Caring for your dog should be fun and not a chore. It’s good to get into a habit
at a young age with your dog to give them a good physical check-over. You can do
this by practising the relaxed position with your dog from an early age. This will
allow you to inspect your dog’s condition whilst calming them and getting them used
to being handled.
A health check will not exclude the need to visit a vet, but should work as an early
warning system that will help to identify any ailments your dog may be suffering
from. The earlier a potential problem is spotted, the more successful treatment is
likely to be (and it could save money on vet bills).
Try to weigh your dog on a regular basis and observe him or her performing everyday
actions like playing, exercising, eating and drinking. Knowing your dog and being
aware of any changes in their temperament or activities may help you to identify
any health issues before they become a major concern.
A quick health check every day should help to keep your dog in good condition.
Ears should be clean and pale pink in colour (clean once a week). Look out for wax
build up and puss. Constant scratching can be a sign there is a problem.
Eyes should be bright and clear (the whites should be completely white). Any cloudiness
may be a sign that your dog is not well (a small amount of sleeping-dust in the corner
of the eye is normal but watery or pus-like discharge is not).
Both eyelids should be fully open, not half-closed or blinking rapidly.
Gums should be pink (salmon). Any different colour or change in normal appearance
may be a sign that your dog is unwell (paleness may be due to anaemia, a blue tinge
could indicate a circulatory problem, while yellow is a sign of jaundice).
Teeth should be white-yellow and free of calculus build-up.
Breath should not be offensive. Although some breeds drool a lot, your dog shouldn't
be salivating or panting excessively.
The nose should be clean & clear (not necessarily wet) and free of any discharge.
Toenails should not be long, split or torn. Check the length by visual inspection
(the blood line should come almost to the tip of the claw) and by watching and listening
to your dog walking (toenails tapping on solid floors are a sign they need clipping).
Check between each toe.
Pads should be free of soreness and cracking.
The bottom should be clean and free of soiling. The most common ailment is worm infestation
which looks like small grains of rice clinging around the rear end.
With an un-spayed lady dog look out for any nasty discharge from the vagina.
Coat and skin
The coat should be brushed regularly and look and feel healthy all over.
The skin should feel warm to touch and move easily over the body. Look specifically
for any flaky, hot, itchy and or red patches (often highlighted by your dog licking,
biting or chewing excessively).
The body should be lean with a thin layer of fat. Feel for anything abnormal. If
you find anything monitor it closely (size, appearance, touch) and or speak to your