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What Makes a Healthy Puppy?

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Nutrition, exercise, dental care, ear care, proper grooming, and training are all important in keeping a puppy healthy.
  • Proper nutrition includes choosing a healthy puppy food and feeding them frequently.
  • Exercise is essential to prevent obesity and serious conditions that come with it.
  • Regular grooming is crucial to maintain a healthy coat and bond with your puppy.
  • Signs of a healthy puppy include clear eyes and ears, good coat condition, healthy nose and mouth, regular bowel movements, and healthy weight.
Written by Khalil
Khalil is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Highly educated researcher and DVM with extensive experience in Clinical VetMedicine, Veterinary Nano Medicine, and Preventive Veterinary Medicine.
Published on
Thursday 4 June 2020
Last updated on
Monday 15 May 2023
what makes a healthy puppy
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It is no secret that humanity loves puppies. We love them; you love them; everyone loves them! And for a thing as loveable as a puppy, it is imperative that you know how to keep a puppy healthy.

Keeping a puppy healthy is not an easy job. It requires care, consideration, and a vigilant eye. Ideally, you should ask your vet all about caring for puppies and they should answer your questions thoroughly. However, we don’t always have time to go to our vet. Moreover, it is not an excuse to skip on educating yourself as it is your responsibility to keep your pup healthy and happy.

How to Keep a Puppy Healthy?

To keep a puppy healthy, you should ensure:

  • Proper nutrition
  • Optimal exercise
  • Good dental hygiene
  • Ear care
  • Proper grooming
  • Training
  • Vaccination
  • Deworming

You have bought a puppy and now you are looking to enjoy his company for as long as possible. Great! But now is also the time to know the ins and outs of puppy care. Let’s take a look at all of the factors mentioned above.


Nutrition is the single biggest factor in puppy care A pup who is on a well-rounded, balanced diet will ultimately live longer and happier than a pup who is on a subpar one. To make sure your pup isn’t the latter, choose a healthy puppy food from a reputable supplier. If you are not sure what you should get, then ask your vet he will point you in the right direction.

Don’t just go around buying whatever dog food you come across as puppies can’t, for the most part, eat food that is meant for adult dogs. Puppy feeding has its special requirements that directly correspond to their age. In addition to choosing the right food, remember that puppies need to be fed quite often. And while we are on the subject of feeding, provide your pup with ample water and a clean dish to eat from as well.


What would happen if your beloved dog eats a super nutritious diet but engages in no physical activity? They will, obviously, get fat. And we know what happens when a dog is overweight. They can’t walk properly, the immune system suffers, and the dog ends up in all sorts of trouble.

Among these troubles are heart diseases, diabetes, and arthritis. These are pretty serious conditions and several studies have pointed out obesity as the main culprit of these problems. To make sure that doesn’t happen to your dog, start providing your pup opportunities for physical activities from a young age. Walk and play with them daily. Essentially, engage in activities that will let your pup exercise his body.

Dental Care

When we talk about the health and well-being of a pup, we can’t ignore dental care. Alas, most pet parents never give due importance to the dental hygiene of their dogs which is a shame. Poor oral health results in premature teeth loss and several other complications. The following are a few of the ways you can ensure good dental hygiene of your pup:

  • Get your pup to be comfortable with brushing from a young age
  • Once the pup is 6 months or above, start using a soft rubber brush and dog toothpaste to clean his teeth. Start small and increase the frequency to about 3 times per week

In addition to brushing, provide chew toys. While teething, pups bite everything in sight. In such a situation having a chew toy can be handy as it can provide your pup something to bite on. Another advantage of a chew toy is that it helps in cleaning the teeth of the pup. A word of caution here: Don’t give young pups things like bones and hoofs to chew. Their teeth are still soft enough to get damaged permanently.

Ear Care

Ears are another area that people overlook while cleaning their pups. We am here to advise against that. If you ignore your dog’s ears for too long, the wax and dirt build-up can result in bacteria infections which can affect the hearing and, in more serious cases, can permanently affect hearing. To clean a dog’s ears:

  • Take an ear cleanser for pets and apply a handsome amount on your pup’s ears
  • After applying the cleanser, gently rub his ears for a short time
  • Lastly, take a cotton ball and clean the excess solution

While ear cleaning, make sure you don’t use swabs and such. Never insert anything in your dog’s ear canal or you can risk damaging the eardrums which can result in hearing loss.


