While it’s true that wild canids take care of their hygiene needs without human assistance, they don’t live in our homes. Sure, a wolf can swim in a stream and roll in the dirt to care for his coat. But that won’t control doggy odors. When your floor is the ground, muddy paws don’t need to be clean. However, carpeting or tile is a different story.
The fact is that pet owners have different expectations for cleanliness than their four-footed friends. So, it falls to us to brush teeth, give baths, and take care of other details to ensure our dogs meet our hygiene requirements for the home. And in this pandemic, it’s even more important.
We hear constant reminders to wash or sanitize our hands, wear clean facemasks, and sanitize various surfaces. What about our canine family members? Although there’s currently no evidence that dogs pass COVID-19 to people, some pups have become infected from their masters. That’s why during the coronavirus pandemic, proper pooch hygiene is even more important.
How to Practice Proper Pet Hygiene?
Proper hygiene for your pooch goes beyond controlling dirt and odors. It can also protect both your and Fido’s health. Let’s look at some things you can do to properly care for your special pal.
Perform Regular Tick Checks
If you have an outdoor dog or live in an area that’s known for ticks, you need to frequently check your dog for the parasites. These little critters can carry a range of harmful diseaseslike Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted fever. These tick-borne illnesses can cause your pal significant pain and discomfort, and they may also impact Fido’s immune response to other infections. That’s why you must find and remove the arachnids before they can attach to the skin. There are several shampoos that can kill ticks on your pet.
In addition to checking your furbaby after romps in tall grass or through the woods, we advise that you use a preventative treatment like Advantix on your pooch. Topical products like these are designed to kill the ticks on contact. Many also kill or repel other disease-carrying parasites like fleas and mosquitoes. By using an effective treatment, you can prevent debilitating diseases that put you and your pup at higher risk for coronavirus infection.
Wipe the Inside of Your Pup’s Ears Weekly
Another important part of your pet hygiene routine should be weekly examination and cleaning of your dog’s ears. By checking the pinna, you can avoid dust and dirt buildup and remove any parasites like ticks or mites. Clean ears help minimize the risk of bacterial infections and allergic reactions. These conditions place a burden on Fido’s immune system and can put him at higher risk for contracting COVID.
Before you call Fido over to clean his ears, get your supplies ready. You’ll want a dog-safe ear cleaning solution that your veterinarian recommends and some cotton balls. Avoid using Q-tips as they can damage the ear. Lift the ear flap with one hand so you can see the inside of the ear. Squeeze some solution into the canal and gently massage to loosen wax and debris. Use the cotton balls to absorb the liquid and wipe the ear. Continue the process until the cotton balls come out clean. If your pal has a condition that requires medication, wait about ½ hour before applying the ointment.
Practice Oral Hygiene
When I was growing up, nobody talked about the value of brushing a dog’s teeth, but this practice is every bit as important for your furbaby’s oral health as it is for you. That fact is that many dogs will have signs of gum disease by their third birthday. And that opens the door to abscesses, infections, and tooth loss. Dental disease can release bacteria and toxins into your pal’s system and cause adverse effects in the liver, heart, and kidneys. And that leaves your four-footed friend more vulnerable to coronavirus infection. Fortunately, regular brushing helps to remove plaque buildup and prevent oral disease.
Ideally, you should brush your pup’s teeth daily to remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup. You can start to train your pooch by rubbing his chompers with a soft cloth. Then, when your special pal is comfortable with the routine, graduate to a pet-safe toothbrush. Either way, make sure you use toothpaste that’s safe for dogs to swallow. Most human brands contain fluoride and/or xylitol, and these ingredients are toxic for canines. Besides, pet-friendly paste comes in flavors that dog’s love like liver and beef.
Boost His Immune System With Supplements
We already know that dogs can get COVID-19 from us if we’ve been infected. That’s why it’s important to do everything possible to strengthen our canine companion’s immune system. Just like us, diet and supplementation can help our four-footed friends’ bodies fight off disease. Two valuable supplements that you can give your pooch are turmeric and fish oil.
You’ve probably heard about some of the positive health effects of turmeric for humans. It’s also a safe and effective dietary supplement for dogs. Some benefits of this spice include:
- It helps reduce inflammation
- It may prevent growth and metastasis of cancer
- It has powerful antioxidant effects
- It has antimicrobial properties
- It appears to have protective effects on the heart
- It works as an antihistamine to suppress allergies
Another useful health supplement is fish oil. This long-chain fatty acid is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Giving your pooch supplements with fish oil helps to support healthy skin, hair, and heart. Like turmeric, it also has immune-boosting properties. And a stronger immune system is better prepared to fight off any coronavirus threats.
The Best Offense is a Good Defense
In the battle to keep you and your household safe from coronavirus infection, good hygiene should an important part of your preventative measures. Remember that this applies equally to your pooch. You can help keep all of your family members healthy with some common-sense defensive health practices.
What about you? How are you protecting your pooch from COVID-19? Let us know in the comments below.
Scarlett Gold is the head of content at FluentWoof. She is a Yorkie-Mixed mom and a true animal lover. Her primary focus is bringing readers the very best dog care resources and info to help owners better care for their canine companions.