There is conflicting information surrounding the history of dogs and when they were first domesticated. Regardless, it’s safe to say that dogs have been around as pets for thousands of years.
They don’t call them man’s best friend for no reason. Dogs are amazing creatures, and even though they can’t talk, they can communicate.
A healthy dog is a happy dog. But if your dog is unhealthy, she may not be able to tell you outright. However, she will give you signs to indicate there is an issue. While there are individual dogs like Bulldogs and German Shepherds who are more prone to health issues, you can still have one who is healthy.
All you have to do is treat them right and pay attention to the signs. But what are they?
Keep reading to uncover 7 signs to look for when you’re wondering if you have a healthy dog.
1. Watch What They Eat
A dog changing their eating habits can be one of the first signs that something is wrong. Monitor your dog’s eating habits. If he doesn’t eat for more than 24 hours, it’s time to call the vet, especially if he’s usually a big eater.
Of course, this can happen sometimes if you change dog food. If you’ve recently switched, try going back to the old one and see if he returns to his prior habits. If not, call the vet.
2. Check for Clean and Odor-Free Ears
Healthy dog ears are odor-free, have no waxy buildup, no discharge, and no pungent smell. Dog ears get dirty regularly, so the need for routine cleaning is to be expected.
But ignoring dirty ears can lead to infections, which are one of the leading causes for having to visit the vet. Believe it or not, clean ears also help regulate body temperature and keep the heat out. So if it’s during those hot summer months, pay extra close attention to your pup’s ears.
If you smell something funky or smell a yeast smell, it’s time to call the vet. If you see you dog scratching at her ear or shaking her head from side to side, you can be almost sure that there is an issue.
If you need tips on keeping your pet clean, read this article for all things pertaining to keeping your dog squeaky clean.
3. Are They Alert and Engaged?
Just like humans, dogs will sulk or become muted when they aren’t feeling well. If you’re used to your beloved canine greeting you at the door every time you come home and suddenly he stops, he may be in pain.
If he seems disengaged or starts spending a lot more time alone or sleeping, it may be time for a visit to the doc.
4. Is Your Dog Lean and in Shape?
Excessive weight gain in dogs can cause many of the same issues that we see in humans. Obesity in dogs can lead to heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, joint and bone diseases, various skin conditions, and many different types of cancer.
On the other hand, if your dog has dropped weight suddenly, this can also be a sign of a serious issue.
Veterinarian visits can be pricy. So when you’re there take full advantage and discuss everything under the sun. Make sure that your pet is getting the nutrients she needs and that you aren’t overindulging her with treats.
5. Watch Their Walk
When you go for a walk, watch the way your canine moves when she walks and runs. If she seems stiff or has a limp, she might have an injury that requires medical attention.
If you notice your dog is coughing or panting excessively, there might be an issue, especially if it’s a recent occurrence. You know your dog better than anyone. So if she’s exhibiting any other-than-normal behavior, keep an eye on it, and call your vet if need be.
6. Check Their Skin and Body
This is more of a proactive measure, but every dog owner should be doing it once a week, or at least twice a month.
While you are grooming or when you have the time, do a full body check of your dog. Gently rub your hands over every part of the body to check for any lumps, abrasions in the skin, or inflammation.
Don’t just pay attention to what you feel but to their reaction as well. If your pup winces or twitches out of pain when you go over a specific area, it may be time to take her in for a check-up.
7. Check Their Eyes, Nose, and Teeth
You can check for signs of good health by looking at a dog’s eyes and teeth. Their eyes should be clear, and the pupils should be the same size. If they seem irritated, check for ingrown lashes or any hair that may be an issue.
If there is any discharge or signs of irritation, call your vet.
Their nose should be clean, moist, cool, and clear of any discharge. Gums in their mouth should be pink, so if you notice any darker patches, it may be indicative of an issue.
Make sure that the teeth are clean and not loose. And if your pup’s breath stinks like something out of the ordinary, take him in for a check-up.
A Healthy Dog Is a Happy Dog
Even though dogs can’t talk, they sure can communicate. So if your pup is feeling low or sick, the chances are that she’ll be showing you the signs.
Take the time to keep your dog clean and groomed regularly. And check for potential lumps and cuts. You know your dog better than anyone, so if anything is out of the ordinary, you should be able to pick up on it quickly.
And if you do notice something wrong, don’t panic. Perform a healthy dog check in all the ways that we mentioned and if you can’t pinpoint a cause that you can tackle, then call your vet.
For more info on how to care for your best friend, check out these signs for when it’s time to take your pup to the vet.