Top 10 Dog Health Problems and Solutions
Is your pet constantly thirsty? Limping? Itchy? Perhaps he’s lethargic and bad-tempered. Unsure of what’s ailing your pet? It isn’t hard to self-diagnose and learn about basic dog health problems and solutions. All you need is a good place to start.
So, what are the most common dog illnesses? Let’s look into how these health concerns can be identified, prevented, and treated.
10 Common Health Problems in Dogs
Arthritis is at the top 10 most common dog diseases. According to the Arthritis Foundation, almost all older dogs suffer from arthritis in at least one joint. The most common form of arthritis that affects dogs is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease. Signs of osteoarthritis include pain when touched, muscle wasting around the spine and legs, lethargy, irritability, and limping.
Osteoarthritis or arthritis, in general, is easily treatable. You can successfully manage canine arthritis with a nutritious diet, non-steroidal pain medications, weight control, massages, low-impact exercise, and physical rehabilitation.
2. Food Poisoning
Canines are curious by nature, especially when it comes to food. From fruits and vegetables to meats and household items, there are some foods that your dog can eat, and several foods that your dog cannot eat. It is, therefore, no surprise that they are susceptible to food poisoning. Your dog may have ingested something that doesn’t suit its system.
The symptoms of food poisoning often depend on what your dog has ingested. However, the most common indications are excessive drooling, loss of appetite, rashes at the site of contact, seizures, and labored breathing.
If you suspect that your dog has a severe case of food poisoning, contact the Pet Poison Control Hotline for immediate assistance. Try to induce vomiting in your dog if they haven’t thrown up already. If, at any point, your dog starts to vomit water or shows signs of lack of energy, take them to your local veterinarian right away.
3. Dental Problems
While dental infections such as tartar and gingivitis are quite common in younger canines, older dogs face problems such as loose teeth and shrinking gums.
80% Of Dogs Show Some Sign Of Dental Disease By The Age Of Two.
The symptoms of dental disease include bad breath, drastic changes in appetite, blood or pus discharge formation, bad temper, discolored teeth, and lumps within the mouth. If left unattended, these concerns can result in increasingly severe health problems such as periodontal diseases, abscess formation, kidney failure, and heart disease.
Treatment of dental problems begins with prevention. Incorporating an effective dental regime into your dog’s daily routine can help your pet steer clear of all tooth-related concerns. Annual oral exams by your local veterinarian can also help detect possible concerns at the earliest.
Urinary tract infections are common bacterial infections that most pet parents chalk up to behavioral issues or lack of training. However, dogs or pups may develop UTIs as a result of underlying medical conditions.
The symptoms of UTIs include frequent urination, fever, high thirst levels, blood in urine, fatigue, and lethargy. These symptoms are also associated with other medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, bladder stones, or urinary blockages. UTI’s specifically affect dogs with weak immune systems.
Urinary tract infections require your vet to run a urinalysis on your dog. After the UTI has been verified, the vet will set your dog on an 8 to 10-day course of antibiotics. As your dog recovers, take it upon yourself to ensure your canine stays sufficiently hydrated to help flush out the bacteria in their system.
5. Ear Infections
Ear infections often cause dogs to scratch their ears and shake their heads violently. Sometimes, you may notice debris within the ear canal or an ear discharge that leaves a bad odor.
If Your Dog Has Floppy Ears, The Risk Of Developing Ear Infections Is Significantly Higher.
In severe situations, ear infections can cause skin complications and loss of hearing too. Inflammation, loss of balance, abnormal eye movements, tilting of the head, loss of hearing, and constant scratching at the ears are the more noticeable symptoms of infections in dogs.
Ear infections require approved medical treatment. In severe cases, your dog will need to undergo a thorough ear canal cleaning. Periodic check-ins with your veterinarian can help prevent the problem altogether.
6. Skin Allergies
Dogs are more prone to skin allergies than they are to food allergies. From parasites to seasonal changes, there are a variety of reasons your dog may develop skin allergies.
Thankfully, skin allergies are easy to identify, especially due to the obvious discomfort your dog experiences—inflamed, red, scaly, or flaky skin and bald patches.
Do also keep an eye out for less obvious signs like itchy ears, hives, inflammation, nausea, diarrhea, and sneezing. Any sign of altered behavior can be a forewarning.
Sometimes medicated baths, supplements, and flea control treatments are enough to put your dog at ease. However, if the allergy is severe, consult with your local veterinarian to help shortlist a treatment plan for your pet.