One of the signs of a healthy pup is that it has an excellent coat. But while your pup may have an excellent coat in the start, if left unattended, the coat can lose its luster and become rough. So, to ensure this doesn’t happen to your dog, groom your dog regularly.

grooming a puppy
Groom your puppy regularly to keep it healthy!

Grooming generally includes combing the fur to resolve any knots and reduce matting. It is also pretty relaxing for a dog and provides a great opportunity for a bond to develop between you and him.

From restoring shine to the coat to encouraging increased blood flow, grooming improves every aspect of your puppy’s appearance. Moreover, if you start early when your puppy is still a few months old, they will get used to grooming and you won’t have much trouble later on. In short, groom almost every other day and keep doing it for as long as your pup’s with you.


Last but not the least, train your pup. Here, some of you might ask why and how to train a puppy? First, let me answer the why. When a dog is growing up, it is much easier to teach them simple commands. There are situations when you need to control your dog. For instance, assume you’re walking your dog when the leash breaks. If your dog isn’t trained, then this could soon turn ugly. But if you have trained your pooch, you can curtail the situation without breaking a sweat.

Another reason why you might want to train your dog is to teach him some manners. Dogs are pretty impulsive when it comes to biting stuff. You never know what or who they are going to bite. And as you can imagine, this could easily take the form of an unfortunate accident. So, training your dog teaches them manners and restraint. When it comes to training your dog, there are 2 methods:

  • Take everything in your own hand and start training your dog
  • Get the help of a certified trainer or behaviorist

Each of the above approaches has its advantages and disadvantages and even then, they are pretty subjective. In short, it is your call to make. The health of a puppy doesn’t only depend on his genes. Many issues related to a puppy’s health arise due to neglect and poor hygiene. It is your role as a pet parent to take these things into consideration. Raising a puppy is rewarding but you also need to take up these responsibilities and look after the needs of your furry friend.


Puppies receive different kinds of vaccines at different stages of their lives. These core and non-core vaccines help prevent early onset and even fatal diseases in dogs. Some dogs that are vaccinated can still acquire the disease but it will not be as detrimental as to those who are not vaccinated.


Deworming dogs can improve their health internally and externally. Removing these parasites can help prevent causing skin and organ diseases in your dog. Deworming your dog can also prevent spreading any kind of diseases among your family members.

training a puppy
Training your pup teaches it manners and restraint.

Signs Of A Healthy Puppy

You don’t need your vet to tell you about the signs of a healthy puppy. Why? Well, there are pretty clear signs associated with deteriorating health. These signs often give you a pretty clear idea as to how well your pup is doing. From bald patches on the coat to tar on gums, paying attention to these little signs can make a world of difference. Keep an eye out for the following signs and if you spot anything out of the ordinary, contact your vet as soon as possible.

Eyes and Ears

One of the major signs of puppy health problems is eye and ear problems. If you notice something unusual about the eyes or the ears of your pup, the sooner you contact the vet the better.

When it comes to eyes, keep a close watch on the following things:

  • Any swelling or redness
  • The eyes of your pup should be clear, active (read: bright), and free from any discharge. More importantly, there shouldn’t be any deformity in the eye’s structure

For ears, look out for:

  • Any odor. If there is any odor, that means there’s an infection and you should talk to your vet about it
  • Redness. Some redness around the ear is often the first sign of an ear infection
  • Discharge. If you notice any discharge from the ear, it is not only a serious hygiene problem, it can also be indicative of an ear disease

Both eye and ear problems can indicate much larger issues. So, don’t ignore them. As soon as you spot them, hit your vet.

Nose and Mouth

The next body parts you need to examine are the nose and the mouth. While monitoring these parts, pay special attention to their condition.

For the nose, check if there’s any discharge from it. If there is, then your pup might be suffering from flue or some other form of viral infection. In addition to the discharge, note if there is any soreness.

When it comes to the mouth, the first thing you should note is the smell. This is the biggest indicator of oral health. Poor oral hygiene produces a bad odor. So, if you feel like your pup could use some mint, it’s time to call the vet. Make sure you don’t give your pup some mint. The ASPCA says that mint is poisonous for dogs.

nose health for puppies
Regularly check your pup’s nose to make sure your puppy is healthy!


A healthy dog has a healthy coat. So what does a healthy coat look like? A healthy coat is shiny, dense, and silky. It doesn’t have conditions like rough or dry patches nor does it display any balding. And you know the drill: any of the above-mentioned issues, you go straight to the vet.


