Guest Post by Aurora James
For most pet owners, a dog is like a family member, and it’s difficult to see them in pain when they get sick or injured. Keeping your dog safe and healthy is probably an issue that you’re aware of but maybe not actively thinking about every day; however, it’s important to know how to keep him from getting an illness from another animal, especially one that can be life-threatening, and you’ll need to know what symptoms to look out for. In some cases, pet illnesses don’t even have any symptoms, but you may be able to tell that your pet isn’t quite feeling like himself.
Fortunately, there are many simple ways you can help your dog feel good all year long. Here are some of the best tips on how to do just that.
If you know you’re going to be around other dogs, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and change your clothing after interacting with them. Certain illnesses–such as canine influenza–aren’t harmful to humans but can be carried on our skin, so it’s important to take precautions before you touch your own dog if you’ve been around other pets.
Keep him away from other dogs
If you know there’s been an outbreak of illness in your community, keep your dog away from other pets as much as possible. Instead of going to the park for a walk, take him around the neighborhood. The flu can be spread between dogs simply by touching noses, so you can drastically reduce his chances of getting sick just by isolating him from other animals.
Keeping your pet from interacting with another dog is sometimes easier said than done, especially if your neighbors have animals or if you have a friend or family member who visits with their own dog. If an animal comes into contact with your pet’s food or water bowl and you think there’s a chance he’s carrying an illness, disinfect the bowls as well as any other hard surfaces he touched in your home.
Know the symptoms
Dogs have flu symptoms just like humans do, so be on the lookout for a cough, runny nose, lethargy, loss of appetite, and eye discharge. Some animals show no symptoms, but may still not act like themselves. If you notice any change in your pet, consult your vet immediately.
We like to think of our homes as the safest places around, but if your pet is older or is recovering from a sickness, there may be some precautions you need to take to keep him from getting hurt. De-cluttering your home is a good start, as well as removing throw rugs that could be trip hazards or slippery under little feet.
Consider a pet-sitter
If you find that you’re working long hours and there’s no one who can help take care of your pet during the day, consider a pet-sitter who can come give him attention, feed him, and let him out. If you’re thinking about taking a vacation, hiring a dog boarder is a great way to ensure your pet is safe while you’re away. Traveling can be hard on pets, and it can expose them to many illnesses depending on where you go.
Talk to your vet
Depending on your dog’s age and whether there’s an immediate threat of illness, it might be wise to talk to your vet about the best ways to keep him safe and healthy. You can even ask about getting his checkups done in your car rather than taking him into the vet’s office, where the risk of him contracting an illness is magnified.
Dogs can help keep people healthy in some ways, so it’s only right that we return the favor. Keeping your dog healthy is a concern for every pet owner, so make sure you warn friends, family, and neighbors if you suspect your dog is ill. Stay up to date with the news and do some research online to make sure there are no outbreaks near you.
Aurora believes there are no bad dogs. She created DogEtiquette.info to share her dog training tips and advice to dog owners everywhere.