One of the main ways to check that an animal is healthy is to check its vital signs. These include the core temperature, respiration rate and pulse rate. If any of these are not within their normal range there is cause for concern and treatment should be sought. We strongly recommend that you seek veterinary advice in such cases, as it may be life-threatening.
A healthy dog should present the following:
- Temperature: 38-39oC
- Respiration Rate: 10 to 30 breaths per minute
- Pulse Rate: 70 to 120 beats per minute
Aside from checking vital signs outlined, owners and carers should monitor the following conditions and states for signs of abnormality or ill-health:
- General physical condition – weight and body condition including weight loss or weight gain
- Movement – checking for limping, leg lifting
- Mouth and gums should be checked for their colour and signs of bleeding
- Teeth should be checked for plaque build-up
- Eyes and mucus membranes should be kept clean and moist
- Ears should be cleaned, often with anti-bacterial drops, and excessive hair growth inside the ear canal should be trimmed.
- Unusual urination patterns (frequency becomes more or less), alongside excessive thirst
- Appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation should monitored
- Skin condition and coat condition should be monitored including any swellings, insect bites, areas of excessive itching
- General behaviour including excitability and sluggishness should be carefully monitored