You are your dog’s family, and it just makes sense that you want to know if your dog is happy with you, with the activities you do, and with their life in general. When you know you do your due diligence to help them attain a happy and healthy life– training, giving them nutritious food, keeping them clean– you want to see if it works, and if your dog is actually reaping the benefits.
Here we listed some common signs of a healthy dog. If you haven’t seen any of these signs on your dog, then it’s time to change or improve their life! We added a list of tips on how to make your dog healthy and happy to help you kickstart your “happy dog” agenda.
Signs of a healthy dog
They have bright, clear eyes
A healthy dog has clear, bright eyes. The white area around your dog's eye should be white. Healthy eyes don’t have excessive tears, any discharge, or crust in the corners. The pupils should be the same size. Take your dog to the doctor if you see cloudiness, yellowish whites, uneven pupil size, a visible third eyelid, or any growths on the lids.
Your dog's eyes and eyelids will be open and relaxed, their gaze is gentle, and they will blink frequently when they are happy. Wide eyes, especially if the whites are showing, may suggest fear in your dog. Narrowed eyes and a sharp look might indicate aggression.
They have fresh breath
Well, not fresh like ours, but not stinky either. Healthy teeth without tartar buildup and relatively fresh breath are signs of good health. A bad smell coming from your dog's mouth might be a sign of tooth decay or, worse, periodontal disease (gum disease) or an aggressive type of cancer called oral melanoma.
Their coat is clean and shiny
Due to shedding and natural oils, healthy dogs often have a shiny, clean coat. Unless they get dirty, your dog doesn't need to be bathed regularly. Regular bathing is not necessary and might cause skin irritation in pets with fur, but the case is different to some breeds with hair that require maintenance.
They have clean odourless ears
Dogs with clean ears—those without waxy buildup, discharge, or an unpleasant or musky odour—are in good health. Dogs' ears often become dirty, thus regular cleaning is advised. Pet ear infections may happen when you ignore dirty ears. By venting heat out, clean ears also help in maintaining their normal body temperature.
Your dog has an ear infection if his ears smell, which can sometimes smell like yeast. Schedule a visit from your veterinarian if you think your dog may have an ear infection.
They have the ideal weight
Veterinarians are particularly concerned about pet obesity because it can lead to the same health issues in dogs as it does in people, including diabetes, heart and lung disease, bone and joint disease, skin conditions, and various cancers.
Your dog should keep an even, lean weight that hardly changes. Your dog's hips should be visible without the ribs protruding, and its waist should curve inward toward them (this can vary based on breed).
When it comes to meals and snacks, pets need to eat in moderation. With the advice of your veterinarian, determine the best diet for your dog.
They move well
If your dog is healthy, you can also see that they carry their body well. They’re bouncy when excited or playing with you. Their gait is normal– their walk, amble, pace, trot, lope, and gallop are balanced with their body weight. They can get up and sit down without any discomfort or pain.
Give your dog the opportunity to explore diverse terrain, such as grass or tree roots, if possible. This way they get to exercise small muscles that are often underused. Their mind will also benefit from using their body in a precise and intentional manner.
They have normal bowel and urinary movement
Healthy bowel movements should have no blood, mucus, worms, eggs, a chalky white tint, a black, tarry appearance, a greasy coating, or diarrhoea.
If you notice a change, it might be the result of stress, a change in food, allergies, parasites, bacterial or viral infections, ingesting a toxin, pancreatitis, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, or a blockage.
The colour of your dog's urine is important; if it is transparent yellow (straw yellow, pale gold, amber, or clear yellow), it indicates that your pet is in good health. It should be clear without mucus, debris, or blood.
They are eager to play with high energy
A happy dog welcomes you at the door, rushes to you for fun, and watches and listens with interest. A healthy dog is eager to spend time with family.
Your dog may be experiencing a health problem if they suddenly start spending more time alone, acting disinterested, or sleeping more. One of the most common signs that anything is wrong with your dog is a change in behaviour. Be attentive to any changes.
They are socially confident
Every dog seems to have a unique preference for company, just like people do. Yet if your dog is friendly with other family dogs, sociable at the dog park, and not overly aggressive with new animals, these are all signs that they're in a good mood.
Tips on how to keep your dog healthy and happy
The key to your dog's happiness and good behaviour is to let them interact with different people, animals, and environments.
Dogs, unlike other pets, are extremely sociable creatures who like being around other people and travelling. Your dog can experience the feel of sharing their territory by going to the dog park bringing other dogs around for play dates. They may even meet some new people in the process.
As an extra benefit, your dog will return home with enough mental and physical exercise, minimising destructive behaviours inside the house.
Provide regular physical and mental exercise
A healthy lifestyle includes exercise. Understanding your dog's breed is crucial since certain breeds demand considerably more activity than others.
A stroll or a run is the most basic kind of exercise for your dog, and most dogs need to undertake one of these activities every day. Give your dog a variety of toys to choose from if you must be gone throughout the day to keep them entertained.
Feed them nutritious food
Dogs respond incredibly well to a regular feeding schedule as they need a balanced, age-appropriate diet of food. Try to maintain a consistent mealtime schedule and refrain from giving your dog regular snacks (especially human food).
Consult your veterinarian when choosing your dog's daily diet to make sure it has the right balance of nutrients. The amount of food your dog requires will mostly rely on their own size, breed, age, and activity level.
Give them supplements appropriate for their needs and age
While dog food frequently contains fats and carbohydrates, heating or boiling can drain away some vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Adding supplements to their diet gives them the essential vitamins they need in bioavailable amounts.
Ideally, big dogs should have chondroitin, calcium and glucosamine supplements to prevent arthritis and osteoporosis. Glucosamine joint supplements are known to treat the symptoms of joint damage by promoting the repair of injured cartilage, particularly articular cartilage, or the moist, spongy tissue that serves as a cushion between joints.
Essential fatty acids (EFA) are also vital to maintaining your dog's heart and liver's healthy function as well as the health of their skin, hair, and joints.
Give them their own space
Your dog also needs a relaxing place where they can relax. Having a private space for your dog to retreat and be alone, regardless of whether a new baby has joined the family, the home is filled with holiday visitors, or the vacuum is running, helps in giving them security and avoiding stress or anxiety.
Schedule checkups with your vet
Regular vet visits are important to your dog's long-term health. It's also important to regularly take your dog to the groomer to maintain both their physical health and appearance. It not only allows you to look for issues like fleas, ticks, dry spots, but also enables your dog to achieve a shiny coat.
Your dog could catch a wide range of illnesses and infections. Keep them safe by making sure their vaccines are updated and that they have scheduled veterinarian checkups.
As their fur parent, it’s best to educate yourself on common health problems that can affect them, and frequent visits to the vet helps you observe any changes and determine preventative measures or treatment.