Grooming is a good time to accustom your dog to routine checks in which you examine each part of his body. It isn’t only your pooch’s jacket that needs consideration his teeth, ears, and nails also need to be attended to regularly.


From early puppyhood, get your dog accustomed to regular grooming so that you can use this time to carry out health checks as well. Noticing the slightest change could allow early diagnosis of a health problem, and potentially a better outcome.

While grooming and examining each part of your dog’s body, talk to him to put him at ease and use commands such as “teeth” and “ears.”

Look first for any obvious changes in body shape and stance, then go over him in more detail, searching for cuts, lumps, and external parasites. Run your hands over and under his head and body, down all four legs, and along the length of his tail.

Part the fur in places, especially over his rump; there should be no evidence of fleas or flea dirts, little or no debris, and the coat should feel and smell pleasant. Stroking your dog should be a good experience for both of you.

Check his eyes to make sure there is no excessive tear production or sticky discharge. A little “sleep” is normal—simply wipe it away, using a separate damp cotton ball for each eye. Gently lower the bottom eyelids to check that the lining and the white around the irises are not inflamed and red.

Look under the tail at the anus for soiling and swellings, and in a female check the vulva for swelling and discharges. Examine the penis of a male dog for injuries and excessive discharge or bleeding from the tip.


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