Your puppy seems to have boundless energy, loves to play, and overall seems happy and healthy, but how can you truly know that your puppy is healthy? If you ever found yourself wondering “how to check if a puppy is healthy” and thought about “how to keep a puppy healthy,” then this guide will help you navigate these early months and years of dog ownership.
In general, a puppy isn’t considered an adult dog until they are one or two years old. But you might find that your dog acts like a puppy for many years after they’re considered an adult. (We know plenty of adults with childlike energy—or tendencies!—so why wouldn’t it happen for our dogs?)
8 Signs Your Puppy is Healthy
Here are some ways you can tell your puppy is healthy.
A healthy puppy is friendly.
A healthy puppy will often have a positive temperament and be friendly toward people, other dogs, and even mild-mannered children.
A healthy puppy is happy.
One of the reasons we gush over puppies is that these adorable creatures are just so darn happy. A healthy puppy is energetic, inquisitive (sorry, shoes!), enthusiastic, and loves exploring new surroundings.
A healthy puppy is hungry.
When your pup is healthy, they should have a good appetite and finish all of their food in the day—whether it’s in one sitting or throughout the day. (Although wet food should be consumed within 30 minutes) After they’ve had their regular meal for the morning or evening, you can offer them treats, like our Old Mother Hubbard Training Bitz.
A healthy puppy eliminates appropriately.
Yes, you might still be working out the house training kinks for a bit but your dog should be urinating and pooping throughout the day. A dog’s stools tell a lot about a puppy’s health. They should be consistent and firm. You’ll get an idea of how often your dog eliminates after meals and what they look like so you’ll know when your puppy is “off” and might be sick.
A healthy puppy is growing.
While you want to make sure you aren’t overdoing it with the dog food portions and treats—your veterinarian can shed some light on your puppy’s optimal nutrition—you want to make sure your dog isn’t losing weight or gaining too much. A healthy puppy is one that’s gaining weight that’s appropriate to his or her age and breed and is at a healthy weight.
A healthy puppy’s ears don’t smell.
One sign that your dog is healthy is that its ears are clean, free of gunk, and don’t smell. An ear infection could make your puppy smell funny so if you notice any stinky dog smells—that aren’t a result of rolling in something!—check their ears and call the vet if you suspect an issue.
A healthy puppy has a nice coat.
Your puppy’s coat should be shiny and look healthy. If they have any bald spots or your dog is frequently scratching at their coat or skin, those are signs that they need help.
A healthy puppy’s teeth are in good shape.
One more way how to check if a puppy is healthy is to look inside their mouths. They should have shiny, pink gums, white teeth, and decent breath. If their gums are brown or black they could be having an issue with tartar. It’s normal for a puppy’s deciduous teeth to start falling out after they’re 12 weeks old. His or her puppy teeth should all have shed by around six months old and their permanent teeth will be in. Give your puppy a head start in dental health.
Take our treat quiz to find your puppy’s perfect snack.