Grain-free diets were based on clever marketing and not nutrition science. Dogs have been fed foods containing grains safely for decades. Canine food allergies are almost exclusively caused by animal protein and are rarely grain-related. Hills Science Diet and Royal Canin make a wide range of foods to suit the needs of most dogs. I strongly recommend you look into transitioning away from a grain-free food to a product made by one of these companies. Transitioning your dog’s diet should be done gradually over 7-10 days.
Annual physical examination is one of the best ways to keep your pet healthy. It is important to know what is normal for your pet. If something deviates from normal finding out why could help prevent disease or allow early diagnosis. Dr. Wright performs a nose to tail examination of your pet and makes detailed notes in the medical record so baselines are established.
Oral health is very important and a healthy mouth will extend your pets life. Periodontal disease is the most common disease diagnosed in pets over three years of age. The chronic inflammation and infection associated with periodontal disease takes a toll on the body and can lead to heart, liver and kidney disease. Regular home care with frequent brushing along with regular professional cleanings is the only way to prevent periodontal disease. Once periodontal disease is present it cannot be stopped unless teeth are extracted. Dr. Wright recommends all pets have a professional dental cleaning with full mouth x-rays by age three. As long as pets are healthy enough for anesthesia, annual cleaning and evaluation will help ensure the periodontal disease is kept in check.
Annual blood screening will help to establish a metabolic baseline for your pet and allow for early detection of disease. Early detection of disease and prompt treatment allows for better outcomes. Once a disease has progressed to the later stages it is harder to manage.