Bodies, no matter human or animal, are pretty amazing things. They tell you about their condition if you know where to look. For pups, bodies mostly reveal the crucial info by way of bowel movements.

If you are giving your pup healthy puppy food but in spite of this, there is a considerable irregularity and notable changes in the bowel movements of your puppy, then there might be something wrong with their digestive system. If they display diarrhea or vomiting, contact the vet immediately, and explain the situation.


Lastly, you should carefully monitor the weight of your pup. Puppies, from the moment they are born, are curious. They love to run and play around. Owing to this high activity level, a healthy puppy can’t be overweight.

On the other hand, if your pup has difficulty moving or running, he might either be overweight or there can be some other problem. Whatever the case may be, don’t forget to ask your vet for nutritional advice.

How to Make Your Puppy Healthy – FAQs

The information written above may be enough for some folks but some of you may still have questions. We have tried to answer some of the more pressing questions down below so be sure to take a look.

How do you Keep a Puppy Healthy?

Here’s how to keep your puppy healthy:

  • Make sure you give your puppy a healthy, nutritious meal. At first, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of brands there are but it is best if you ask your vet for advice. Your vet can suggest a healthy puppy food that will be perfect for that particular age
  • Do not compromise on the hygiene of your pup. Take the time to wash, groom, and clean your pup. Regular cleaning and grooming prevents dirt build-up and also keeps the coat shiny and spotless
  • We all love dogs but there are people who don’t and the main reason for that are ill-trained dogs. Start training your pup from an early age. Teach him some basic commands and proper manners. You never know when you might need to use them, and trust us, these commands do come in handy
  • A body needs physical activity to stay fit. This holds true for pups as well. Pups need regular physical activity. So, play with them and do take them along on walks. Essentially, provide them plenty of opportunities to stretch their legs
  • Regular Checkups. In addition to you, your pup’s best friend is the vet. So, take him to see his best friend often

How do you Pick a Puppy From a Litter?

The only thing you need to do to pick the right puppy from a litter is to pay attention to what is going on inside the litter. Firstly, figure out what you need. Do you need an active, playful puppy or do you need a more docile one? Aggressive or calm? Answering these questions is the key to choosing the right pup.

Once you have decided what kind of a pup you want, it’s time to watch them play. Pay attention here. If you want a docile pup, spot a quiet one that isn’t interested in playing that much. The next step is to see the health condition of the pup you have chosen. In short, take a look at these things:

  • A shiny coat without any rough or bald patches
  • Clear, bright eyes
  • Healthy gums and odorless breath
  • Equally-distributed weight on all four legs

These things will give you a good idea about the overall health of the pup. Always ask many questions to the breeder to make sure they are knowledgeable.

What Should I Look for When Buying a Puppy?

When buying a puppy should look for the following things:

1. Your Preference

The first thing you need to look at is your preference in terms of the breed and character of your dog. This is always the first step in choosing a pup.

2. Reputable Breeder

There are 3 kinds of breeders:

  • Those who breed for shows and sports
  • Home-breeders
  • Puppy mills, puppy farms, and backyard breeders

Never buy from puppy mills or “backyard breeders”. These breeders breed solely for profit and don’t care for the general health and well being of the breed. As a result, most puppies bought from backyard breeders have serious health concerns.

On the other hand, while it is much safer to buy from people who breed dogs for shows, it may not be your only option. Sometimes going the route of home-breeders or adopting may better serve your needs. Just do your research.

3. Health

Once you have figured out what you want, go to a reputable breeder and look at the breeds of your choice. Keep the signs of a healthy puppy in mind and evaluate potential pups. A healthy puppy will not only live longer, but it will also live happily.

What is the Best Vitamin for Puppies?

Puppies need many important vitamins and minerals for proper growth. Among these vitamins, Vitamin E is an important one as it aids in the development of a strong immune system. Aside from vitamins, young pups also need minerals like Selenium, Calcium, and Phosphorus for the proper functioning of their bodies.

Ideally, all these vitamins and minerals should already be present in the diet. But if you are not sure if your pup’s diet contains the adequate amount of these chemicals, you can consult your vet about what makes a healthy puppy and employing supplements that can help make your puppy’s diet more wholesome.

Purchasing a healthy puppy from a moral breeder is helps to put finances towards ethical breeding. Furthermore, maintaining the care of your new puppy should be every owners first concern. Hopefully now you are more knowledgeable and feel prepared to do so.

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