There are many factors that can help you assess whether your dog is thriving or not. The following will help you get a sense of what to expect when a dog is living its optimal life.
A dog that is thriving should have a shiny, soft coat. When you pet them, you shouldn’t come away with an excess of oily residue on your hands. While they will still shed according to the dictates of their breed, the shedding is usually reduced. The skin will be supple and in good condition, and it will be free from hot spots, allergies, and excessive itchiness.
When a dog is in optimal health, its eyes are clear and bright and not weepy.
A dog with a strong, balanced immune system doesn’t suffer from flea and tick infestations, even when you don’t use conventional flea and tick preventives (such as Frontline). While they may pick up a flea or tick every once in a while, particularly in areas where those insects abound, it never gets out of balance.
A dog that is at the peak of health is lean and muscular. When you look down at them from above, you should be able to see a narrowing in their waist. When you touch them, you should be able to easily feel their ribs. Additionally, they don’t have excess fat on their chest or back.
A healthy, vital dog’s teeth are sparkling white and clean, and they don’t have bad breath.
A dog that is balanced and thriving doesn’t have a “doggy odor”—in fact, they don’t have much, if any, smell at all!
Stool and Anal Glands
A thriving dog has small, dense, compact stools, and they move their bowels less frequently than a dog that isn’t thriving. Because they have to strain a bit to defecate, their anal glands are kept clean, clear, and in good working order—without frequent trips to the vet or groomer to have their anal glands cleared.
Dogs that are truly healthy are neither lethargic nor hyperactive, but instead have an appropriate amount of energy for their breed, age, and individual character.
Healthy, thriving dogs have incredible mental capabilities. Their brains can function at their optimal level, right along with their bodies and their spirits, which means they are extraordinarily perceptive and able to focus.
When dogs are properly supported, they have lots of endurance within the parameters of their individual and breed characteristics. This is especially nice for performance dogs, such as agility, show, hunting, and other working dogs.
Dogs that are flourishing do so even when they’re what society terms “senior”—8, 9, 10, 11, and beyond! They still have energy, are mentally sharp, and exhibit all the other qualities of a thriving dog.