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Home Daily Care Routines Daily Dog Health Check Guide: Monitor Eating, Drinking & Stress Signs

Daily Dog Health Check Guide: Monitor Eating, Drinking & Stress Signs

by Dan Turner
Dan Turner

Every morning, before our day kicks off, I spend a few minutes with my furry best friend, not just for cuddles but for a quick health check, too. It’s become our little ritual, ensuring they’re as fit as a fiddle. You’d be surprised at how much you can catch early on by being observant.

I’ve learned that keeping an eye on my dog’s health doesn’t require a vet degree, just some know-how and consistency. Whether it’s checking for lumps, monitoring their eating habits, or just ensuring they’re their usual perky selves, it’s all about knowing what to look for. Let me walk you through how I do my daily health check on my dog, making sure we catch anything out of the ordinary before it becomes a bigger issue.

Observations and Behavior

When I check on my dog’s health daily, I’ve found that their behavior and physical cues often give away more than anything else. It’s like being a detective, but for dog health. Observing my furry friend’s behavior isn’t just about cuddle time; it’s a crucial step in ensuring they’re feeling their best.

Regularly checking their behavior and mood can reveal a lot. Dogs, much like people, can have bad days. But a sudden change in mood or an ongoing slump is worth noting. Here’s what I keep an eye on:

  • Energy levels: Is my pooch playing less? Or are they hyperactive when usually calm?
  • Interaction: How do they react to me and other pets or family members?
  • Eating habits: Are they skipping meals or not drinking enough water?
  • Sleep patterns: More sleep than usual could indicate a problem.

But it’s not just about what they do; it’s also how they look while doing it.

Another piece of the puzzle is physical signs. I gently check for any new lumps, bumps, or injuries each day. A quick scan can usually tell me if anything’s amiss. But, there’s more:

  • Eyes: They should be clear and bright. Cloudiness or excessive discharge is a red flag.
  • Ears: They need to be clean and odor-free. A bad smell or too much scratching signals an issue.
  • Coat and skin: I look for dryness, excessive shedding, or any bald patches.
  • Gums and teeth: Healthy gums are pink, and teeth should be free of excessive tartar.

This might seem like a lot, but it’s become a quick and rewarding routine. My dog’s quirks often make these checks more entertaining than chore-like. For instance, they’ve learned to open wide for a dental check in exchange for a treat. And trust me, they have the biggest grin after passing their little “inspection.”

Physical Examination

Jumping from general observations to a more hands-on approach, I’ve perfected my routine for a daily physical examination of my furry friend. This part isn’t just important—it’s essential for catching any early signs of discomfort or illness that my dog may not express outright.

Getting Started

First thing’s first, I always ensure this process is as stress-free as possible. Here’s my checklist:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable spot
  • Use a calm, reassuring voice
  • Keep treats within arm’s reach
  • Make sure my hands are warm

The Hands-On Check

Starting at the nose and working my way to the tail, I gently probe and inspect my dog, paying attention to:

  • Nose: It should be moist, not dry or cracked.
  • Eyes: They ought to be clear, with no discharge or redness.
  • Ears: I look for any sign of wax buildup, foul odor, or inflammation.
  • Mouth: Healthy gums are pink, not white or red, and teeth should be free of excess tartar.
  • Skin and Coat: I search for signs of fleas, ticks, or any unusual lumps, bumps, or bald spots.
  • Paws: Each paw pad is checked for cuts or thorns, and I make sure the nails aren’t too long.
  • Overall Body: I observe for any undue weight loss or gain by feeling the ribs and looking at body shape.

Mobility Assessment

Observing my dog’s movements is key. I watch as we play and walk, noting any limping, stiffness, or reluctance to jump and run as usual. Any change here can be a signal that something’s off.

Why It Matters

This daily ritual doesn’t just keep my dog in tip-top health; it strengthens our bond. Every nose-to-tail check is a chance to show I care, to reassure my best pal that I’m looking out for them. Plus, catching any issues early can make a world of difference, saving us from potential heartache and costly vet visits down the line.

