Vital Signs of Healthy Dogs
Many people assume that just because their dogs do not show any signs of illness then there is no need to
worry...wrong! So, how healthy is your dog?
Dogs may not show physical signs of illness but may suffer from subclinical infections which do not manifest
with signs. At times, the dog may show vital signs of illness but you dismiss it as normal and presume it will go
away in time.
Dogs have a disadvantage especially with regards to sickness since they are unable to say where they feel pain
or if something is ailing them.
This means that the vet can only treat what he sees and assume that he is right and that the problem will go
away. While there is no standard to measure the well being of your dog, there are several indicators you can use to
determine if your dog is healthy or ailing:
1. Body temperature
As a dog owner one of the must have items should be a thermometer. Temperature on dogs is taken per rectum and
serves as a good indicator of the dog’ well being. Infectious conditions will commonly cause a rise in temperature
above normal, this is not good since beyond a certain temperature body functions are compromised and there cell
A lower than normal temperature (hypothermia) could be a sign of shock or inability of the body to supply enough
heat to meet the body’s demands. Temperature is usually affected by weather conditions, age and exercise thus there
will be variations
2. Coat condition
Coat should be shiny and free from parasites. When the skin is pinched it should bounce back to its original
position. A dry skin that lacks elasticity is usually not a good sign.
Weight variations are usually observed in dogs but they should be within a given limit. Extreme weight loss or
weight gain is not a good sign.
Weight loss could be from worm infestation or a chronic condition while weight gain is observed in dogs that are
fed too much, dogs suffering from hormonal imbalances. Some medical conditions will also cause weight gain.
4. Colour of mucus membranes
The easiest to check are the gums, the colour should be pink or pigmented. Redness is seen in cases of
gingivitis in which case it is accompanied by pain and sensitivity. Yellow gums are seen in dogs suffering from
aflatoxicosis or liver failure.
Changes in appetite especially if the dog is refusing to eat food are not good. Anorexia or loss of appetite is
usually a sign of disease.
Healthy dogs have good appetite and will enjoy eating their food.
6. Faeces and urine
Colour and consistency are the key things to take note of. Normal faeces are well formed and dry. Any abnormal
discharges such as blood, mucus or undigested food are not a good sign and further examination by a vet is
necessary. Faecal colour is determined by the dog’s diet, so there will be variations. Loose stools or lack of
elimination in a dog that has been fed are also signs that something is not ok.
Straining during elimination is not normal; owners should also take note on the frequency of elimination.
Increased urination is usually seen in dogs suffering from diabetes mellitus.
Because shedding can be partly caused by poor diet. I recommend that you check out 245 Healthy Dog Food Recipes