Story and Photo by Alison Martin, Animal Soul Connection
The Wellness Assessment is a systematic and deliberate method for evaluating and determining the current state of your pet’s overall health. This can also be a bonding experience for you and your pet as you can think of this as intentional petting. There is no part of your pet that you should not be able to touch. Additionally, having a pet that is comfortable being touched will assure a better experience with a groomer or veterinarian.
If you know what is ‘normal’ for your pet, then you’ll be able to quickly recognize what is ‘not normal’ for your pet. Early detection means early intervention.
This process can take a few minutes or as long as it takes you to complete all of the steps. You should assess your pet from Nose-To-Tail at least once a week. It should be done the same way each time, with deliberate intent and purpose. You will be looking for any irregularities of the skin or haircoat, bumps, lumps, swelling, rashes, secretions or any changes in your pet from the last assessment.
To begin, find a quiet place free of distractions. Your pet can be in a sitting position with you by its side. Follow the prompts in the diagram and make notes on any changes. You may find it handy to have a Wellness Assessment notebook just for this purpose of recording your observations.
This time together with your pet is special as you use your hands to gently examine your pet’s body. After you have completed the Wellness Assessment, spend a few moments in quiet reflection together, feeling the gratitude and the love you have for your special friend.