General Condition Of A Dog In Good Health

A dog in good health will have:

Bright, clear eyes, with no discharge or clouding of the eye.

Ears that are not scabby, smell or contain more than just a little wax.

Noses that are generally wet and shiny, although they may dry out at certain times or in certain conditions – a dry nose on its own is not a sign of ill health, but taken in conjunction with other conditions can be an indication of all not being well.

Coats that are shiny, with healthy skin underneath (might be pink or dark, depending on the coat colour of the dog). There should be no sores (although the odd one that is healing OK is acceptable) and the skin should not be flaky.  The skin should pass the pinch test – when skin is pinched it should return to normal almost immediately (dehydrated skin will take a while to return to normal).

Teeth that are white and gums that are pink (or brown / black, depending on coat colour) and with a good capillary action. There should be no tartar around the top of the teeth, and definitely no signs of gum disease.  Breath should not smell bad (but can smell ‘doggy’), and gums should not bleed when teeth are brushed.

Dogs should be alert, with ease of movement. The gait should be even when walking.

Eating and drinking should be normal – the amount that is drunk each day will depend very much on the type of food that is fed, the climate, the dogs activity level, but this should not vary too much from day to day.

The dog should urinate and defecate without incident. The faeces should be firm and ‘kickable’, not black and not contain any blood.  Some mucus occasionally is acceptable, but this should not be frequent or excessive.  The colour of the urine will change throughout the day, and depend on how frequently the dog urinates, but should not smell strong.

The dog’s weight should be correct – it should be possible to the feel ribs (as though they are covered by a T-shirt), they should have a definite waist when viewed from above and there should be a tuck in the abdomen.

The dog should rest peacefully – it should not be restless and should not scratch or bite itself.

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