Health Care

Please note that these articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of BestFamilyDog.co.uk. As with all matters relating to your dog, please use your own judgement where appropriate.

The Basics of Hygiene

Most people wouldn't think twice about cleaning and maintaining a car, but what about their best friends? Read on.

Bathing

All dogs are different, and the various breeds all come with differing coat types, coat lengths, grooming and bathing requirements. For the majority, bathing is important but is not as crucial as many people believe. Although many owners will bathe their dogs regularly to get rid of their doggy smell, a healthy dog doesn't need to be bathed more that once every few months. And while many dogs may not enjoy the process of being bathed, it can be a good bonding experience as they will enjoy the attention and contact they receive.

Ear Cleaning

Ears should be checked on a weekly basis and cleaned when required to prevent the risk of infections. A damp cloth is all that is normally required but special solutions can also be purchased. Check for ear mites. These are small insects that like to live in the waxy secretions. As time goes by these grow larger and you will notice a dirty black substance in your dog's ear.

Teeth Brushing

It is amazing how many owners overlook this most basic of hygienic tasks with their dogs, with some only brushing their dogs teeth once or twice a year. Imaging how yours would feel! Dental chews can be purchased, but then toothbrushes and toothpaste specifically designed for dogs are also available these days. This is often easier than ear cleaning becuase the toothpaste is designed to taste good.

Fleas and Ticks

A weekly check over for fleas and ticks is a good idea. Ticks are common in wooded areas and dig into your dog's skin, where they survive by sucking their blood, and they can carry several harmful diseases such as Lyme Disease. This disease slowly destroys the joints and will leave a dog very low on energy. The most common hiding areas are under the collar or along the underbelly. If you find any, simply pull them off using tweezers and destroy.

Fleas aren't anywhere as harmful as ticks and can be more of a nuisance. However, if you don't catch them quickly enough they can spread to other pets, you and any of your family. They can normally be found under the fur and in pretty much the same hiding places as ticks, with their telltale droppings looking like specks of black pepper. If you find any, ask your local vet about flea treatments.

Submitted by Peter Knowles Nov 2010.