If you’re wondering how to check pet health at home in-between vet visits, here are 5 ways to monitor your cats and dogs.
For many of us, our pets are cherished members of our family and, just like our family, we want them to live long, healthy lives. It can be worrying when our dog or cat seems out of sorts, not themselves or unwell in any way. As pet owners, we’re the ones who notice the small changes in behaviour, appetite and general wellbeing in our beloved animals.
We’re lucky that, if our animals suffer serious pet health issues, we can take them to the vets for help. But there are some common ailments and long-term health conditions that require regular checks and tests, and it may not be realistic, convenient or cost-effective to take our pet to the vet that frequently.
One common reason pet owners book appointments with their vet is to monitor conditions like diabetes.
Glucose tests are exceptionally useful for keeping an eye on your pet’s health and vital stats. If they have diabetes, these tests can prompt you to give medication and insulin when needed.
These days, tests have come a long way and are now pain-free and easy to use at home by non-professionals, The digital tests make the process quick, simple and non-stressful for you and your pet. Learn more about glucose monitoring tests
Kidney disease is a major cause of death in dogs and cats, and it’s important to see your vet if you notice any changes in the thirst of your pet. If your pet has been diagnosed with kidney problems, regular urinary analysis will monitor the issue.
Testing is easy to do at home too with approved urine strips, which measure gravity, protein and creatinine in the urine. They’re straightforward to use at home and can indicate progression of kidney disease and kidney failure in pets. Read more here: Pet Kidney Disease Testing Strips
When checking your pet’s teeth, do so with care to avoid being bitten. Gently lift the sides of their mouth and quietly, calmly look at their teeth and gums from there.
Look for any change in colour on the gums, lumps, broken teeth or plaque. Check for any signs of dental disease, as this can cause problems with eating. It can also cause serious issues with other organs in the body if it progresses. Ideally, you should clean your dog’s teeth regularly to avoid problems occurring.
Your pet’s weight should remain constant and within the range suitable for their breed and age. There are occasions when your pet’s weight could fluctuate but any gain beyond 10% of their normal weight could signify other health issues.
Just as in humans, obesity in pets can lead to disease, discomfort through arthritis and a shorter lifespan. There are many weight charts available that show you how much your pet should weigh. Use these as a guide when weighing your pet at home. If you notice a significant change, you should arrange an appointment with your vet. Read more about how to manage your pet’s weight
Most pet owners are comfortable with treating and monitoring their pets at home for fleas, ticks and worms. However, there is parasite that isn’t as well-known but equally troublesome. It’s called Giardia and it lives in the intestines of pets. Young pets are most at risk so it’s important to check them regularly. If they have persistent diarrhoea, that can be an indication of Giardia.
Giardia can cause other symptoms such as vomiting and weight loss. It can also be fatal if left unchecked. A vet should always be your first point of call but if you want to stay vigilant, you can use these approved swab test kits at home: Animal Giardia Swab Test Kit
Prevention is always better than cure. With regular at-home pet health checks and routine appointments with vets, you can reduce the chances of your cat or dog becoming seriously ill.
Discover more about animal health testing on our information pages: Home Health for Pets