Generally speaking, a healthy dog is a happy dog. That said a healthy dog has a happy owner. In this case a healthy canine has a happy handler and a happy police administrator. Typically you should only have to take your canine to the vet once a year for shots and a general exam. But there are many things that you should be doing during the year to keep your canine healthy and out of the vet’s office until the regular yearly visit, unless there is an injury.
Part of having a healthy canine is having a clean canine. Being a police canine, s/he is probably going to get dirtier than the average dog, so bathing will be more frequent. Going through various shrubs, and other obstacles, let alone rolling around in the dirt with the latest suspect can get a canine quite dirty. You may not really see it, but after a while you will know it by the bad odor. If you can, you should give your canine partner a bath before the odor comes to life. Bathing will not only remove whatever may cause a bad odor, but also will help remove anything else that your canine may have been exposed to. During the bath, make sure you rub the canine (not human) shampoo in well and feel the skin as you rub. Feel for any bumps or abrasions that weren’t the before. Bumps that you might find could be a tick, so when you feel any bumps take a closer look, investigate what that bump is. If you feel what maybe an abrasion, again investigate and determine what it is. Treat any abrasions with basic first-aid and if necessary call the vet for advice. If during your shift your canine has gone through a stagnant body of water, meaning non-moving, you should be giving s/he a bath later on in the day. This especially applies if you see green scum floating on the surface, or anything else out of the ordinary. You never know what kind of parasites or insects that your canine may have come into contact with. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Although you may be able to get away with only giving a bath every couple of weeks, you should be doing a thorough head-to-toe examination more frequently, like once a week. Once a week you should be checking the eyes, ears, mouth, feet, and anal area. I would recommend checking the feet at the end of every shift or anytime your canine has run through an area with glass or other objects that may cause injury.
You need to check the eyes any type of matter in the corners of the eyes. If there is any, use a washcloth with warm water or saline solution to wipe the matter away. Eyes that are clear, not red and have no discharge except for tears are signs of a healthy canine. Discharge in the eyes can happen if the canine has allergies; yes canines can have allergies, but can be easily treated by the vet.
Ears should be checked weekly, generally in the course of grooming. The inside of the ear is the most important part to check; but you should also check the outside of the ear for any injuries. Check the inside of the ear for any dirt or dark colored foreign substance. You may find a dark greasy like substance, which is fairly common, but should be cleaned out. You can generally clean the ear yourself by using a damp cloth wrapped around a fingertip and gently wiping the dirt and grime away. You should never try and poke into the ear canal. Small crevices in the outer ear can be cleaned with a cotton swab. Sometimes the greasy substance will be difficult to remove or will be down in the ear canal. In those cases, you should consult with your vet. There are ear cleaning solutions that can be prescribed to help clean the ear. Excessive build-up of dirt and grime will eventually interfere with hearing, so keep an eye on those ears.