How to give your dog an annual MOT!
Today we are taking our dogs through a car-like annual road test.
Like cars, the Dog MOT is the examination of a canine’s related systems components to ensure that they have not worn to an excessive level, which could otherwise render the canine unsafe for use on the park.
An annual health check is always a fun and worthwhile exercise but always remember, by using the services of your vet you are likely to save time and money and reduce the risk of any health problems for your dog creeping up on you.
TESTING THE BRAKES
This should involve the checking of the paws and claws for damage, wear and tear. A dog that continues to walk or run on an injured paw may cause unnecessary excess damage to itself.
TESTING THE DOORS
This involves the checking of the mouth and the teeth for any obvious problem. Teeth can become infected and the mouth should be checked for ulcers. Dogs suffer from toothache as well. Take a closer look at your dog’s diet as this could help protect their teeth.
TESTING THE EMISSIONS
This involves checking the bowels, the faeces, the urine, the breath and the anal glands for any obvious problems. Worms are a common problem amongst dogs and can easily be resolved. Your dog’s diet yet again plays an important role in the emissions and an MOT may pick up some problems in the early stages.
TESTING THE FUEL SYSTEM
It is advisable that your dog’s diet is checked over. The diet may become a cure or indeed a problem for your dog. Your dog may be sensitive to something in its current diet and may need to undergo a ‘food allergy’ test. Putting the wrong kind of fuel into your dog is not desirable.
TESTING THE HORN
The bark and growl of a dog is often an early warning system to deter trouble and it can be used as a way of letting you know that something is wrong. It is necessary for a dog’s bark to be in perfect working order as this is its main means of communication. Sore throat, toothache and even depression can cause the bark to malfunction.
TESTING THE LIGHTS & MIRRORS
This would involve the checking of the eyes for diseases such as Glaucoma, Conjunctivitis and Cataracts. These, if found early, can be treated and controlled. Unfortunately Glaucoma is one of the most frequent causes of blindness in adult dogs and cannot be cured, just controlled. Bleeding, Inflammation and Tumours can also occur in the eye. The ears of a dog also play a vital role in its communication with us. Ears can become infected in various ways (mite, bacterial and fungal infections are probably the most common). If a dog scratches too much it may cause a blood vessel to burst and could result in a blood blister. Ear disease is very hard to be prevented but regular check ups could limit any potential damage.
TESTING THE SUSPENSION & TYRES
Maintaining the balance and general wear and tear of your dog is very important. Healthy joints and legs go a long way to securing this. A cruciate ligament rupture can cause severe discomfort for a dog. It is more common in unfit or overweight dogs so the diet of your dog will be a major factor in this. If an unfit or overweight dog gets the necessary treatment early on, this could prevent any long lasting damage to it’s legs and joints such as arthritis.
TESTING THE STEERING
The brain, the device that controls everything, the way your dog reacts, moves, sees and walks etc. This would prove difficult to test but older dogs may be susceptible to ‘brain-ageing’. Slowing down this process can be achieved by a change in diet as some types of food have shown that they can improve learning ability in older dogs as well as improve alertness and enthusiasm. A sound mind will go a long way to reducing the chance of any other little problems cropping up. Brain tumours are uncommon in dogs younger than five years old but a neurological examination would be required. The neurological exam would involve the testing of the dog’s reflexes, examining the coordination, limb strength, head position, cranial nerve responses and general attitude.
TESTING THE VEHICLE STRUCTURE
The skin is the largest and most visible organ of the animal body. It protects the internal organs from a hostile environment. It provides form and covering and has numerous other roles in the body. It prevents moisture and essential chemicals leaving the body while allowing secretion of other materials. It has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties. The skin is an essential part of the body’s immune system monitoring and fighting infections.
As it is the ‘bodywork’ of the dog, disease is readily apparent. Hair loss, itching, dandruff, scabs and sores may all occur. Diseases of the skin may be related to other organ systems or each other and a complex interplay of signs and diseases ensues causing confusion for the owners and difficulties for vets.
It is therefore often necessary for many different diseases to be considered and ruled out before a final diagnosis to be made and correct treatment used. Vets are getting much better at dealing with skin diseases but sometimes they need the support of a specialist veterinary dermatologist. A WORD OF ADVICE: Skin disease treatments can be particularly expensive as prolonged and repetitive treatment is necessary. Pet Insurance can help take the financial sting out of this.
TESTING THE WINDSCREEN
The windscreen is a form of defence. It is important that your dog’s defence is kept up to date. Check that all the injections are up to date and check your Pet Insurance policy hasn’t lapsed. Treatments for dogs cost, some are pretty expensive. A few pounds a month can go a long way to saving you money in the long term. Fleas and worms can be kept to a minimum by regular treatment.
An annual dog MOT may pick up some concerns from your vet that you may be unaware of. As long as you maintain your dog’s health during the year, your dog MOT should be a simple formality but if you just rely on your vet to pick up these problems, it may be too late for treatment to be administered.
Although an annual check up is recommended there are things that you can do to maintain your dog during the course of the year. A few have already been mentioned but are worth re-iterating.
Regular grooming will promote well being ensuring that your dog is comfortable and free from the irritation of dead skin and hair build up. It is an essential part of their care.
Thorough grooming would remove all dead hair and any tangled bits.
Keeping the toenails neat and tidy will reduce the risk of long nails catching or indeed growing back into the pads.
The cleaning of the ears removes wax and debris from the ear canal, which reduces the risk of ear infections and canker.
Many of our dogs are plagued with the all too familiar dog breath. Regular teeth cleaning can go some way to reducing this. There are also treatments for the removal of tartar through routine descaling.
Bathing your dog in a hypoallergenic shampoo can have various effects. There are different types of shampoo available on the market to alleviate certain things. Shampoos can relieve sore and itchy skin, make white coats bright and can promote coat growth producing a fabulous shine. There are also shampoos to help repel insect infestation.
Scissors and clippers can be used to style and trim your dog to a desired look. A trim could suit both you and your dog’s lifestyle.
If you are prepared to invest a little time, money and effort into the well being of your dog this could substantially reduce the long-term costs of any treatments and could improve the long-term fitness and longevity of your dog.
The Dog MOT is not compulsory, but an annual check up would surely benefit you and your dog. It is law for your car, but do you love your car more than your dog? Some may do, but the majority of us love our dog more. I certainly would want to know that I am improving the well-being, health and happiness of my dog!