The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has concluded through research that has been conducted that pet health care visits are down substantially. After a closer look at this research, it was determined that the economy was not the sole reason for this decline.
Information about pets is being sought through many other sources, including the internet, blogs, pet magazines, etc. In fact, 39% of pet owners report that they go online prior to contacting their veterinarian when their pet has an issue. These same pet owners do not always see the value of preventative care for their dog.
It is wonderful that these varying sources do exist and that dog owners understand just exactly what the signs of a healthy dog are so that they will be able to tell when something is wrong or when it is vital that the dog go to the vet. Many veterinarians admit that they could do a better job of helping pet owners realize that actual proactive care can help prolong the life of their beloved pets. Veterinarians examine dogs from nose to tail making certain all parts check out.
Beginning with a dog’s nose, it should be free of discharge and not cracked or dry. A dog’s eyes should be clear and free of any discharge. Dogs do have a natural tearing capability, but discharge is a different matter altogether. Eyes that are matted may have an issue. A dog’s ears should not have any discharge and should also be free of any odor. Dogs that have hair that grows in their ear canals must have that hair removed frequently to avoid any infections.
Recent studies have proven that there is a correlation between a dog’s tooth health and heart disease. It is extremely important to keep a dog’s teeth free of plaque and tartar; brushing both teeth and gums. If the dog presents with foul breath, trouble eating, bleeding from its gums or apparent pain, then it is essential to get the dog to the vet, however, this trouble would not be as apt to happen if prevention had ensued.
A dog’s hair or fur will show visible signs of skin irritations, fleas or parasites if it is not glossy and full. Just as with human beings, a dog’s weight must be maintained. It is easy to tell if a dog is gaining weight since it will not be easy to feel their ribs when rubbing the dog’s side. Overweight dogs will not be able to exercise effortlessly, although with certain breeds of dogs the weather will have a bearing on exercise, too.
A dog’s paws help a dog to sweat, thus they are very important to a dog’s health. Nails should be kept trimmed, toes free of foreign objects; not red, cracked or swollen.
Although pet owners that are adept of their dog’s normal behavior will be able to tell when their dog is acting abnormally. If the dog is not eating, is lethargic and/or irritable, they may be ill. This is also easier to determine when the dog sees his or her vet regularly.
The Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare has been formed within the past year to ensure that pets receive the preventative care that they require and deserve through regular vet visits. The AVMA in conjunction with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), and 16 additional associations, animal healthcare companies, pet food companies, distributors, pet insurance providers and national practices will all be working together to provide better communications, education, and complete insight into veterinary medicine that will help dogs to live better, longer lives. Stay tuned as more information will surely be forthcoming on dogs’ health and welfare.