5 Key Dog Checks Every Pet Owner Should Perform Regularly

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5 Key Dog Checks Every Pet Owner Should Perform Regularly

January 30, 2024 4 min read

As a responsible pet owner, it's important to regularly perform key checks to ensure the health and well-being of your dog. By incorporating these routine checks into your pet care regimen, you can catch potential issues early and provide the best possible care for your furry friend. Let's explore the 5 key dog checks that every pet owner should perform regularly:

Key Takeaways

  • Regularly performing these 5 key dog checks can help you monitor your pet's health and catch any issues early.
  • Consistency is key - make these checks a regular part of your pet care routine.
  • If you notice any abnormalities during these checks, consult your veterinarian for further evaluation.
  • Maintaining your dog's overall health and well-being is a crucial part of responsible pet ownership.
  • By staying proactive with these checks, you can ensure that your dog leads a happy and healthy life.

1. Weight and Body Condition


Monitoring your dog's weight and body condition is crucial for maintaining their overall health. Regular check-ups can prevent obesity or underweight issues, which are associated with various health problems. Use the following guidelines to assess your dog's body condition:

  • Feel for your dog's ribs. They should be palpable with a slight fat covering.
  • Observe the waist when viewed from above. A healthy dog should have a noticeable waist.
  • Check the profile of the abdomen. It should tuck up from the ribcage to the thighs.
Maintaining an ideal body condition is a balance of diet and exercise. Adjust your dog's food intake and activity level based on their condition and consult your veterinarian for personalized advice.

If you're unsure about what a healthy weight range looks like for your dog's breed and size, consider this simple table:

Size Ideal Weight Range
Small 5-20 pounds
Medium 20-60 pounds
Large 60-100 pounds
Giant 100+ pounds

Remember, these ranges are approximate and individual needs can vary. It's always best to seek guidance from your vet.

2. Coat and Skin Health


Monitoring your dog's coat and skin health is crucial for their overall well-being. A shiny, full coat and smooth, clear skin are signs of good health. Regular grooming and inspection can help identify issues early, such as dry skin, bald patches, or parasites like fleas and ticks.

When examining your dog's coat and skin, look for the following:

  • Consistency in coat texture
  • Brightness and sheen
  • Signs of dandruff or excessive oiliness
  • Any lumps, bumps, or wounds
Pay special attention to areas where skin problems are more likely to occur, such as under the collar, near the tail, and between the toes.

If you notice any abnormalities, consult your veterinarian for advice. Early detection and treatment can prevent more serious health issues.

3. Dental Hygiene


Maintaining your dog's dental hygiene is crucial for their overall health. Regular teeth cleaning can prevent gum disease, which is common in dogs and can lead to serious complications if left untreated. Start by inspecting your dog's teeth and gums at least once a week for any signs of redness, swelling, or bad breath.

  • Check for plaque and tartar buildup.
  • Ensure their gums are pink, not red or white.
  • Look out for broken or loose teeth.
Early detection and treatment of dental issues can save your dog from pain and prevent more severe health problems. It's also important to provide them with dental chews and toys that help clean their teeth while they play. For a professional cleaning, consult your veterinarian at least once a year.

4. Eye and Ear Examination


Regular eye and ear examinations are crucial for maintaining your dog's health. Eyes should be clear and bright, and the area around the eyeball should be white. Check for any redness, swelling, or discharge that could indicate an infection or other issues.

Ears require careful attention as well. They should be clean and free of any strong odors. A dog's ears can be prone to infections, especially in breeds with floppy ears. Use the following checklist during your routine examination:

  • Inspect the eyes for cloudiness or change in eye color.
  • Look for any signs of ear irritation, such as redness or discharge.
  • Gently palpate around the eyes and ears to check for any signs of discomfort.
It's important to address any abnormalities promptly by consulting your veterinarian. Early detection and treatment can prevent more serious health issues.

5. Paw and Nail Care


Regular paw and nail care is essential for your dog's comfort and mobility. Inspect your dog's paws frequently for any signs of injury, such as cuts, thorns, or pebbles stuck between the pads. Nails should be trimmed regularly to prevent overgrowth, which can cause pain and lead to posture problems.

  • Check the paw pads for cracks or dryness.
  • Look between the toes for debris or signs of infection.
  • Trim nails to ensure they don't touch the ground when your dog walks.
Keeping your dog's paws clean can prevent many common issues. After walks, wipe your dog's paws to remove any environmental contaminants or allergens. In winter, be mindful of salt and chemical deicers that can irritate or burn your dog's paw pads.


Regularly performing these 5 key dog checks is essential for every pet owner. By staying vigilant and proactive, you can ensure the health and well-being of your beloved furry friend. Remember, early detection and preventive care are the keys to a happy and healthy life for your dog.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I weigh my dog?

It's recommended to weigh your dog at least once a month to monitor their weight and body condition.

What should I look for in my dog's coat and skin health?

You should look for signs of dryness, flakiness, redness, or any unusual lumps or bumps on the skin.

How can I maintain my dog's dental hygiene?

Regular brushing, dental chews, and professional dental cleanings can help maintain your dog's dental hygiene.

What are signs of eye and ear problems in dogs?

Signs of eye problems include redness, discharge, or excessive tearing. Signs of ear problems include scratching, head shaking, or foul odor.

How often should I trim my dog's nails?

Nails should be trimmed every 1-2 months, but it may vary depending on the dog's activity level and the surfaces they walk on.

What should I do if I notice any abnormalities during these checks?

If you notice any abnormalities during these checks, it's important to consult your veterinarian for further evaluation and guidance.


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