Puppies and infants have a lot in common. One of the main things is that neither can tell you when they are feeling sick, so they depend on you to identify a problem and fix it.
Knowing and understanding your puppy’s habits is key to being able to identify a medical problem before it becomes life threatening. Pay attention to your puppy’s signals. Early identification of a health problem can make the difference between life and death.
Experience is the best tool in diagnosing puppy illnesses. However, there are many good books available on the subject of puppy health. Check with your breeder or veterinarian for a recommendation on a book focused at your puppy’s specific breed.
The Internet is also a good source of puppy illness information. There are numerous websites that can help you analyze symptoms. For example, www.petside.com offers a program that helps you determine just what is wrong with your dog by answering questions based on many facets of your puppy’s symptoms.
Monitoring a puppy’s appetite is one way to detect illness. Most puppies have healthy appetites and the failure to eat can mean your favorite canine is feeling distress.
Take note of water consumption. If your puppy stops drinking, there could be a problem. On the other hand, excessive drinking can also be signs that your puppy is feeling under the weather.
It is helpful to monitor your puppy’s stools. This can help you determine if the puppy is experiencing diarrhea, a common symptom of many illnesses and worm infestations.
A puppy’s fur coat is also a determining sign of health. A soft, shiny, luxurious coat is a good sign. A dull, dry coat may be an indication of a health problem.
Take time to smell your puppy’s breath. A foul odor may be an indication that there are dental and/or stomach problems.
If you suspect your puppy has a medical condition, monitor the dog closely. When in doubt, make a call to your puppy’s veterinarian. Many doctors will make suggestions that you can try before booking an appointment.
It is a good idea to keep a medical first aid kit on hand. Stock it with a rectal thermometer so you can closely monitor the puppy’s temperature. The normal body temperature for dogs is usually between 101 and 102 degrees Farenheit. Call the veterinarian if your puppy’s temperature falls below or exceeds that range.
There are numerous over-the-counter drugs that can help you avoid a costly trip to the veterinarian. Try Pepto Bismal for stomach upsets. Ask your veterinarian for a syringe and use it to squirt the medicine into the puppy’s mouth.
A good triple antibiotic cream can be used for skin problems and external injuries such as abrasions. Motrin can be used for pain. Benadryl is good for bee stings and insect bites. Check with your puppy’s veterinarian for the appropriate dosages of all medicines.
Boiled chicken and rice is a good remedy for vomiting, diarrhea and stomach disorders. Use the chicken to flavor the rice to make it more desirable.
While it is okay to try home remedies, use discretion. If something does not seem to be working, call a veterinarian immediately. Early detection is key to insuring your puppy’s good health.
Your veterinarian may ask for a stool sample. This is vital in helping the doctor determine intestinal diseases or the existence of parasites. Urine samples may be necessary in order to diagnose kidney problems.
In many instances, a veterinarian will want to draw blood and run tests to rule out serious illnesses. There are specialty laboratories that run diagnostic blood screenings that can determine red and white blood cell counts, the presence of lyme disease, etc. While blood tests can be expensive, they are one of the most comprehensive means available of determining puppy illnesses.