Brian Faulkner - BSc (Hons), BVM&S, MBA, MSc(Psych), MRCVS

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How to give your puppy a regular health check

Brian Faulkner - BSc (Hons), BVM&S, MBA, MSc(Psych), MRCVS
Reading time: 2 minutes

It’s important to give your puppy regular health checks so they are used to being examined in case they do need veterinary attention. Becoming familiar with your puppy’s body will also help you know what is normal for them and may provide an early warning if anything is wrong. It takes just five minutes to give your puppy a health check.

Your puppy’s regular checkup should include the following;

Ears

Your puppy’s outer ear should be clean with a pale pink lining and some wax. Signs of infection include an off-white discharge, a bad smell, or irritation and inflamed skin around the ears. If there’s a black or waxy discharge and your dog is scratching his or her ears, it could be mites.

Weight/Body condition

Becoming overweight puts your puppy at risk from a range of health problems including arthritis, diabetes and breathing problems. If you do need to reduce their food, do it gradually. You can ask your vet for advice.

Teeth

As your puppy is young they are likely to have healthy teeth. Although it is still good to check them regularly in case anything is amiss. As your dog ages it is important to check for hardened plaque or tartar, or reddening of the gum where it meets the top of the tooth. This can cause bad breath and bacteria, which can infiltrate into the bloodstream.

Coat and skin

A glossy coat is a sign of good health. Excessive scratching or dandruff can be signs of fleas or other parasites. These can be remedied with the right treatment.

Joints and legs

Limping or lameness could be caused by a growth problem such as elbow dysplasia or hip dysplasia or an athletic injury. If your puppy limps or winces in pain when you flex and extend his or her legs, you should see your vet.

Brian Faulkner - BSc (Hons), BVM&S, MBA, MSc(Psych), MRCVS

Brian graduated from Edinburgh Vet School in 1995 and worked in mixed practice before studying for an MBA at Nottingham Business School in 2000/2001. After setting up and developing numerous veterinary practices in Suffolk in the 2000s, Brian was awarded the Petplan-UK Vet of the Year in 2008 after having been runner-up in 2007. Brian is currently the Petplan Pet Insurance media and PR vet and works in his own small animal veterinary practice 3 days a week. During his 20 year career Brian has worked in over 250 veterinary practices as a clinician, consultant and confidence coach.

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