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How to Perform an At Home Exam on Your Dog


We have a consistent routine for the dogs.  Routine is boring, but I’ve learned to appreciate my boyfriend for making me stick to a routine with our dogs (shhh, don’t’ tell him).  The benefit of keeping our pups on a routine is that when something goes wrong, we know right away.

I can tell you exactly what each of our dogs does each morning when I wake them up.  If that routine changes, then I know something’s up and I pay attention.

I perform at home exams when our dogs are relaxed.  They’re napping (or just up from a nap) and calm.  I incorporate the exam with petting, cuddling, and grooming.  I start at their head and work my way back to their tail, becoming familiar with their bodies, which will help me notice when something isn’t right.

How to Give Your Dog a HomeExam

Dr. Becker provides clear steps on giving your dog an at home sexam.  Below is a summary of what Dr. Becker advises, click HERE to learn the details (what you should be looking out for).  You're looking for anything that doesn't look normal.

You're looking for anything that doesn't look normal.

  • Check your dog's nose for debris and not if it's wet or dry.
  • Check for abnormal eye discharge.
  • Check to see if your dog's pupils are symmetrical and look at the whites of their eyes.
  • Examine your dog's mouth (inside): gums, tongue, teeth, breath.
  • Check the jaw line to make sure it feels normal.
  • Examine their claws and the pads of their feet.
  • Gently examine their tummy for anything abnormal or tenderness.

Chart What You Find in Your Pet's Home Exam

If you notice anything abnormal, chart it on a calendar or in a date book.  This will help you when you're having a discussion with your veterinarian.  Make a rough sketch of your dog (you don't have to be Picasso, a stick figure is fine) and mark where you felt or saw the abnormality.  If you are alarmed, call your vet – don't hesitate.  It's better to be safe than sorry.

“Remember, in order for you to know what’s abnormal about your pet you first need to know what’s normal. Performing regular at-home exams is a simple and very effective way for you to keep a close eye on your pet’s health.” Source: Dr. Karen Becker

CLICK HERE for more details on performing a home exam and what you should be looking for when sitting with your dog.


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