Regular grooming does more than keep your pet looking its handsome best. It also protects your pet's health. As you groom your pet, become familiar with its distinctive characteristics. By learning what is normal for your pet, you will be able to observe changes in its appearance that may be warning signs of potential health problems. If diagnosed and treated promptly, minor problems can usually be prevented from developing into serious conditions.
Look at your pet's eyes. They should be clear and bright with no excessive tearing or mucus discharge. Red, inflamed or cloudy eyes or excessive tearing are indications of possible infection or eye injury. Because eyes are very delicate organs, any injury should receive prompt veterinary attention.
Clean teeth and healthy gums are essential to your pet's general health. Always check for strong breath odor, swollen gums and excessive tartar on the teeth. Swollen gums may look bright pink or red and be sensitive to touch. Tartar buildup is indicated by teeth that are yellow to brown. If you see evidence of dental problems, consult your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can show you how to brush your pet's teeth. Yearly teeth cleaning by a veterinarian is also recommended for pets prone to tartar buildup.
Signs of an ear infection include ears that are inflamed or have a strong odor. The pet may also repeatedly shake its head or scratch its ears. Dogs with thick, long ears tend to be susceptible to ear problems. If you have questions about the appropriate method for cleaning your pet's ears, or how to observe warning signs of ear problems, consult your veterinarian.