A new puppy brings tons of energy, playfulness and just plain fun to your home and life. At the same time, a pup can bring concerns—both legitimate and not so—about his health. Particularly if you’re a first time dog owner, you may find yourself worrying over every little sign and perceived symptom. So we’re here to help you with a Tip-to-Tail Top 10 Checklist of ways to tell if your pooch is healthy … or if he may need some special attention.
A puppy’s eyes should be clear and bright. There should be no discharge, yellowing of the whites, redness or other signs of irritation. If you see these signs, check with your veterinarian.
Your puppy’s ears should be clean and clear of excessive earwax. If you see signs of swelling or if his ears have a strong odor, check with your vet.
His nose should be cool and moist. If his nose is hot and dry, or if he exhibits any of the following, he may need to be seen by the vet:
- Excessive discharge or mucus
- Obstructed breathing or difficulty breathing through his nose.
A pup’s mouth should be warm and moist. There should be no bumps or lumps inside. You’ll want to see healthy-looking pink gums. Watch for dark red gums, missing or lost teeth, and unusually bad breath, all of which may signal a visit to the vet is in order.
5. Skin and Coat
Your puppy’s skin and coat should be soft and shiny, with no flakes or excessive shedding. Also watch for redness on the skin’s surface, as well as bumps or sores that may need attention.
A healthy puppy can be a little plump, but should still have good muscle tone. In other words, potbellies are not such a good thing and can mean a number of things are wrong, from worms to poor nutrition or another medical malady. Also, his ribs should be visible, but not protruding.
Keep your pup’s nails trimmed, but be careful when doing so. It’s easy to cut back too far on the nail and cause bleeding. If you can afford it, it’s best to have a professional groomer take care of your dog’s nails. You should also check your pup’s feet after going for a walk or being outdoors. Make sure there are no cuts, abrasions or other injuries that need attention.
8. Toilet Habits
Take note of your puppy’s “output” when nature calls. Stool should be compact and easy to pick up off the grass without leaving any residue. If you notice mucous or blood in the stool, a call to the vet is warranted. Likewise, watch his urinary habits. If he is urinating excessively (especially if combined with extreme, or seemingly unquenchable thirst) contact your vet right away. Also take note if he is licking the urinary tract area all the time – this could be a sign of infection.
9. Activity Level
A healthy puppy is curious, playful, happy and energetic. He should explore his surroundings with gusto, show happiness when you come home, be willing to wear himself out and then sleep well. If your pup becomes lethargic and uninterested in his usual activities, speak to your veterinarian.
A puppy should be hungry at regular intervals. He should eat all or most of the food in his bowl. If he is not eating his food, you may want to think about trying a new food. He may also have digestive sensitivities (especially if he shows signs of vomiting or abnormal stool). In this case, Bil-Jac Sensitive Solutions may be worth a try. If your pup shows dramatic changes in his appetite, especially accompanied by substantial weight loss, see your vet right away.
And that’s it for our Tip-To-Tail Good Health Checkup! Keep your eye on these 10 areas to make sure your pup stays healthy and happy!
How is your puppy’s health these days? Share your thoughts with us!