A healthy dog is eager to spend time with you, greeting you at the door, coming to you for playtime, watching and observing with interest.
They’re also a social lubricant, helping you meet new people and stay connected to old friends. The companionship of a pet can help you manage stress, reduce anxiety, and build self-confidence.
A healthy dog needs to be at a balanced weight for their breed, gender and age. A healthy weight helps minimize the risk of a wide range of diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and some types of skin and cancer.
To check your pet’s weight, gently run your hand down their body from their rib cage to their hips. If you can feel their ribs but not see them, they are at a healthy weight.
The color, shape, and moisture content of your dog’s eyes can tell you a lot about their health. The color and moisture of your dog’s eyes can also help you detect eye injury or disease.
Healthy dogs’ eyes should be clear and bright. They should have the same size pupils; there should be no tearing or discharge; and the white area around the eyes should be white, not discolored.
Some dogs are more prone to certain eye problems than others. Brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds, such as Pugs and Boston Terriers, often have tear drainage issues; entropion eyelids, which roll inward; and cherry eye, an abnormality of the third eyelid that causes a ball of pink tissue to appear on the top of the eyelid.
Your dog’s ears are an important part of their overall health. They are vital for hearing and help keep your dog’s balance, so it’s essential to care for them properly.
Ears are a natural feature of your dog’s anatomy and come in all different shapes and sizes. Some dogs have ears that fold over, which are called drop ears (see below-left).
They are more prone to ear infections than dogs with prick ears, which are upright at the base and fold backwards.
Like humans, your dog’s skin and coat play a critical role in their health. They help maintain hydration, regulate body temperature and protect your dog from external contaminants.
The skin and coat also serve as a storage area for essential nutrients such as protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. The diet of your dog should contain the right amount of these nutrients for optimal skin and coat health.
A dog’s coat plays a big role in their overall health. It helps protect them from the elements, regulates their body temperature and helps them retain water.
A healthy dog will have a soft, shiny coat that is free of dandruff and greasiness.
A dull, rough, brittle, or shedding coat is an indication that your dog is not getting adequate nutrition to support their skin and coat needs.
The health of your dog’s bowel is essential to good health. In fact, many digestive problems in dogs can be detected by examining their stools.
Healthy poop should be light to dark brown in color and have a firm consistency. It should also be formed and segmented when passed.
Urine is a fluid that contains waste products produced by the body. It is produced in the kidneys and filtered through the ureters to be stored in the bladder.
Veterinarians use urine samples to diagnose diseases of the urinary tract and to monitor your dog’s overall health. Your pet’s urine can be tested for a number of things, including pH levels and protein concentration.
Every dog is different, but healthy adults and puppies should be able to produce about 20-40 ml of urine per pound of body weight daily. Some senior, sick and/or on medication (cortisone or drainage) dogs will require to pee more often than this.
A dog’s normal urine is pale yellow to light amber in color and is clear to slightly cloudy. Urine that is dark yellow may indicate that your pet is dehydrated or drinking too much water.