Healthy Dog Tips
As a dog owner, you are not only your dog’s best friend but your dog relies on you to take care of him and keep him healthy to the best of your abilities.
What does it mean to keep your dog healthy? It is not just providing your dog with a balanced diet but also maintaining an active lifestyle, grooming him, and providing him with professional care as needed via regular check-ups with your veterinarian. Knowing your dog’s habits and maintaining a consistent routine are essential to maintaining your dog's health. This way if your dog is indeed feeling sick you can recognize it right away. If you feel as though you can’t handle something, it is important to ask for help as needed especially when it comes to your dog’s health.
How to Know if your Dog is Healthy?
If your dog’s skin is healthy then his skin should be both flexible and smooth to the touch. This means that there are no scabs nor abnormal growths or irritated spots on his body. If you do spot something abnormal talk to your veterinarian right away.
It is also important to routinely check for parasites, fleas, ticks, or lice especially if your dog spends lots of time outdoors. Checking for this can be made easy by blowing softly on their stomach or brushing their hair in a backward motion in several places to see if you spot any flying ticks hiding along their skin.
Your Dog’s Fur
A healthy dog’s fur can be spotted easily no matter if your dog has long or short hair. Healthy fur is both shiny and supple sans oiliness and dandruff flakes.
Your Dog’s Eyes
When your dog’s eyes are both vivid and shiny then you know they are healthy. Although some mucus and water tears are common they should not be an excessive occurrence. The lining along your dog’s eyelids should not be swollen and should remain without discharge. The white parts of your dog’s eyes should also remain white without a yellow tint to them. If they do indeed have a yellowish hue it could be a sign to get it checked.
When examining your dog’s ears they should be pink and fairly clean. This is not to say that there won’t be some level of was but if there is an excessive amount then that is considered out of the ordinary. If you spot forms of redness or swelling it is crucial that your dog refrains from excessively scratching his ears. Dogs that have longer years may need additional help to maintain good ear hygiene.
It is well known that a dog’s nose is constantly moist. Your dog’s nose will be either black or the same color as his fur depending on the type of dog he is. Your dog’s discharge should always be clear and if it starts turning various colors that’s how you know it calls for some concern, especially if it begins to develop an odor. Determining if your dog is sick or not is best determined through taking his temperature rather than assessing how wet, dry, or warm his nose may be at any given time.
A dog’s average temperature is between 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit or 38.3 to 39.2 degrees Celcius. A rectal thermometer is the best way to take a dog’s temperature.
Mouth & Gums
Your dog’s gums should be resistant and colored according to his skin and breed. The color of a dog’s teeth usually changes depending on his age. Older dogs tend to have darker teeth in comparison to younger dogs. How young they are will also factor into just how many baby teeth they still have.
In order to check your dog’s oral health keep him calm and then place your hand over his muzzle. Once you’ve done this you can lift the sides of his mouth more easily and examine his teeth more thoroughly and check for tartar. Be mindful of this because bad oral health in dogs can lead to more severe health complications.
Your Dog’s Heartbeat
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes therefore their heartbeats come in a variety of ranges. An average-sized, middle-aged dog has a heart rate of about 50 to 130 beats per minute while resting. In comparison puppies have faster heart rates and bigger dogs have slower heart rates. To check your dog’s heartbeat you must put your fingers over your dog’s left side placing them gently on their chest, this is where you can feel their heartbeat the strongest. If you need to check your dog’s pulse, then you would instead place your fingers on the top of their inner hind leg.
Your dog’s lifestyle places a big factor into his health therefore maintaining a consistent and healthy diet and exercise routine is key in keeping your dog’s health at its prime. These elements are crucial in preventing health complications and obesity. This paired with regular vaccinations from your veterinarian can keep your dog from contracting serious diseases such as kennel cough. It is recommended to consult your veterinarian when the best time to get these vaccinations are.
All this being said, there is only so much you can do on your own. It is essential that you as for professional help from your veterinarian when you encounter more serious abnormal health symptoms. Here are some of the following symptoms of when you need to get your veterinarian involved.
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Runny nose and eyes
- Excessive scratching
- Thick forms of discharge
- Extensive coughing or difficulty breathing
The best advice for you to stay on top of your dog’s health is ultimately to maintain a balanced routine and keep a positive relationship with your veterinarian, they are sure to also have some great tips for you and your dog.