By Jennifer Broome, the QK owner
4 Signs of healthy, well-cared for dog:
Coat condition, weight, teeth, nails. Yup, it may be that easy!
When you come to visit Quinebaug Kennels (QK Dogs) and meet owner Jennifer Broome, she will quickly assess your dog and offer feedback. This is not often the case when you go to your vet for vaccine updates or even wellness exams. Sadly, many veterinarians simply give your dog their required vaccines, ask about any health issues, prescribe flea/tick meds and heartworm and send you on your way without addressing these 4 signs.
At QK Dogs we are all about the overall complete health and wellness of your client dogs!
A dog with a dull coat that sheds a lot is often a sign of improper nutrition and needed supplements. We love to talk nutrition, food choices and additional supplements that may be the secret to a healthier coat, less shedding and improved overall wellness.
Many dogs that we see come into QK are overweight and they lack proper muscle tone and overall fitness. Just 1-pound overweight for a dog is equivalent to 10 pounds in a human. So, if we see a dog just 5 pounds overweight, that is like 50 pounds on a human. Wow! Humans tend to have the common sense that we cannot just race out Mach speed to run, but our dogs do not have that same sense of self-preservation and they can easily torque a knee or injure themselves when they are overweight. Plus, the added weight is super stressful on their joints. At QK we look at the topline of the dogs. We want to see the ribs (or at least feel them) and we want to clearly see a tuck up on their waistline behind the ribs when you are viewing from above them.
How about those pearly whites!? Most dogs by the age of 2 years have periodontal disease! The plaque on their teeth builds up, goes into their bloodstream through the gums, and leads to early organ disease. Dental care is a great measure of your dog’s overall health and wellness. Encourage healthier teeth with your dog by offering safe dental chews, bones and chew toys to break down plaque and keep a healthy mouth.
Lastly, how about those nails? I wish that I had $5 for each time a client said “I tried to cut my dog’s nails one time and I made them bleed/hit the quick” or “My dog hates to have their nails cut”. This means that owners then give up or neglect their dog’s toenails. This really frustrates me! If you cannot do their nails, then at least take them once a month to a groomer to get their nails dremeled (this is a power grinder that files them safely down) or clipped. If your dog’s nails are hitting the floor, this is simply cruel. Long nails force the dog’s toes outwards, they make the dog unstable on slippery surfaces (wood or tile floors), and long nails affect the way a dog stands, changing the angulation of the tarsal, hock, stifle angles which affect their gait and can cause overall joint pain and structural issues. We use a Dremel Lite rechargeable electric tool to safely and accurately grind down dog’s nails and with practice and patience older dogs learn to accept this noninvasive care to help keep them healthy. Better yet, start your young puppy off with nail care and they will calmly accept nail care throughout their lives.
So, if you REALLY love your dog and care about their overall health and wellness, please give them a once over to see how their coat, weight, teeth and nails looks. If they need work, reach out and we will be happy to help offer advice. Our on staff QK Veterinarian Dr. Kristin Williams can also perform wellness exams and help offer health, wellness and nutrition tips for a happier, healthier dog!