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Vet Supply Source Blog

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dog Care 101: Three Common Health Problems, And How to Properly Care for Them



When you're a dog owner you want to do whatever you can to make sure that your dog is in the best health.  Whether it's making sure that they regularly get their heartgard for dogs, or keeping them up to date with their vaccinations, dog owners do a lot to ensure that their furry friend is healthy.  It can be easy to keep dogs healthy, but a little more difficult determining if they have a serious medical problem.  Is that scratch on their paw something small that will heal up soon, or do you need to take them to the vet for stiches?  Did an accidental tour into a poison ivy patch cause that rash, or is your dog having an allergic reaction?  Read this post so that you can learn how to care for common medical problems dogs and their owners often experience.

Cuts

It's pretty common for dogs to experience a variety of minor cuts and scrapes when they're outside, but sometimes it can be difficult for owners to know whether or not they should treat the cut, take their dog to a vet, or let it heal on its own.  Any cut, especially one that is bleeding, should be treated immediately by owners.  Taking care of a cut on a dog isn't too different from caring for a cut on your own body. 

Cleanse the cut with a gentle antiseptic that is diluted in warm water, Betadine (povidone-iodine) and Nolvasan (chlorhexidine diacetate) work well for pets.  Use a cloth or towel to do this and avoid using cotton balls or q-tips, their loose fibers can stick to the wound and cause more problems.  Bandage the cut with gauze, and watch the cut closely to see to ensure that it's healing properly.  If it isn't contact your vet immediately.

Intense Scratching

Scratching is a very common behavior for dogs to exhibit, but if your dog is doing it in excess there can be a problem.  You know your dog's behavior well; and there is a difference between the occasional scratch and unhealthy scratching.  If you notice that your dog is scratching more than usual, and if they break the skin and look troubled while doing it, that could be a sign that they have an underlying medical condition. 

Restrain your dog and check their skin, and pay special attention to the areas they scratch the most.  Apply a cold compress to their itching "hot spots" for  few minutes and see if that helps, oatmeal shampoos can also help bring your dog some relief.  If you notice bumps or blotches of color in the scratched area it could be a sign of an allergic reaction.  If the itching fails to improve, or if you notice any skin legions or other problems, take them to the vet immediately. 

Vomiting

Dogs can vomit for a variety of reasons, many of which are harmless.  Your dog may just be safely expelling something that is irritating their stomach, or they could be spontaneously regurgitating their food.  Remember that even though vomiting and regurgitating have the same end result, that it isn't the same thing.  If your dog is regurgitating you'll notice that it takes little effort for them to do so, but if your dog is retching and convulsing their stomach they're vomiting.  Either way, an isolated case of vomiting or regurgitating isn't cause for alarm, but repeated behavior requires a doctor's attention.

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