6 Features of Healthy Pets

We all hope to have healthy pets, but since your pet can't tell you when he or she is feeling sick, you have to make that decision on your own. Knowing what your pet looks like and how it behaves when it is healthy is the best way to tell when something has changed and it may be getting sick. You might be looking to adopt a new pet and you need to know how to select a healthy one. While each species has different things to look for, here are some of the general signs of a healthy pet. 

1. Healthy Pets Are Alert and Active

Each pet, from snakes to dogs, will have its own personality, and may not be as active as another pet of the same type. However, most pets will be alert to your presence, and pets like birds, cats and dogs will move around and interact with you easily. If your pet is listless, sleeping more than is normal, refuses to get up or suddenly becomes aggressive, this could be a sign that something is wrong.

2. Healthy Pets Have Clear Eyes

Eyes are an important indicator of health. They should be clear of secretions and cloudiness and the inner eyelid should not be visible. Your pet should be able to quickly find you with his or her eyes. Remember that cats and dogs in particular have very good hearing, so if they are suffering from clouded vision or blindness, they might not show it as much as a human would.

3. Healthy Pets Have Clean Ears

Debris quickly builds up in the ear if there is something wrong, like an infection or an infestation of parasites. A healthy pet will have clean ears that are a normal skin color, not red or irritated.

4. Healthy Pets Have No Trouble Breathing

While dogs do pant in hot weather, panting for no reason could be a sign of distress in many pets. Your pet's breathing should be quiet and relatively even. Your pet should have a moist but not wet nose, that is free of secretions. A runny nose can be a symptom of a serious condition.

5. Healthy Pets Have Clean Teeth

Many dogs and cats are vulnerable to tooth decay because of their diets. Your pet's teeth should have little or no plaque (yellow crust) on them. They should have relatively fresh breath. Red gums are another sign of potential tooth problems. Normal gums will be a bright pink.

6. Healthy Pets Have Beautiful Coats

Hair, feathers and skin are one of the first things to suffer when a pet becomes unhealthy. A healthy pet will have bright, thick and shiny hair, with no unexplained bald patches or excessive shedding. It should also be clean and free of parasites. Black grains of dirt in your pet's hair are a sign of fleas, which can also indicate worms.

Pets do not always show obvious signs of illness, so learning what a healthy pet should look like is the quickest way to determine how it feels. Observing your pet when it is healthy will eventually help you to figure out if it becomes ill, and then you can get it help as quickly as possible.