How to Perform a DIY Physical Exam for Dogs

physical exam for dogs, dog care, dog cage

Dogs, like humans, need regular physical exams to stay in shape. However, since dogs age quickly than humans, they need more physical checks not once, but two times a year. Though learning basic first aid for dogs helps, nothing beats being able to perform a physical exam for dogs on your own. 

Don’t worry, though, because you can always perform a DIY physical exam for dogs at home in between scheduled veterinary checks. We suggest you perform this when your canine buddy is relaxed. Also, do it in a quiet place in your house that is free from distractions. 

Here are some important things you should do during a DIY physical exam for dogs: 

1. Look at his adorable eyes. 

The eyes of your dog must be white, not filled with lines of red. The cornea has to be clear and the pupils must have similar sizes in both eyes. There shouldn’t be any signs of discharge in the eyes as well and there must be no swollen areas around the eyelids. 

2. Check his nose. 

Observe your canine’s nose and try to answer the next questions. Does he have a runny nose? Is it cracking or dry? Are his nostrils crusty? Do you notice any sores around? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then there is something wrong. 

3. Observe the ears. 

Inspect his ear flaps and check for any signs of sores or abrasions. Next, look deep into the ear canal and find any hints of redness or waxy residue. Although you can’t really see very far, sometimes, ear problems are obvious at first sight. After checking the visual aspect, it’s time to take a sniff. Does it smell odd or funny? If yes, then it is possible that it is infected by yeast or bacteria. It is also likely that mites have made their way inside. 

4. Let him smile. 

Check your canine buddy’s lips and make him appear like he is smiling. Inspect his teeth and gums from there. To ensure that he has a healthy mouth, the gums must be free of ulcers and bumps. It has to be pinkish, too. As for his teeth, it should be white. If there are too much tartar, it will look brownish or yellowish.  

Smell his mouth as well. If the odor is unpleasant, then he may have periodontal disease. By the way, before smelling, be sure there is no food debris stuck between his teeth.  

5. Hug him. 

By hugging your dog, you can feel your dog’s body and jaw. Take a feel of his jaw and find out if there are any bumps or lumps. If you find one, it may indicate enlarged salivary glands or lymph nodes.  

6. Massage him gently. 

After hugging him, run your hands down to your pooch’s chest and to his back. Feel any skin abnormality. Look for any ticks or fleas while you’re massaging him. Do not forget to feel behind the knees, under the front legs, and in the groin area. 

7. Feel his heart. 

Put your hands on your dog’s chest and feel his heart beating. The normal heart rate should be 70 to 120 beats per minute. His respiration must be normal and effortless as well. 

8. Give him a belly rub. 

Put your one hand on one side of your pet’s abdomen and press gently. Slowly move forwards and backwards. You might not notice any abdominal abnormalities, but you need to check his facial expressions if there is any sign of pain. Roll your dog over and check his belly for skin lesions.  

If you suspect your dog has an upset stomach, you might want to find these helpful foods for a dog with an upset stomach

9. Feel his back bone. 

Gently press his spinal column and run your hand from his neck to his tail. Again, check if he feels pained.  

10. Tickle his paws. 

Let your dog lie down on one side and check his paws. Are his paws cracked? Are they swollen? Are his nails too long? Are there wounds between his toes? Do they smell good? If the answer to the questions is yes, then you have to do something about it. 

11. Let him stand. 

Assess the overall body condition of your dog. Let him stand up and run your hands slowly down to his chest. Feel his individual ribs, but do not press too hard. Next, check your dog from a bird’s eye view. Regardless if he is a boy or she is a girl, he or she should have a curvaceous waist line. Lastly, look at him from the side. His belly should curve in an upward manner. Overweight dogs may have sagging bellies. 

12. Evaluate everything. 

Is your pooch always alert and happy? Does he respond to your call? Does he walk normally? Can he sleep and rise up without any problems? Does it take time for him to respond? Does he always cry when he is in his dog cage? Is he able to eat his food quickly? Does he regularly urinate and defecate? Is he enjoying his dog life?  

Does your dog feel restless? Is he experiencing difficulties in breathing? If that is the case, take him to the vet. 

Hopefully, your canine buddy becomes happy after performing this DIY physical exam for dogs. Let us know if you have questions or concerns about the process. We’d love to hear from you. 

Image Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] 

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