A fit of nausea may also accompany diarrhea. The causes of the two, however, are quite similar. Your dog may experience diarrhea when exposed to viral infections, stress, parasites, dietary changes, exercise intolerance, or metabolic diseases.
While one or two diarrhea episodes are not considered an emergency, continuous diarrhea can be quite dangerous as it can cause dehydration. Watch out for symptoms such as drastic weight loss, watery stools, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
The key to treating diarrhea is a change of diet. Consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s nutritional needs and continue to feed your dog according to the instructions given to you. Switch to a low-fat, bland diet with limited ingredients until your dog’s tummy has settled.
What is the number one health problem among dogs, especially older dogs? Of all the hearing and vision impairments that can affect dogs, cataract is a major cause for concern, especially in senior dogs.
A cataract is developed when the eye lens begins to cloud due to changes in the lens’s water balance or protein levels. It may appear like a white disk behind your dog’s iris. Although cataracts are mostly hereditary, keep an eye out for any changes in sleep patterns, eye motions, pupil responses, and vision.
No specific pill or eye drop can reverse the effects of cataracts. However, as with humans, animals can have cataract surgery to restore their sight. Consult with your veterinary ophthalmologist to help determine if your dog is a good candidate for this form of surgical treatment.
Ticks are parasites that latch onto animal bodies and feed on their blood. In doing so, ticks transmit diseases and infections to the animals. The effect of ticks on dogs can range from mild irritation to full-blown health problems like Lyme disease, paralysis, and lameness.
Although every tick-borne disease has characteristic symptoms, most of them have similar flu-like symptoms from the get-go. These include loss of appetite, fever, swollen lymph nodes, lethargy, vomiting, stiffness in bone joints, and diarrhea.
Early detection and treatment are crucial to avoiding complications and transmission to humans. The most effective treatment for ticks is administering a broad-spectrum antibiotic. You can consult your veterinarian for recommendations of oral or topical tick preventive products.
Dogs who are overweight are more likely to develop major health concerns such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses. Not to mention, they experience a higher mortality rate as well.
Between A Third or 40% Of Dogs Are Considered To Be Obese Or Overweight.
Obesity is subject to a dog’s age, breed disposition, neutering, and nutrition. However, the symptoms are the same. Lack of stamina, inability or unwillingness to exercise, difficulty breathing, excess body fat are signs of obesity.
Obesity is reversible by switching your dog to a lighter diet with a stricter feeding schedule under your veterinarian’s supervision. Additionally, an increase in exercise will help aid the weight loss process and produce faster results.
The List Of Dog Disease Or Medical Conditions May Be Lengthy, But That Doesn’t Mean That They’re Difficult To Deal With.
With proper guidance from a medical professional and early action, your dog will be well on the path to recovery!
Are Some Dogs More Prone to Illness?
Mutts are often considered to be healthier than pure breeds. Similarly, smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger breeds. However, no law states that a certain breed won’t be susceptible to certain conditions. Nevertheless, the dog breeds with the worst health problems include Cocker Spaniels, Bulldogs, Pugs, and German Shepherds.
How to Treat When Your Dog is Sick?
If you are a first-time pet parent, you might wonder, what are the symptoms of a sick dog?
It’s not always easy to identify the warning signs of illness in your dog, so keep an eye out for the more subtle signs that can lead to potential problems.
Here are some signs indicating that your dog may be falling sick:
- Foul-smelling breath or drooling
- Water intake or urination is excessive
- Changes in appetite, including weight loss or gain
- Reduced activity levels
- Movement-related difficulties
- Altered behavior or change in sleep patterns
- Coughing, sneezing, unusual panting, or difficulty breathing
- Sores or lumps and dry or itchy skin
- Unusual bowel movements
- Dry, cloudy, or red eyes
If you observe any of the symptoms mentioned above, focus on relaxing and calming your dog. Keep them occupied and comfortable, whether it is with a warm sponge bath or cuddles. Make them feel safe and cared for. Then, get in touch with your vet and ask for an in-person consultation.
Dogs May Not Be Our Whole Lives, But They Make Our Lives Whole
Next, work with your vet to figure out the best treatment procedure for your sick dog. And once you start, don’t forget to closely monitor and record the changes in symptoms they are experiencing. This will help you and the vet gauge how your pet is responding to the treatment.
No two dogs are alike. Some dog owners may attribute dog health problems due to breeding, while some may ascribe it to sheer negligence. While health concerns in canines vary from dog to dog, at the end of the day, what matters is detecting warning signs early on and setting your dog on the road to recovery.
With our comprehensive list of dog health problems and solutions, we hope you can do just that!