October 29, 2020

Top Five Visual Signs of Health in your Pet

by Gary Weitzman DVM MPH



Can you recognize signs your dog or cat may have a health issue? Here are 5 common signs:




Knowing the energy level of your pet is key and one of the simplest things to assess. It’s all about what’s normal to your pet. Is your dog having trouble getting up in the morning when he’s usually alert or is your cat looking more lethargic than usual?


Skin and Coat Quality


When the skin isn’t getting the nutrition and circulation needed, health issues become visibly evident. After all, the skin is the body’s largest organ. It’s composed of proteins, lipids and fatty acids. Whether your pet has dry, flaky skin, overly oily coats or hair loss, your pets coat will tell a story of what’s going on.


Nail Strength


Related to coat quality in that it’s a sign of good or poor health. Nails that are dry, broken or flaking can indicate metabolic, nutritional, or overall health issues. Overgrown nails will show lack of grooming or energy.


Eye Brightness


The gleam in the eye, the spark of excitement our pets normally show is something we usually take for granted, until it’s no longer there. Dullness, sagging eyelids, and gaze avoidance are all indicators that your pet is not feeling well.


Nose “Luster”


Your dog’s nose is self-lubricating with thousands of mucus-producing cells. They lick it hundreds of times per day to moisten it otherwise it itches. They also lick it when they are nervous. The nose can indicate the health of your pet. A healthy nose is smooth, shiny and relatively dry. Don’t worry too much is the nose is warm, it often just means your pet is warm. If the nose is dull, overly dry or rough it usually indicates your dog isn’t well either because he’s not feeling well enough to lick it or the normal self-moisturizing function is off.


Find more information in

National Geographic Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness: The Veterinarian’s Approach to At-Home Animal Care by Gary Weitzman DVM MPH (Author)

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