What are the Signs of a Healthy Dog? | Broadview University

What are the Signs of a Healthy Dog?

a healthy dog on a walk

If you love animals, helping them can be part of your everyday life. Do you live with dogs, cats, or other pets? Do you have feeders in your yard for birds and squirrels? Do you volunteer your time at an animal shelter? You can make a difference in the lives of thousands of animals, with a career as a vet tech.

Educating a Pet Owner How to Keep Their Dog Healthy

One of the responsibilities of a vet tech is to educate pet owners about how to keep their dogs healthy and happy. Pet parents should be informed about the importance of regular vet visits and staying up-to-date with vaccinations. Vet techs can educate dog owners about the various flea and tick medications and recommend the most appropriate medicine for their dog. Heartworm is another issue that’s important for a vet tech to discuss with a pet parent.

Nutritional Needs

Proper nutrition is an issue that many pet owners have questions about. The nutritional needs of dogs vary greatly depending on the dog’s age, breed, size, and any possible health problems. All dogs need certain nutrients in their diet to stay healthy. They include:

  • Water
  • Protein
  • Fats
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamins and Minerals

Water regulates a dog’s body temperature, helps to get nutrients to the cells, aids in digesting food, and flushes waste products from the dog’s body. Water helps to protect a dog’s nervous system and organs.

Protein makes antibodies, neurotransmitters, amino acids, enzymes, and hormones that keep the body functioning properly. Amino acids in the dog’s diet must be derived from their food since a dog’s body can’t produce enough to keep them healthy. Proteins provide dogs with the energy they need to function correctly.

Fat is a concentrated energy source that dogs need to stay healthy. Fat provides dogs with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids that aid the body in absorbing vitamins that are fat-soluble. Fats in a dog’s diet help to regulate the animal’s body temperature. Healthy fats help to keep the nervous system and internal organs healthy and working properly.

Vitamins are necessary for the healthy functioning of the dog’s nervous system. Vitamins help the dog’s blood to clot; they help to keep the immune system healthy and work as antioxidants. Minerals are essential for moving oxygen through the dog’s body, supporting healthy bones, assisting in healing wounds, improving the nervous system, and aiding antioxidants.

Essential Exercise

Exercise is essential for dogs of every age for their well-being and optimum health. Dogs that get enough exercise and stay trim and lean are less likely to develop health problems, including diabetes, some types of cancer, and joint and mobility problems as they age. A dog’s physical health can improve with regular exercise. Sunshine and fresh air are essential for dogs and humans. Vitamin D is derived from exposure to sunlight and promotes a healthy coat and skin. Vitamin D promotes the development of healthy bones and provides melatonin for proper sleep cycles.

Dogs that don’t get enough exercise may develop behavior problems due to excess energy. Brisk, daily walks, or playtime in the yard release the energy and helps the dog’s emotional well-being. Dogs are very social animals and enjoy meeting other animals and people. Exposing your dog to new people and situations helps to decrease the chances of behavior problems.

Keep Everything Clean

A clean environment is essential for all pets. Dogs should have a comfortable and safe place to sleep away from any dangers inside the home. Household products and plants that could be toxic to pets should be kept away from them. Dogs are curious and like to explore. They don’t understand that items they encounter could be harmful. It’s the responsibility of the pet parent to keep their dog safe.

The dog’s environment, whether it’s a large crate with bedding and blankets or a bed in a quiet area of the home, should be a place where the dog feels safe. Dogs should always be protected from extreme weather conditions and have access to food and clean water.

Proper Dental Health

Good dental health for dogs means regular examinations of the dog’s teeth and gums. A dental exam and teeth cleaning should be part of the yearly exam. It’s essential for any problems with the teeth or gums to be addressed to prevent more severe health problems.

What Are the Signs of a Healthy Dog?

There are many important signs to look for to make sure a dog is healthy. It is important for you to educate pet owners on what to look for and when to visit the vet if something seems wrong.

Bright Coat

A healthy dog has a bright coat that’s free of any rashes, irritations, or scabby areas. The coat should have a glossy appearance and be free of fleas and ticks. There shouldn’t be any areas where the skin is bald, or there are signs of dandruff.

Clean Teeth

The dog should have clean teeth and a pink pigment in the gums. However, some dogs have gums that have a grey or black colored pigment.

Fed a Healthy Diet

A healthy dog is fed a healthy diet that’s formulated for the dog’s breed, age, and size. Veterinarians may recommend a prescription diet for dogs that are older, have mobility or digestive issues, or need food that’s especially for weight management.

Increased Interaction

A healthy dog is playful and enjoys interacting with humans and other animals.

Proper Potty Training

A healthy dog goes to the bathroom in the right place and doesn’t have accidents in the house. The exception is puppies that haven’t been fully trained.

Clear Eyes & Ears

The eyes of a healthy dog are clear and bright, free of any discharge and not watering. The dog’s ears on the inside should be light pink. However, dogs that have dark skin and coats may have dark ears. There shouldn’t be any swelling or discharge.

Proper Temperature & Normal Stool

The dog’s normal temperature is 100 to 102.5 degrees. Stools should be dark without any parasites or blood.

What Are the Signs of a Dog with a Problem?

Healthy dogs that see their veterinarian for regular visits can have health problems. A pet parent knows their dog’s personality and habits. If something isn’t quite right, it may be time for a visit to the veterinarian. Here are some of the signs of a dog that has a health problem:

  • Lethargy
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Sleeps more frequently.
  • Eats very little or stops eating.
  • Has potty accidents in the house.
  • Bites themselves or scratches frequently.
  • Starts losing hair.
  • Limps or has mobility problems.

If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should immediately schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner your dog will get the necessary treatment they need to start feeling better.

What Should You Do About A Dog That Has A Problem?

If your dog shows any signs of sickness like vomiting, diarrhea, or has an injury, you should immediately take your pet to the veterinarian. When a dog is sick or injured, time is essential. The sooner the vet can examine a pet and make a diagnosis, the faster they will be on the road to recovery. The vet will prescribe the most effective treatment, whether it’s at the animal hospital or at home. There may be situations in which the vet leaves it up to the owner about treatment in the hospital or at home. Some dogs respond well in the animal hospital, while others do better at home with their owner.

Emergency Plan

In an emergency, take your pet to the nearest 24/7 vet clinic. In many areas, an emergency vet clinic opens at night and on weekends when other animal hospitals are closed. Before you have an emergency situation with your dog or puppy, find the nearest emergency clinic and keep their phone number in a prominent place.

If the owner suspects that their dog may have eaten a toxic food or have ingested a poisonous substance, they should call the ASPCA hotline immediately at 888-426-4435. The ASPCA Poison Control Center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to assist with all poison-related emergencies. It’s vital that they don’t try to treat their pet until consulting a professional to avoid any further damage.

The ASPCA has resources on its website to educate pet owners about the dangers of poisonous plants, household products and foods that are toxic to pets. The method of treating a poisoning case depends on the substance that the pet has ingested, and professional assistance is vital. The ASPCA has a list of foods that are toxic to pets and the possible side-effects.

Want to help pets stay healthy and happy as a vet tech? With an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, you’ll gain the knowledge, qualities and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.