In detail

Health check for dogs: tips for at home


The health and well-being of our four-legged friends is one of the most important things in life for dog owners. A health check for dogs should therefore take place regularly, not only several times a year at the veterinarian, but also weekly at home. Show teeth! Regular checks of teeth and gums are also part of the private health check - Shutterstock / Jana Schoenknecht

If you keep an eye on the health of your fur nose yourself, you will recognize possible diseases or health problems more quickly and can treat them accordingly earlier. The regular examinations at home also strengthen the bond between humans and dogs. Below is a selection of the key points you should include in the dog health check. For example, this can be done weekly or every two weeks.

Teeth and gums

Tooth or gum disease is one of the most common conditions in dogs. As with us humans, regular dental care is therefore very important. In addition to regular cleaning, check whether the gums are free of injuries and have a healthy pink color. Yellow-whitish tooth stains indicate dental plaque from which tartar can develop if it is not removed. Look out for bloody, irritated, or discolored gums and loose teeth. If you are already checking the mouth, you should also pay attention to whether your four-legged friend has bad breath - you can find more on the topic in the guide: "Bad breath in dogs: is the four-legged friend sick?".

Eyes and ears

Take a look into the dog's eyes. If they are red, very cloudy or tears, a visit to the veterinarian is advisable to rule out or treat diseases such as conjunctivitis.

The ears are also part of the health check for dogs. Healthy dog ‚Äč‚Äčears are pink and neither red nor bright pink. They should be clean and not smell strong. Dark ear wax may indicate an infection or ear mite infestation. When cleaning your four-legged friend's ears, do not use cotton swabs, but a clean, dry handkerchief or cotton pad and never penetrate deeper into your ear than you can see - they are very sensitive inside!

Tip: Dog breeds with long ears should be examined particularly carefully and frequently with regard to them, since they are more susceptible to ear diseases. You can find tips in the guide: "Cleaning the ears of a dog: how is it correct?"

Dog fur and skin

Get an overall impression of the dog fur. The fur of a healthy animal shines in most dog breeds and is not dull. Carefully split the fur in various places, such as the head and backbone, and look out for injuries, wounds, scabs, dandruff, swelling, redness, or parasites that may need treatment.

Tip: Ask your vet or breeder about grooming. Special brushes and combs are available in specialist shops for fur and skin care. Important: Do not bathe your four-legged friend too often and only with heavy soiling, as this can destroy the natural protective layer of the skin. The rule is: as often as necessary, as rarely as possible.

Paws and claws

The paws and claws are also part of the health check for dogs. Claws, especially the so-called wolf or dewclaw, must be trimmed regularly, otherwise they can grow in and cause pain. Injuries, swelling and redness are signs of a paw injury. Especially in winter, a dog's paws are exposed to ice and bedding and should be examined particularly carefully.

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Weight control

Check regularly whether your dog is at its ideal weight or is overweight or underweight. A proven test: touch your dog's waist with both hands and feel your way to the rear two ribs from there. The ribs should be noticeable, but should not protrude too much. If they are not noticeable, talk to the vet about a diet, stand out conspicuously about the treatment of underweight.

Health check for dogs: Other abnormalities

Also check the dog's body for nodules or knots that could indicate tumors. Grope your head towards your chin with both hands and then walk to your front legs, shoulders, back, and across your hips to your rear legs. For the health check, also lift the tail and check whether the anus is smeared or has abnormalities such as swelling, injuries or redness. Among other things, this could indicate parasites or an anal gland infection - going to the vet is the next step.

In general, you should pay attention to misalignments, movement disorders and behavioral problems such as aggressiveness, restlessness, listlessness and increased need for rest and have this examined by the veterinarian.