The aim of a health check is to catch any problems early, giving your vet time to treat them before they become severe.

A routine wellness screening, for example, will involve a complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile, and urinalysis among other tests.

As part of the exam, your vet may also take a sample of your dog’s feces so they can examine it for parasites.

Body condition

During a dog health check, your veterinarian will examine your pet’s body condition. They will listen to their chest with a stethoscope (auscultation), palpate their pulse in their legs, and feel specific areas of their body.

Your veterinarian will also look for signs of injury or illness. These are often overlooked, and early detection is key to saving your pet’s life.

A good way to assess your dog’s body condition is to have them stand and run your hands gently down the sides of their chest. If you see individual ribs, or they don’t appear to be a normal thickness, that could be an indication of something wrong.


The eyes are the window to the world, so it’s important they are in tip-top condition. A regular checkup will help you pick up on any problems your dog might have as early as possible.

Eyes are made up of a lens, which focuses light onto the retina. The retina, which is part of the brain, sends signals to the optic nerve that carries them to the rest of your body. The retina contains photosensitive cells (cones) that allow you to see different colours.


The nose is an important part of your body’s defence against intruders, such as dirt, particles and allergens. The inside of your nose is surrounded by hair and cilia (tiny hair-like structures), which snare intruders before they get to the other parts of your body.

The external surface of the nose is normally pinkish red in colour and has no discharge/bleeding or swelling. Inspect the nose for any lesions, foreign bodies and malformations such as masses, polyps or deviated septum.

A nasoendoscopy is an examination using a thin rigid or flexible tube with a camera at the end to view the inside of the nose and sinuses. This is typically performed in an outpatient clinic as part of a health check.


During a dental health check, we will examine your pet’s teeth and gums. This will identify any issues that could lead to dental disease, such as gingivitis, periodontitis and tartar build-up.

It’s a good idea to take your pets to the vet for a regular dental check every six months. Just like their owners, our pets form plaque on their teeth which can harden into tartar if not removed by a professional cleaning.

It’s also important to look out for the red flags of a dental problem – such as bad breath, mouth pain and swelling around the gums. These are all indications that a dental issue may be present, so if you see any of them talk to your vet straight away!


Your dog’s feet are an integral part of their overall health and wellbeing. Their feet need to be checked regularly for anything that may affect their ability to walk and move around comfortably.

A good way to start is by gently running your hands down each leg, starting with the front ones. This helps your dog to get used to having you touch their paws and it can also help you see any areas of concern such as foot mats or cracked pads.


A dog’s coat plays a big role in their appearance, but it’s also a key indicator of health. A healthy coat doesn’t look oily, greasy, dry or balding.

It should be soft and supple to the touch (even on wire-haired breeds) and have a shine or lustre to it.

A lackluster coat could be an indication of poor nutrition, hormone issues (thyroid and elevated cortisol), secondary infections or a genetic problem. In severe cases, it could imply allergies or skin mites.