The Woof Club team often get asked whether we think a dog is healthy or not, so we decided to write down some general guidelines from our point of view.
A healthy dog is of course healthy in his body but also in his mind. The two go hand in hand.
The most obvious indication of a healthy dog is its coat. The first signs of any illness can be seen here. It should be clean, shiny, bouncy and free from skin debris, grease, and parasites.
A healthy coat is shiny and smooth with no strong smell or dandruff. It is free from visible parasites and does not shed excessively, only at the times normal for the breed and the dog’s environment. The fur should clean and bouncy whilst the skin should be soft and supple, free from flakes, bumps and grease. The skin should be well hydrated and thus spring back into place quickly if pinched. However, in an older dog the skin may take a little longer to spring back.
A healthy dog should have the right body weight for his breed. The amount we feed should be carefully regulated and balanced against the exercise he gets. Obesity in dogs has reached epidemic proportions leading to all manner of health issues, and yet we worry much more about our pet dogs than we did 20 years ago, and we spend more on showing them that we love them.
We humans associate showing our love with feeding but have less and less leisure time to spare. So, for the special dog in our lives this often means that he will get too little exercise and too much food.
Keep in mind that in the wild, a dog would have to hunt for his dinner, using a huge amount of energy until he was successful. Once caught, he would most probably overeat and then would probably not eat again for several days until he caught his next meal. Although our pet dogs’ lives have changed for the better in terms of what they have to do to get their lunch, their physiology has not changed significantly. They are still built to survive on a small amount of food even when they lead very active lives. That’s not to say that we should not take care about what we feed our dogs but the more important thing to watch is how much we feed our dogs.
The ears should not smell offensive and there should be no discharge from them, neither from the nose. A clear nasal discharge may indicate an allergy whereas a green or yellow discharge often indicates a problem with the teeth or a general illness.
Eyes too should be bright and clear with no discharge, and the pupils should be of normal size and respond to light correctly.
Breath – should not smell offensive and the gums should be healthy and bubble gum pink with teeth white and free from yellow plaque.
A dog in good health will pass urine and poop without problem and the stools should normally be easy to pick up although an occasional bought of diarrhoea is nothing normally to worry about. The colour of the stool is not very important unless it contains blood or is black which may indicate internal bleeding.
A healthy dog will also have a good appetite. He will be alert and interested in his surroundings and enjoy exercise and social interactions with other dogs and humans.
If, having read this through you have any doubts or concerns at all we suggest you take a trip to the vet to get an expert opinion!
Having read this diligently themselves, our four legged Woof Club team members are happy to say that they are all in perfect health thank you…….
“Are you sure you need another snack, Molly?”