According to recent studies, almost 69 million American households own at least one dog. All that unconditional love and affection is well worth the messiness, barking, and slobbery kisses.
But especially if you have a smaller or older dog, it’s important to know if your dog is healthy. After all, your pup is an important part of the family, and it’s essential for him to live a long and happy life.
How do you know if your dog is in good health or not? This guide has all the must-know signs of a healthy dog for dog owners.
Healthy eyes in dogs will be vibrant and display a focused gaze. It is normal for a dog to have some redness in the corners of their eyes, but too much reddening or discharge can be a sign of illness.
Dogs’ eyes should not have any open wounds, as this can be a sign of infection. They should have clear whites and pupils that are not too large or small.
Additionally, it’s important that the eyes be symmetrical and the eyelids fit snugly around the eyeball. If you notice any of these concerns, it’s important to take your dog to the vet for a checkup.
Oder-free ears can give a key indication that your pup’s health is in check. If the ears are clean and have no wax or gunk buildup, then your dog is likely in good health.
Foul odors, tenderness, and redness around the ears are all signs that something is amiss. When this happens, your pup should receive a thorough checkup from the vet.
Keep an eye out for signs of infection and inflammation, too. This could mean your pup has an underlying issue that should be addressed soon. Regularly monitoring your dog’s ears can help ensure your pup will stay happy and healthy for years to come.
No Nasal Discharge
Without nasal discharge, it indicates that there is no infection or allergy that is affecting your dog’s nasal passages. You can tell if your dog is healthy if the nostrils are not congested and the nasal area is fairly dry.
Regularly check your dog’s nostrils. They should be clean and clear, with no runny or thick discharge. However, if you notice that your dog’s nostrils are wet and have a discharge, this may indicate a potential infection or allergy and should be checked by a veterinarian.
Healthy dogs should have breath that doesn’t smell overly offensive. It is normal for their breath to be a little smelly or beastly at times, but chronic bad breath can be a sign of dental or digestive issues.
If you notice any changes in your dog’s breath, it is important to check in with your vet. Regular brushing and dental chews can help keep your dog’s teeth healthy and breath fresh. Check if your dog’s gums are moist and pinkish, and there should be no tongue discoloration.
A glossy coat is a sign that your dog’s health is in good condition. It should be shiny, smooth, and well-hydrated. Your pet’s fur should be clean and full, not dull or patchy.
Also, check for excessive shedding, dandruff, or tangles. Look for signs of skin color changes, open wounds, rashes, lumps, or scabs. If your dog has parasites such as fleas and ticks, they should be treated.
If you want to know if your dog is at a healthy weight, feel your dog’s ribs. They shouldn’t be visible, but you should be able to feel them.
If you can feel the ribs easily, then your dog is probably underweight. If you can’t feel the ribs at all, then your dog is likely overweight.
Check your dog’s waistline as well. It should be slightly tucked up. If your dog’s waist is thicker than its rib cage, that is another sign of obesity.
An easy way to check for normal weight is the body condition score, which is based on both weight and body shape. Pay attention to any drastic changes in your dog’s weight, as that could signal health issues.
Limping is a sign of an injury or underlying health problems, so if your dog is not limping, it is a good sign that he is healthy. A healthy dog should be able to walk normally without any pain on both the hind and front legs.
Also, check the nails, and your dog should be able to walk without his nails touching the ground. If the nails are too long, this can cause the dog to limp.
Energetic and Alert
If your dog may seem more lethargic than usual and less interested in playing, that can be a sign your dog is sick. He may not be as eager to explore the backyard or do his usual dog habits. It’s important to keep an eye out for any changes in both behavior and physical appearance.
If your dog is energetic and alert, his posture should be erect, and he should demonstrate an overall good condition. He should greet you happily with a wagging tail every time you come home.
If your pup isn’t eating like they normally do, deficiencies or illness may be at play. In a happy dog, their appetite should be good!
Notice if your pup is excited when it’s dinner time and whether they’re finishing their food. If they’re turning down meals or are slow to start eating, this is a sign that something could be wrong.
Appetite can be linked to a range of underlying illnesses, so be sure to take them to the vet if there is any irregular appetite. Talk to your vet about your concerns and get their opinion on the best course of action. Don’t forget to provide your pup with plenty of fresh, healthy food and clean bowls for them to enjoy mealtime!
Generally, a bright yellow color is an indication of a healthy and hydrated dog. A darker shade or cloudy tinge may mean they lack important fluids. This could also be a sign that your pup has an infection, is dehydrated, has poor kidney functioning, or is suffering from liver problems.
Check periodically to make sure the color has not changed. If your dog is still potty training, indoor grass for dogs can help you see their urine. If you notice any peculiarity in the color of your pup’s urine, it’s best to get them to the vet right away to make sure they stay as healthy and strong as possible.
Regular Bowel Movements
Healthy dogs should have regular bowel movements 1 to 2 times per day. They should be firm, moist, and well-formed.
If they are loose, watery, or unusually hard, your dog may be unwell. If the consistency or frequency of their bowel movements changes drastically or they suffer from constipation, it’s likely that they need veterinary attention.
Watch out for undigested food in their stools, symptoms of pain or discomfort when trying to eliminate, or signs of blood. Make sure to keep them hydrated, as dehydration can lead to constipation and other digestive issues. In extreme cases, it can even lead to fatal heart failure.
Balanced Diet and Exercise
Exercising with your dog is an important part of keeping them healthy and strong. Start with basic walks that are short and keep increasing length and speed. This will help ensure muscles stay toned and bones remain strong.
If you are able to, running with your dog or other more active exercises, such as swimming, can be beneficial. When it comes to diet, the best dog food will be one that is specifically formulated for their size and age. Avoid any food with high amounts of artificial dyes and preservatives. If they start to lose or gain too much weight, then it’s time to review their diet.
Your dog is at its healthiest when it is up-to-date on all of its vaccinations. Check the vaccination schedule that came with the paperwork from the vet when your pet was first seen. It will tell you which immunizations are necessary and how frequently they need to be updated.
If you can’t find this document, contact the vet for a look-up of your pet’s most recent vaccinations. Your dog should be taken to the vet annually for a checkup and to be sure that all vaccinations are complete and current.
Not keeping your pet’s immunizations up-to-date can put it at risk of serious diseases and illnesses. Make sure to keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date, and it will lead to a healthier and happier dog.
Know the Signs of a Healthy Dog
Overall, paying attention to appearance and dog behavior is the best way to tell if they are healthy. Take the time to regularly monitor your dog’s weight and coat, as well as provide medical care when needed.
If you are ever concerned about your pet’s health, don’t hesitate to talk to your veterinary professional. Keeping these important tips in mind, you and your pet can have a happy and healthy life together.
If you enjoyed this article on the signs of a healthy dog, and are interested in learning more about pets, check out some of the other great articles on this site!