If you’ve done a first-aid course you’ll remember the most golden of all rules: Look, listen and feel. The same rule can be useful when it comes to your pet. A quick check-up once a month can help you to identify any problems at an early stage and will probably make the treatment easier and cheaper – and old Rover’s chances of recovery will be much better.
You can even do this once a week while you brush, stroke or bath your animal. You should start by asking your vet what your animal’s ideal weight, normal temperature and heartbeat should be.
Then following this five-point plan to examine her from head to tail.
1 Stroking Always Works
Get your dog or cat to relax by lightly massaging her. If Kitty resists and growls or hisses, simply ignore this, remain patient, work gently and persevere – she’s bound to relax eventually and surrender. While stroking, you should ask yourself the following questions:
2 Stretch that neck
The skin of the neck tells you whether your pet is getting enough water. Gently pull the neck skin up – if she drinks enough water the skin will immediately fall back when you release it. If she’s dehydrated it will stay up and look slightly stiff.
3 Wet or dry nose?
Perhaps the biggest old wives’ tale is that a cat or a dog should always have a wet nose. However, if a green or thick fluid runs from it for longer than a day, head for the vet.
4 All ears
Check with your vet when you notice any bad smells, swelling, tenderness or secretions in your animal’s ear. A secretion that looks like ground coffee is usually ear mites and can be treated easily with some drops.
5 Say, aaah!
Look into your pet’s mouth to see if there are any small lumps. Also check the colour of the gums:
Words and image: Home magazine