The business of a dog’s business through close inspection
By HELEN PALMER
I have always thought that if you are going to have the chips in your car’s finish re-painted, you should first wash the car yourself, for that is the only way you can discover the places that need repair.
The same thing can be said about caring for your dog. If you are interested in the health of your dog, you must find the time to wash and comb it. Only by getting down close to the animal will you spot reddened areas that might be the beginning of hot spot or worse, mange. You might even discover a lump or swelling that needs attention.
Being close to the dog, you will be able to smell any ear infection and the need for a visit to the veterinarian.
Two other areas that can produce foul odors are the mouth and the ami glands on either side of the rectum. In the case of the mouth, the bad breath can be the result of poor dental hygiene, or as I found out a couple of weeks ago, a urinary tract infection. At the other end of the dog, most owners prefer that the veterinarian or groomer examine and express the anal glands. They are foul smelling if full or infected.
In Danville, as in many other cities, there is a “pooper scooper law. This means that dog owners who walk their dogs are responsible for picking up after their dogs when they are walked on public property or other people’s front lawns. This law is armed with a substantial fine (it varies from city to city) for not collecting your pet’s droppings.
Actually, there are advantages to picking up after your pet. Not only will you win the admiration of the homeowner, but it gives you an opportunity to check your dog for tapeworms and other problems.
If the stool is white and hard, the dog is probably eating a large amount of bones and it is possible that the bones will cause constipation. If the stool is black, you might be concerned about the possibility of internal bleeding. (However, in the past some of my dogs started dropping black stools because they were eating opossum droppings. After the opossum haunts were placed off limits, my dogs’ stools reverted to the normal brown color.)
Finally, if the stool is bright yellow, runny, extra hard, or has streaks of blood in it, it is time to confer with your veterinarian. Sometimes, all it takes is a phone conference; other times it is necessary to bring in a stool sample or even the dog.
How do you make collecting simple? I have found only one product on the market that is super convenient and works well for small and medium sized dogs — they are Hefty Scrap bags. They have a pull-off strip on the top of each bag which makes a tie, they fold up nicely to fit into your pocket and when the bag is tied, there is a loop to carry it by. Furthermore they are opaque white and roomy enough to turn inside out over both hands making pick-up and obeying the law very simple.