Most first-time dog parents tend to overthink every little oddity their pup displays. Although being alert of your pet’s weird behaviour is okay, you should know precisely what actions you need to worry about.
Do you ever think and wonder if your pup is truly fine? As a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to care for your canine pal’s mental and physical wellbeing. Here are 7 signs that will help you determine whether your pet is healthy.
1. Active demeanor
A healthy pup will get excited to spend time with the family. He will greet you at the door each time you come home and observe you with interest. If your canine pal suddenly spends time alone, is inactive or sleeping more, he may be suffering from a severe health condition.
Changes in a dog’s behaviour are one of the major reasons pet owners can discover something is wrong with their animal friend. Always pay attention to any changes you notice from your pet and schedule an appointment with your vet for consultation.
2. Bright eyes
Having bright, clean eyes and relaxed lids are signs that your pup is doing well. Make sure to report any occurrence of eye cloudiness, redness, or swelling to your vet. Meanwhile, if you notice prolonged wide eyes where you can see the whites, that is a sign that your pet is afraid or anxious.
3. Clean ears
Another indication of good health in a dog is clean ears. There should be no waxy buildup, as well as no discharge and pungent smell. A healthy pup should have clean ears free from discharge, odour, and redness.
Keep in mind that it’s normal for your pet’s ears to get dirty, which is why you should do routine cleaning. Don’t ignore dirty ears as this may lead to ear infections which are a major source of irritation for most pets.
Clean ears help maintain your dog’s normal body temperature by radiating the heat out. If you can’t tell whether your pup is suffering from an ear infection, check for smelly ears which stink like yeast. Other common symptoms besides the pungent smell are pawing at the ears and side-to-side shaking of the head.
4. Fresh breath
Your dog’s mouth is the gateway to good health. A pup with relatively clean-smelling breath as well as clean teeth without tartar buildup are signs of excellent physical condition. Make sure that your pet’s mouth and lips are also free from sores or growths.
Gingivitis or any other gum disease can later affect vital organs and lead to serious health conditions. For instance, periodontitis is a disease concerning the supporting structures of the teeth and the primary cause of tooth loss in most pets. This is due to food buildup, plaque, and tartar in spaces between the gums and lower part of your dog’s tooth.
Be wary of the rotten smell coming from your dog’s mouth as this can mean tooth decay. Follow routine dental care to improve your dog’s overall health.
5. Shiny coat
A healthy dog will have a shiny, clean coat because of natural oils and shedding. Unless your pet gets dirty, it isn’t necessary to bathe your pup all the time. Routine bathing can lead to skin irritations, usually if your dog’s specific breed doesn’t require regular grooming.
A dog who’s frequently chewing, licking or scratching could be a sign of skin allergies or the presence of fleas. To address coat problems, schedule a vet checkup.
6. Lean weight
Obesity is a common health concern for veterinarians. Just like humans, excessive weight in dogs can cause problems like diabetes, heart, joint, and lung diseases. If you notice your dog suddenly dropped or gained several pounds, schedule a vet visit for a checkup as this can be a sign of a health issue.
As much as possible, help your dog maintain a consistent lean weight. In normal circumstances, you should see your dog’s waist tuck in toward the hips without his ribcage showing. Practice portion control when giving food to your dog. Also, discuss an ideal meal plan with your vet to maintain a healthy weight for your pup.
7. Consistent bladder and bowel movements
If your pup has consistent urine and stool, then he’s probably a healthy dog. If you notice any changes, this may be due to switching a regular diet, allergies, stress, or bacterial infection. This is why it’s crucial to report to your vet immediately if you see changes to your dog’s bowel movements.
A dog with a healthy bowel movement will be absent of:
- Bloody or a black tarry appearance
- Chalky white discolouration
- Greasy coating
- Worms or eggs
The colour of your pup’s urine is equally important. If your dog’s pee is the colour of amber, pale gold, clear or transparent yellow, it’s an indication of good health. Dark or bright yellow coloured urine can be a sign of dehydration. Orange, on the other hand, is typically associated with the following:
- Damaged blood cells
- Gallbladder problems
- Liver disease
- Jaundice or icterus
- Pancreatic problems
- Severe dehydration
For red, pinkish or cloudy urine, it can be a sign of clotting diseases, cystitis, or urinary tract infection. It’s for your pet’s best interest that you visit your vet for further testing.
What’s normal and what’s not?
Even if you now have an idea of what a healthy pup should look like, recognize what’s normal for your pet while still keeping the big picture in mind. Make yourself familiar with your pup’s behaviour like how far he walks or how sweet or grumpy he is. Every dog has a unique personality, so if you know your canine pal like the back of your hand, it’d be easier for you to spot changes that indicate serious health issues.
Remember, if you’re still unsure, it’s worth seeing your vet. Not all dog health problems are visible physically and may need a thorough checkup. It’s okay to pause every once in a while to ask yourself whether your dog is truly happy and healthy. Don’t hesitate to seek an expert’s advice if you feel that something is wrong with your pet.