Take a good look
"Ewwww, I don't look in there, it's gross" she explained to me when I asked about her dogs ears. Her dog was shaking her head and holding one ear down; a clear sign of something going on in the ear. I asked if it was okay if I had a look and after she nodded with her "ewwww gross" face on, I peeked in. Yep, red, swollen and wet. "You have to check these things" I said.
Do you know what your dog looks like? I mean every little part? Most people don't. Dogs that go to a groomer on a regular basis get a once over at the groomers. But, they are grooming your dog, not checking for changes. You need to know what your dog looks like. You should be checking regularly. The more coat your dog has the harder it is to keep on top of what's under it. I love my forced air dryer because it blasts so hard that I get a good look at everything except inside the ears, bottom of feet and mouth when I'm drying them.
Canine massage is an excellent way to check it all out. From the top of their head to the end of their tail, check it out. Feel, feel it all. Open up their toes and have a feel and look. Nails okay? How about those ears? Look in there, and if you can't see get a flashlight and look. Ears are sensitive so you should get your dog use to you looking inside. If the only time you ever mess with ears is when they are infected; it is going to be very difficult to convince your dog that you are not going to hurt them. Infected ears HURT.
Check their butt, yep, under the tail. I don't know how many dogs I see walking around with a pile of s&*t on their backside. Lift up the tail and look. Elsa had a little incident this morning on our walk. She had a very small but mushy willnot (piece of poop that willnot come off). I grabbed a tissue out of my walking pack and wiped. Unfortunately it made matters look worse. That little sucker was not coming off without a fight so when we got home I got out the clippers and presto, all clean and shiny once again. I cannot tell you how many dog butts I have wiped over the years. :)
Check out their other private parts; are they clean? Look good? I like to keep all my dogs very clean in that area, it really cuts down on any bacteria issues. How about their mouth, ever look in there? If not, do so. All dogs have a little fold on each side of their bottom jaw that can get gross. If your dog has a flatter type face then it will be worse, more skin, more folds to clean. Make sure that the hair around the mouth is being clipped. Make sure if they get their face shaved that the hair around the lips is not turning inside and not getting clipped. Check their teeth. Open their mouth up nice and wide and have a look at the back teeth and throat.
If your dog likes a good belly rub then use that time to have a good look at armpits, chest and stomach. Check out the inside of all legs and throat area. Go over every inch. Know your dog well; so when there is a change, you will know. It's very important to know your dog inside and out.