Dog health tips
Your dog will rely on you to keep him in good health. A proper diet,
regular exercise and grooming, and routine check-ups at the veterinarian will help keep your dog in top form.
It's also important for you to get to know your dog's habits - eating,
drinking, sleeping, and so forth - since sometimes a variation in those
habits can be an indication that he isn't feeling well.
A good pet care plan can help with the cost of providing quality
healthcare throughout your dog's life. As vet bills for dog health care
in later years can be very expensive.
If you dog does become ill then it is important to
give him the best medication.
Health tips and symptoms
Healthy skin is flexible and smooth, without scabs, growths, white flakes, or red areas. It ranges in color from pale pink to brown or black
depending on the breed. Spotted skin is normal, whether the dog has a
spotted or solid coat.
Check your dog for fleas, ticks, lice, or other
external parasites. To do this, blow gently on your dog's stomach or
brush hair backward in a few places to see if any small specks scurry
away or if ticks are clinging to the skin. Black "dirt" on your dog's
skin or bedding may be a sign of flea droppings.
A healthy coat, whether short or long, is glossy and pliable, without
dandruff, bald spots, or excessive oiliness.
Bright and shiny eyes are an excellent sign of good dog health. Mucus
and watery tears are normal but should be minimal and clear. The pink
lining of the eyelids should not be inflamed, swollen, or have a yellow
The whites of your dog's eyes should not be yellowish. Eyelashes should not rub the eyeball.
The skin inside your dog's ears should be light pink and clean. There should be some yellow or brownish wax, but a
large amount of wax or crust is abnormal. Poor dog health is shown
by redness or swelling inside the ear. Your dog shouldn't scratch
his ears or shake his head frequently. Dogs with long, hairy ears, need extra
Most people assume that a shinny wet nose is a sign. A dog's nose is usually cool and moist. It can be black, pink,
or self-colored (the same color as the coat), depending on the breed.
Nasal discharge should be clear, never yellowish, thick, bubbly, or foul smelling. A cool, wet nose does not necessarily mean good dog
health, and a dry, warm nose doesn't necessarily mean he's sick.
Mouth, Teeth and Gums
Healthy gums are important for dog health. They should be firm and pink, black, or spotted, just like the dog's skin. Young dogs have
smooth white teeth that tend to darken with age. Puppies have 23 baby
teeth and adults have around 42 permanent teeth, depending on the breed. As adult teeth come in, they push baby teeth out of the mouth.
To check your dog's mouth, talk to him gently, then put your hand
over the muzzle and lift up the sides of his mouth. Check that adult
teeth are coming in as they should, and not being crowded by baby teeth. Make sure the gums are healthy and the breath is not foul-smelling. Look for soft white matter or hard white, yellow, or brown
matter. This is plaque or tartar and should be brushed away to keep
your dog in good health.
Mouth infections can lead to serious problems in the gums
and lead to poor dog health in other parts of the body, including the heart, so it's important to give your
dog's teeth and mouth special attention.
A dog's normal temperature is 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 to 39.2 degrees
Celsius). Taking a dog's temperature will tell you a lot about
your dog's health.
To take your dog's temperature, you'll need a rectal thermometer. Put some petroleum jelly on the bulb of the
thermometer. Ask someone to hold your dog's head while you lift his tail and insert the thermometer about an inch or so into the rectum. Do
not let go of the thermometer. Hold it in until the temperature is read
(about 3 minutes for a mercury thermometer), and then remove gently.
Heartbeat and Pulse
Because dogs come in a wide range of sizes, their heartbeats vary.
The heart beat of an animal in good dog health will be from 50 to 130 times a minute
when resting. Puppies and small dogs have faster speeds, and large dogs in top
condition have slower heartbeats.
To check your dog's heartbeat, place your fingers over the left side of
the chest, where you can feel the strongest beat.
To check the pulse, which is the same speed as the heartbeat, press
gently on the inside of the top of the hind leg. There is an artery there
and the skin is thin, so it's easy to feel the pulse.
Wee & poo!
Urine is a great indicator of a good health, and should be clear
yellow. Most adult dogs have one or two bowel movements a day. Stools should be brown and firm.
You can also check for worms. Runny, watery, or bloody stools,
straining, or too much or too little urination warrant a call to the vet.
A healthy dog's weight is the result of the balance between diet and
exercise. If he is getting enough nutritious food and exercise but still
seems over- or underweight, he may have a health problem.
Don't let your dog get fat by giving him too many between-meal
snacks; obese dogs often develop serious health problems. The best way to tell if your dog is overweight is to feel his rib-cage area. You
should be able to feel the ribs below the surface of the skin without
If you let your dog get over weight or feed him the
wrong thing then he will certainly suffer from poor dog health at
See also: [Pet Medicine]
[Pet Insurance] [Dog Illnesses]
[Flea Control] [Worms]