Dog Care – At Home Exam

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 28,348
    Dr. Candy Olson demonstrates how to care for your dog and give an at-home exam.

    Candy Olson

    Dr. Candy Olson graduated from veterinary school in 1978, and has been working as a small animal veterinarian ever since. She started her own practice, Greenbriar Animal Hospital, in Fairfax, Virginia in 1993 with a goal to providing a very personal level of service, like an old fashioned family doctor’s office. The hospital has grown into a busy 2 doctor practice with a full time dog and cat groomer. The practice and Dr. Olson have received several awards for top quality service to her patients and their owners, but what she enjoys the most is fine tuning the day to day care of her patients, and helping their owners cope with medical and behavioral issues that pop up in today’s lifestyles. Dr. Olson is particularly interested in the care of geriatric pets and in pets with multiple medical and/or behavioral problems. She keeps her veterinary knowledge current by reading more than 8 veterinary journals every month, and by attending more than 80 hours of continuing education meetings each year (Virginia requires 15 hours per year). She also serves as a mentor for student veterinary technicians and high school students interested in veterinary medicine. Her hobbies include gardening, travel, and photography (photography is an extended family hobby). Some of her photos and some of her family’s photos are framed and on display at the animal hospital.

    Hi, I am Dr. Candy Olson Greenbriar Animal Hospital. We're making a video to show you a bunch of tips on things that you can do to care for your dog at home. This particular segment is how to do an at home exam on your dog. This is Oriel; she is going to be helping us out with this. One of the reasons why you want to be doing an exam at home for your pet is to keep an eye on things, has anything changed? Dogs are pretty good at hiding things and so if you are looking at it regularly, you can check and see. Also get your dog accustomed to things. If you're looking in the ears and looking in the mouth and doing these things on a regular basis, if your dog gets an ear infection and needs medicine or needs to have the ears cleaned then you're ahead of the game because you've already gotten her accustomed to that kind of thing. So, when we are talking about doing an at home exam on a dog, what you want to be doing is just taking a look. You want to see, her eyes are okay? Anything red there in your good girl. You want to look at teeth and this is something that some dogs object to, so you want to be careful if your dog might be snippy about this and you want to look at all of the teeth, all the way back to the back. So you don't want to just look at the front, you actually have to pull that lip off and look at that. Good girl. You want to look at the ears and see, is anything red or irritated? Is anything changed since the last time? Even if it doesn't seem to be bothering a dog, if there a change then that something that should be noted.

    Your ears are great. Good girl. You want to check the glands here. Dogs have glands under their ears, just like you have glands here that may be swollen if there is a problem and just kind of feel about it, if you can actually feel the glands, sometimes you can't feel them at all, sometimes they are just rather small and soft. Then you want to check her all over, just a little bit of a body massage here. Almost to see, does she have lumps. Any lumps or bumps that weren't there before. Anything changed, anything tender spots and it's much easier to do this by feel than by looking. Oh, we got good spot, didn't we? Good girl. So you can see that there is a change and if you do find anything, call your veterinarian, because they're probably going to work to check it over. Good girl. Oh, that's excellent. The other thing that you can do, is to check her paws. The way that you want to check the dog's paws, turn this way around, good girl. It runs on the inside of the back leg. So what you want to do is put all four fingers kind of flat on the inside of the leg here like this and push, you'll be able to feel the bone in the thigh up here on the inside and outer it runs right by there, and you just kind of experiment a little bit pushing less hard and all of the sudden you will feel the pulse and you'll be able to count it right there. You can also, for a lot of dogs, if you put your fingers right kind of in what would be their armpits here on each side, often times you can feel the heartbeat right there against the ribcage. She is easy to do that because she is little. If dogs have a broad chest like a bulldog, for example, you are not going to do it. It's just hidden in there, but it is a good way to check.

    The dog's normal heart rate, when they are at home is between a 120 and 140, sometimes when they are in here or if they are excited or upset it can be a little faster. The respiration rate, how fast they breathe? You can usually figure -- turn this way sweetie, good girl. You can just watch her breath and see okay, there is a little breath, there is a little breath, there is a little breath. She tends to take shallow breaths. Dogs will often times do that, and so it's easier if they have got much hair. Now here you can just watch her. If they have got much hair, if they are thicker and fuzzier it's kind of hard to see sometimes, so you can just gently put your hands on their side and count, okay how often do things move. But smaller dogs don't tend to move a whole lot when they breathe. It's a very subtle kind of thing. The bigger the dog, it's easier to tell. Normal respiration or breathing rate for a dog that'a at home and that'as not overheated or excited or stressed is usually between 10-20 breaths per minute. They can go higher than 20. They can go a lot higher than 20, if they are stressed or upset. One of the things to take into account with this is that dogs only way of cooling off their body temperature is by panting. They don't sweat and so that's the only things that they can do, so if you take your dog out for a walk and it gets overheated and it comes back and now it's going to be panting for a long time even after it stops the open mouth panting, it's going to be breathing rapidly. So if you're checking your dog, doing this you think, hey, that doesn't seem right. He is not panting, he seems relaxed but he is breathing like 30-40 times a minute. Wait a few hours, come back and check it again. See was it just the aftermath of something else going on. But if you find things out of the normal range, call your vet because they're liable to want to see the dog and maybe something is going on. So those were some tips about how to do an at home exam on your dog. Next we're going to show some tips for how to give oral medication to your dog, pills and liquid.