Incorporating this physical examination into our daily routine has become not just a task, but a moment we both look forward to. It’s amazing how such simple acts of care can speak volumes, telling my dog, “I’ve got your back,” in ways words never could.

Checking Ears, Eyes, and Mouth

When it comes to performing a daily health check on my furry best friend, paying special attention to their ears, eyes, and mouth is crucial. This seems like a simple task, but it’s vital for catching any signs of discomfort or potential health issues early on. Let’s jump into what I specifically look for during these checks.


A dog’s ears are quite telling. Here’s what I typically do:

  • Gently lift each ear to check for redness, discharge, or a foul odor
  • Look for any signs of discomfort when touching the ears which might indicate an infection
  • Keep an eye out for excessive wax buildup or any foreign objects hidden inside

Pro Tip: Dogs with floppy ears tend to be more susceptible to ear infections. Regular checks are particularly important for these pups.


Next, the eyes. Clear and bright eyes are generally a good sign of health. During my inspections, I:

  • Ensure there’s no redness, swelling, or continuous discharge
  • Check for any cloudiness or changes in eye color, which could point to underlying health issues
  • Make note of excessive tearing or squinting


A healthy mouth is key to a healthy dog. Here’s my routine:

  • Lift the lips to inspect the gums; they should be pink, not white or red, and show no signs of swelling
  • Check the teeth for any buildup of plaque or tartar and take note of bad breath, which can indicate dental problems
  • Look for any sores or wounds inside the mouth, which could be uncomfortable for my dog

Performing these checks doesn’t only help me catch potential health issues early, but it also strengthens the bond between me and my dog. Plus, it’s a great way to ensure my pup is as healthy and happy as can be.

Monitoring Eating and Drinking Habits

In my daily routine with my furry friend, monitoring their eating and drinking habits takes a front seat. It’s a vital part of ensuring they’re not only healthy but thriving. You might wonder, what’s so important about keeping a close eye on how much or how little they consume? Well, let me jump into the details.

First off, a sudden change in appetite is often the first indicator that something might be awry. Whether they’re gobbling down their meals faster than a squirrel on a sugar rush or turning their nose up at food they usually adore, it’s a sign for me to pay closer attention.

Here are a few things I always look out for:

  • Consistency in appetite from day to day
  • Changes in drinking habits
  • Preference shifts in food or water

Maintaining a food diary has been a game-changer for me. It sounds a bit over the top, I know, but hear me out. Noting down what and how much they eat along with their water intake has made it so much easier to spot any abnormal patterns. Plus, it’s a great tool to have at my fingertips during vet visits.

Hydration, much like with us humans, is crucial for our pets. I keep a keen eye on how much water they drink. Too little could signal dehydration, while guzzling water like there’s no tomorrow might indicate other health issues. I ensure their water bowl is always clean and filled with fresh water, as this can heavily influence their drinking habits.

Finally, I’ve noticed that stress can significantly impact their eating and drinking behavior. Changes in our household routine or the introduction of a new family member (pet or human) can throw them off-kilter. Keeping their environment as stress-free as possible is key, and when changes are unavoidable, I do my best to ease them into it gently.

Observing and understanding my dog’s eating and drinking patterns has taught me so much about their health and well-being. It’s a window into their physical state, offering clues that might easily be missed otherwise. By staying vigilant, I’m not just being a nosey pet parent; I’m taking an active role in maintaining their health and happiness.


Taking a few moments each day to check on my furry friend’s eating and drinking habits has become a crucial part of our routine. It’s more than just a health check; it’s a bonding experience that reassures me of their well-being. Keeping a food diary and being mindful of their hydration levels are simple yet effective ways to ensure they’re happy and healthy. Remember, small changes can be big indicators. So, let’s stay observant and keep our pets thriving.


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