By Anjelica Michael
When our dog gets sick, owners tend to wonder if they could have done something to prevent the problem. This could help avoid inconvenient vet visits, and trying get your reluctant pooch to take the pills prescribed.
We caught up with Dr. Catherine McDaniel of the Old Dominion Animal Hospital in McLean to ask what simple things owners can do for their dog ahead of time to side-step illness or other health-related issues.
1. It’s all about the food
McDaniel stressed was feeding your dog a good quality diet, “Not the store brand,” which may be cost effective, but does not compare to other brands. She recommended Science Diet and said that the food quality can really make a difference in your dog’s skin and coat. McDaniel also advises owners to brush your dog’s teeth daily, even though it may be difficult. Bad dental health in dogs can later lead to a multitude of health problems that people don’t realize including heart, liver, and kidney issues.
2. Pooch Pedicure
With the rush of cold weather, McDaniel said it is extremely important to keep the fur around your dogs feet trimmed at all times, “to prevent slipping and sliding.”
“We’ve had a lot of dogs coming in who have slipped on ice,” she said. With excess fur in the way (especially between the pads on their feet,) the dogs feet cannot grip the ground well, which can lead to serious injury through a fall. Along the same lines, McDaniel says that daily brushing can save your dog from later discomfort. If not brushed frequently, she says that “the dog’s fur can become matted, and this can lead to skin sores from irritation.”
3. Always Watch behind the ears
Lastly, McDaniel pointed out that a lot of people don’t check their dog’s ears, but should once a week.
“Dogs are more prone to ear infections than cats,” she said. Moisture can become trapped in a dogs ear, leading to an infection. So when rubbing your furry friend behind the ear, peek inside to see if there is any redness, irritation or if something just doesn’t look right.
These easy tasks done by owners can keep your best friend happy and healthy, while also looking their best. But it is important to remember to keep up with your dog’s yearly veterinary check-ups, McDaniel says that along with yearly heartworm and flea/tick preventative medicines will be essential in warding off health problems in your dog.