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Signs of a Healthy Dog

Just as scheduling regular veterinary checkups is important, so too is being able to understand the signs of a healthy and unhealthy dog. Learning how to recognize these signs will help you keep your dog healthy and happy.

Cold Nose = Healthy Dog? Maybe.

Curious by nature, your dog’s first impulse when interested in anything is to sniff around a bit.  However, don’t be alarmed if your dogs’ nose is warm; a dogs’ nose will fluctuate between warm and cold throughout the day. If your dog’s nose is warm for a prolonged period of time or shows signs of cracking, you should take your dog to the vet.

Likewise, if you notice your dog’s nose is always cold, this could be the sign of a cold. Just as you would expect your nose to be running if you were sick, your dog’s will too.

Healthy Eyes and Ears

While some dogs have eyes that tear up naturally, under normal circumstances your dog should have free and clear eyes. If you notice your dogs’ eyes consistently discharging or appear to be red or irritated, consult your veterinarian.

You should think of cleaning your dogs’ ears just as you would your own. If you notice your dog is scratching their ears more, this could be an indication of an infection. Dogs with more hair in their ears may need more frequent cleaning as well.

Show Your Smile

Take care to ensure your dog has healthy and clean teeth that are free of plaque and tartar build up. While you can brush your dog’s teeth just as you would your own, an easy way to help your dog have healthy teeth and gums is to give them treats that are specifically designed to help keep their teeth clean. As an added benefit, they can also help keep your dog from having “dog breath”.

Manage Your Dog’s Weight

Most dogs aren’t going to turn down a bowl full of food when you put it in front of them; all the more reason to regulate how much food your dog eats. Dogs that are overweight have increased risk of other health problems including heart and respiratory issues.

As different breeds benefit from different portions and formulas of food, you should consult your vet on the best choice for your dog. At an ideal weight, you should be clearly see their waist and be able to gently feel your dog’s ribs on the sides. An indication of an overweight dog could be struggling during times of exercise or playing.

Paws and Pads

Having four feet means there’s twice as many feet to worry about than you’re used to. While your dog’s pads are designed to be tough and resilient, they still need proper care. Routinely trimming their nails is one way to ensure their feet stay healthy. While trimming their nails, you can also check for any redness, swelling or foreign objects.

Your dog may not be able to tell you what they need, but understanding these signs and indicators will ensure your dog remains happy and healthy.

How to Have Fun with your Pets While Staying Active

Walking or Running

Exercising with your dog is a great way to keep you and your best friend healthy. If part of your exercise routine includes walking or running, consider taking your dog along with you. This will help keep your dog healthy and can be considered a time to bond and build your relationship. Remember to bring along water both for yourself and your dog though; they get tired and thirsty just like you.

Swimming

If you have access to a pool or lake, swimming can be great exercise for your dog and will help keep them cool on those hot days. While most dogs can swim, you should be slow to introduce your dog to the water to first make sure they are comfortable with this activity. Although you may find they’ll leap right in without a second thought!

The Dog Park

If you have a dog park nearby, this can be a great way to spend time with your dog and provide them with lots of space for running and playing. Giving your dog the opportunity to interact with other dogs can also help your dog to get used to seeing other animals.

In terms of training, dogs can benefit greatly by watching and learning how other dogs behave and interact with their owners and one another. Wide open spaces like the park also serve as excellent places for games of fetch.

Teach Your Dog an Old Trick

While playing fetch may be an old trick, this can be a great activity for you and your pet to enjoy. This activity works better with larger breeds as they are more likely to chase after things than smaller dogs, but you should still use an object that is relative to your dogs’ size.

While traditionally you may think to just throw a stick, you can also use a ball or Frisbee. You can also throw many objects at once. When first playing fetch with your dog, it will help them to learn if you actively engage and chase after them or run with them after the object for the first few times.

Your Dog Likes to Win

Playing a game like tug-of-war with your dog is a great way to get your dog moving, but there are a couple things to note. You should use an ideally sized rope for your dog; using a rope too large will prevent your dog from being able to get a good grip and they’ll become frustrated rather than enjoy the fun.

If you get the distinct impression your dog is using all their strength to get the rope from you, you’re probably right. Your dog will treat tug-of-war as a game they want to win so don’t be afraid to lose the match. Especially since using all your strength could be dangerous for your dog as you may accidentally injure their jaw, teeth, or their pride!

There are still many things you can do with your dog to stay healthy including dancing, hiking, agility training, yoga, soccer, or cycling. Experiment to learn which activities suit you and your dog the best.