery before the first 6 months: If you have a puppy, let him discover as many things as possible before he is 6 months old. Water, children, other animals, car, train... adopt a neutral attitude at each discovery. This will give your dog the feeling that everything is normal. Thunderclap? Don't pet your puppy to reassure him, you'll give him the feeling that there's danger in doing so, and he'll associate it as such the next time.
Before he is 6 months old, the puppy is (like a child) a sponge. The more new things he discovers, the more balanced he will be as an adult.
Did he do his business in the house while you were away? Scold him immediately (not in several hours), with simple words: "no". Take him out and as soon as he does his business outside, congratulate him with simple words: "that's good", "good dog", even give him a reward. Exaggerate your reaction, make it look like an achievement, pet him, congratulate him. It doesn't matter, it must be easy for your dog to understand.
In any case: patience is the key to success. Each animal reacts differently. Your veterinarian can also advise you on training.
Stimulate him physically but also mentally:
We all know that a dog needs to exercise. Walks, short or long, with or without a leash... Even if you have a garden, walk your dog outside. The smells are different, and it will stimulate your dog in another way.
Did you know that a dog can also exercise in other ways?
You live in an apartment, you regularly take your dog out, but tonight the walk was shortened due to bad weather? You can stimulate your dog indoors. How can you do this? Training! Like us, concentrating and learning makes him consume energy. Grab a few treats and take the time to teach him new tricks. Sitting, lying, standing, turning, jumping... It's a good way to keep an eye on his paw pads, coat, teeth, ears during this session. Spending time with your pet will strengthen the bond, and get him used to listening to you.
How do you detect a health problem?
He's limping: look at the pads, claws, gently feel from the joint to the tip of the paw to locate pain. In older dogs, watch out for arthritis. This pathology once well identified can be relieved with food supplements.
Diarrhea/vomiting: Digestive disorders are to be taken seriously in an animal. It can lead to intense dehydration and put him in danger.
If it is a mild diarrhea, without other symptoms, and he does not seem to be in pain or depressed, leave him only water for 18 to 24 hours. At the next meal, you can give him some rice in his usual diet. Monitor him for 24 to 48 hours.
Acute, repeated diarrhea or other symptoms such as vomiting, lack of energy, should be managed quickly by a professional.
You can take his temperature before calling the veterinarian (normal temperature of a dog=38.5°C). Monitor and count the number of times, and report this valuable information to your veterinarian who will be able to advise you.
It is useful to regularly look at your pet's feces to detect the presence of parasites. Even if you use a preventive dewormer.
He drinks a lot more: if your dog starts to drink a lot more than usual, contact your veterinarian. A simple blood test could reveal dehydration, diabetes or a kidney problem for example.
A small diagnostic gesture: gently pinch the animal's skin and observe how it returns to its normal position. If the skin takes a long time to return to its normal position (it remains "pinched"), your pet is probably dehydrated: consult your veterinarian without delay.
He is amorphous: your dog doesn't want to play, go out or walk anymore, he doesn't want to party with you? Consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Here again, you can start making a home diagnosis to give your veterinarian as much information as possible. Gently palpate the belly, the back and the limbs to locate a possible pain. Take the temperature. Look at the mucous membranes of the dog (inner eyelids, gums...): if they are very white, it can be a lack of oxygenation. Has he eaten? drank? relieved himself normally...
Generally, the dog does not remain amorphous for long. Try to stimulate him with a treat or by offering a walk. If the dog does not react, consult your veterinarian.
Coughing: If your dog coughs, it could be a bronchitis, a virus or a bacterium, just like in humans. This requires treatment by your veterinarian who will diagnose the pathology before prescribing, for example, anti-biotics or an anti-viral.
The cough can also reveal a cardiac or pulmonary pathology. Complementary examinations according to the visit to the veterinarian are then to be done.