General Health Care & Advice

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General Health Care & Advice

Post  Admin on Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:25 pm

First Aid Kit

It's always a good idea to have a pet first aid kit handy in case you ever need it. There are commercial kits for canines available, but with a just a bit of work, you can put together your own. Here's what you need:

Phone numbers to your veterinarian during office hours and during emergency hours
Phone number to an animal poison control center
Copy of your dog's medical records
Sterile non-stick bandages for open wounds
Roll of gauze bandages and gauze pads to place over a wound
Adhesive medical tape to secure bandages
Rounded tip scissors
Cotton tipped swabs to apply antiseptic
Antiseptic solution to clean wounds
Tweezers for thorn removal
Rectal thermometer for taking temperature

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Identification Records

It's always a good idea to keep identification records of your dog in the event you should ever need them. Your dog should have a harness or collar with an identification tag with your name, your dog's name, and your contact information. You should also microchip your pet or give her an identification tattoo. Both options are a permanent means of identifying your pet should she ever get lost. Next, keep a current record of your dog's height, weight, coloring, and any identifying marks. Keep a current photo of your dog that you can use on flyers. Being prepared can make the difference in being able to find your pet.

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Signs Your Dog Needs to See a Vet
There are a number of symptoms that can signal that it's time to take your dog to the vet. Some of the more common ailments canines can get include parvovirus, canine distemper, kennel cough, and leptospirosis. Parvovirus is serious disease that damages your dog's intestinal lining and can result in death in young and unvaccinated dogs. If your dog shows any of the following symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately:

Fever (103-105 degrees Fahrenheit)
Weakness
Poor appetite
Depression
Vomiting
Diarrhea
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Clean Those Ears
Cleaning your dog's ears on a regular basis can help prevent infections and allow you to recognize problems quickly if they arise. Check your dog's ears at least once a week for dirt, wax, and debris. If they look fine, then simply leave them alone. If they need cleaning, remove dirt and wax with either a cotton ball with hydrogen peroxide or a commercial ear cleaner for dogs. Thoroughly wipe all visible parts of the outer ear. Avoid using cotton swabs (q-tips) or going into the ear canal, to prevent accidental damage to the eardrum
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Refusing Water
If your canine refuses to drink any water, it's an indication of a possible health issue. If you are re-hydrating your dog and she has not had water for some time, do so slowly. Drinking excess water after a lapse in hydration could lead to vomiting and a loss of additional fluids. Try letting her lick an ice cube rather than allowing her to drink directly out of a bowl.

Any dog that suffers from serious dehydration including a dry nose, dry mouth, or loss of skin elasticity, should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.

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Refusal to Eat
If you find your normally voracious canine has lost his appetite, there may be some cause for concern. Loss of appetite is one of the first signs of illness. Your canine could also be experiencing pain of some sort and therefore refuse to eat. Or it could be possible that your dog has a loss of appetite due to a change in environment such as a new pet or introduction to new food. However, to be safe, if you've ruled out any behavioral issues, take your pooch to the veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.

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