Is Your Dog as Healthy as You Think It Is?

Ask most dog owners if their dog is healthy, and they will answer yes. But how do they know? A dog might look terrific on the outside, but not be all together well on the inside. A shiny coat does not mean your dog is healthy. If you are not a veterinarian, how do you really know your pet is healthy?

So, what does a “Shiny Coat” mean?

Your dog food probably says it is “complete nutrition” or “the best food”, but is it? Most commercially available dog foods are loaded with filler, especially those sold in grocery stores. Fillers are things like by-products, soy, and corn. Lower quality foods also use a little trick to make you think the pet is eating good food. They use fat to give the pet a shiny because most owners think a shiny coat means a healthy pet, which means the food was good, but that shiny coat could be hiding inner problems. Many of these foods actually use cheap ingredients, and lower quality preservatives, some of which have been linked to causing cancer.

This is a Yorkshire Terrier, photo from Wikimedia.

Mom and Dad

If you bought your dog from a reputable breeder chances are it will have fewer genetic health problems. Reputable breeders are those who take their dogs to shows to prove the worth of them as breeding dogs, they also have veterinarian checks done on things like hips and eyes before breeding. If they find out they are producing dogs with health problems they stop breeding that certain line of dogs. If you bought your dog from a pet store or back yard breeder, none of these safety guide lines are followed. To make money you have to cut expenses. Cross bred dogs have a thing called “hybrid vigor” often making them healthier against genetic disorders.

So Small and Cute!

Small dogs are cute, but tiny dogs are not always as healthy as you might think. Many unscrupulous breeders stunt their dogs though poor genetics or poor nutrition. Many of these dogs marketed as “teacup” dogs have shorter lives and more health problems. Cute does not mean healthy!

This is a tiny Chihuahua puppy, photo from Wikimedia.

Look how Fast my Puppy is Growing!

Fast growth in large breed dogs is not a good thing. Many brands of dog food are now understanding this and formulating food for large breed dogs and pups. With these dogs you want to slow down the growth because fast growth puts more strain on undeveloped leg joints and will result in problems down the road.

It’s what’s Inside that Counts

Your dog, while great looking on the outside, may not be doing well on the inside. Cancer is a leading killer of dogs, second only to accidents. Many cancers have been linked to ingredients in lower quality pet foods.

Food does not Equal Love

Feeding too much food, or offering loads of treats does not mean you love your dog. Obesity is hard on their bodies, legs, heart and lungs. As well, once a dog starts getting fat, they are prone to other diseases, and stress on their legs and joints. As you can see the dog in the photo above is very overweight.  He is a Beagle and should be trim and active.  Photo from Wikimedia. 

This photo of this dog and vet students is from Wikimedia.

Preventative Medicine

Dogs who receive regular vaccinations may still get sick but the vaccinations often lower the level of severity.

Dogs who are spayed or neutered have fewer risks of some health problems.

Dogs should receive regular veterinary check ups, once a year, especially if they are over six years of age for large dogs, over ten years of age for small ones.

Dogs should be wormed regularly, you will notice that over the counter wormers do not kill all types of worms therefore it is good to get your dog wormed through the vet if you do not know what kinds of worms your dog may have. 

Feeding a good food may be one of the best things you can do for your pet, to determine if your dog is on a good, safe food, click here.

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User Comments
  1. Glynis Smy

    On November 20, 2008 at 3:36 am

    Good advise and info. We have 4 dogs, one is 10 and 1/2 the vet loves to see him for his check over, so do we, there is never any problems, we switched to the more expensive food years ago and it has been cheaper in the long run. I loved the puppy picture, so cute.

  2. lindalulu

    On November 20, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Good info, but I only got a Kitten.

  3. Brenda Nelson

    On November 20, 2008 at 9:09 am

    The above information also applies to cats and kittens to some extent – cats even more than dogs need a good food – one free of fillers such as corn. Cats are especially prone to urinary tract problems from poor quality food and even more so to Diabetes from all the carbs and fat in some foods.

  4. Darla Smith

    On November 20, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Great advice! Thanks for sharing.

  5. mandi

    On November 20, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    very good information! i am making a apointment for my doggy today! such great pix by the way!!

  6. Brager Vicario

    On December 1, 2008 at 4:36 am

    Interesting article, but just because a breeder shows dogs does not mean they are breeding genetically healthy dogs. Here in the UK Crufts has lost sponsorship from Pedigree Chum doog food and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and will not be televised again. The reason is because many owners and most of the breeders were purposely breeding dogs with genetic defects. They were doing this purely to meet specific requirements, some demanded by the public to make the dogs more appealing and other reasons were to alter the breeds in a way they assumed would be best to win shows. While many breeders are still responsible, just because a breeder may show dogs this doesnt make them any more responsible for breeding genetically healthy dogs than any other. Fortunately the breeders I got my two Boxers from were both more interested in dog welfare than winning competitions.

  7. natiley

    On July 9, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    hi im looking for a teacup chihuahua for sale for cheap and not spayed and neutered and i want a boy no papers can you tell me where to find a chihuahua for sale thats like that???????????

  8. Brenda Nelson

    On July 9, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    to natily
    to find your teacup chihuahua – start here

  9. Kinga

    On August 29, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Great article!
    And Natiley- teacup chihuahuas don’t exist, they are poorly bred stunted chihuahuas that are not healthy. No teacup is healthy.

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