8 Common Dog Health Problems
Your dog is your loyal friend, and caring for them is your responsibility. While caring for your canine friend can minimize their risk of health issues, some of them might still occur. Being intentional about your dog’s health is an excellent way to keep them healthy and happy. Familiarize yourself with the diseases your pet is likely to suffer, know their signs, and what you can do to prevent them or help your dog should they get sick. Additionally, regular vet visits for wellness examinations can help detect any health issues before they escalate. This article outlines eight common dog health problems.
1. Skin diseases
Skin diseases are a significant concern for most pet owners. Your canine friend can suffer many skin conditions, so the signs vary widely. These diseases may include allergic reactions to their food or environment. When dogs suffer from allergies, the constant itching sensation causes them to frequently scratch themselves, resulting in scabbing or wounds. To determine whether your dog is suffering from a skin disease, look for excessive scratching, inflammation, flaky skin, skin biting, texture changes, hair loss, scabs, redness, and bumps and lumps.
If your dog still itches even after switching to hypoallergenic dog food, consider visiting the veterinarian for further diagnosis. Other skin problems in dogs may include allergic dermatitis, folliculitis, impetigo, seborrhea, ringworm, mange, fleas, ticks, Acral lick granuloma, and more. While most skin issues aren’t an emergency, getting an accurate diagnosis is vital to treating the condition. If the skin disease signs worsen, see the vet immediately.
2. Ear infections
Ear infections are common in dogs, mainly the floppy-eared ones like Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds. There are three ear infection types: media, interna, and otitis externa. Otitis externa is the most common inflammation affecting the cells’ lining layer of the ear canal’s external portion. Interna is an infection impacting the inner ear canal, while otitis media affects the middle ear. These infections are usually caused by spreading infections from the external ear. Interna and otitis media can be very severe, causing facial paralysis, deafness, and vestibular signs.
This is why finding ways to prevent these infections and seeking treatment on time is essential. While some pets don’t show ear infection symptoms besides wax buildup and discharge in the ear canal, others may show signs like head shaking, dark discharge, scratching the affected ear, odor, pain, itchiness, scabs or crusting in the ears, and swelling and redness of the ear canal.
Dog vomiting may be caused by dietary indiscretion, also called poor canine judgment. While it may not be a cause for concern, vomiting could be a symptom of a severe or life-threatening condition requiring immediate medical attention by a veterinarian. If your dog vomits more than once a day or for several days, you should see the vet immediately.
Chronic dog vomiting could signify infectious diseases, dietary allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, metabolic disease, and cancer. Additionally, suppose vomiting is accompanied by loss of appetite, change in urination frequency, thirst changes, blood in stool or vomit, severe or unusual lethargy, diarrhea, collapse, white or pale gums, abdominal pain, or weight loss. In that case, you should promptly seek medical assistance.
4. Urinary tract infection
Urinary tract infections or bladder infections can be caused by crystals, bacteria, or diseases such as diabetes. Some medications may also cause these infections in your dog. Some common urinary tract infection signs you might spot are difficulties or pain urinating, increased urination frequency, blood in the urine, strong-smelling or cloudy urine, reduced urine quantity, whimpering when urinating, fever, licking of the genital area, increased thirst and lack of energy.
If your dog shows any of these signs, get them checked by a vet immediately because these infections are painful and uncomfortable. Antibiotics are the main treatment for bladder infections, but the vet can sometimes prescribe painkillers or anti-inflammatory medications based on the underlying cause or severity.
5. Dental or gum disease
While dental diseases are a common dog health issue, the signs might not be so obvious. It’s up to you and your vet to discover and treat them on time. Periodontal disease is a common dental disease in dogs. It’s an infection and inflammation of the periodontium. Dogs with severe gum disease experience problems picking up food, red or bleeding gums, loose teeth, and bad breath.
You may also notice blood on chew toys or in the water bowl, lumps or bumps in the mouth, ropey or bloody saliva, nasal discharge, or sneezing. To prevent gum disease, brush your canine friend’s teeth daily, take them for regular oral cleanings and exams, feed them quality food, and provide safe treats and toys for daily chewing.
Pet obesity is an epidemic, with 64% of pugs diagnosed as obese. While obesity is a significant health issue for dogs, it’s often an overlooked health concern. It has severe health consequences, including chronic kidney disease, arthritis, urinary tract or bladder disease, diabetes, low thyroid hormone production, liver disease, high blood pressure, heart failure, and cancer. Obese dogs have excess weight gain and body fat, high body condition score, and unwillingness or inability to exercise.
Obesity may be a result of dogs consuming more calories than they burn. It may also become common as your furry friend ages due to the reduced body movement or exercises. Obesity may also be caused by hypothyroidism, insulinoma, hyperadrenocorticism, and neutering. It can be treated through diet or exercise.
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint or several joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common arthritis form in dogs and is also called degenerative joint disease. The disease is common in senior dogs and may also occur due to congenital disorders such as hip dysplasia or old injuries. However, osteoarthritis is manageable, and your vet can advise you on the best possible options.
Dog diarrhea is common and may be caused by eating spoiled food or garbage, diet or treat changes, ingestion of poisons or toxins, medications, parasites, food intolerance, and more. In severe cases, dehydration may occur, resulting in weakness, collapse, and exercise intolerance. Get your pet checked to rule out any underlying health issues and get the proper treatment.
As a pet owner, you are responsible for caring for your canine friend to reduce the risk of getting sick. Familiarize yourself with these common dog health problems.