12 Common Dog Health Problems and How to Prevent Them
It's no surprise that dogs are considered part of the family, and we always wanted to best for them!
However, they can suffer from some health problems just like us.
In this article, let us explore the 12 most common health issues that can affect our furry friends, including ways to avoid or prevent them!
Fleas and Ticks
Do you know about fleas and ticks and the health risks they can cause dogs?
Fleas are tiny blood-sucking insects that can cause skin irritation and even transmit diseases such as tapeworms. Ticks are also parasites that feed on blood and can spread Lyme disease.
To protect your pup, it is essential to:
- keep its environment clean
- vacuum regularly
- and groom them often.
If your pup spends so much time playing outdoors, make sure to check them for fleas and ticks afterward, as they can easily get them from outside. If you find anything on your dog, you should treat them quickly with a flea and tick preventative or with other products recommended by your vet.
Are you aware of the danger of heartworm in dogs?
It's a parasitic roundworm called Dirofilaria immitis transmitted through mosquito bites. A mosquito bites a dog and injects larvae into the dog's bloodstream, which migrate to the heart and develop into adult worms up to 30 cm long.
Symptoms include the following:
- difficulty breathing
- weight loss
- decreased appetite
If heartworms are left untreated, your dog could suffer from heart failure that could eventually result in their death. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent heartworm.
Dogs should receive regular testing and preventive medications from their vets, and it's recommended to keep them indoors and use mosquito repellents when they're outdoors.
Year-round prevention is especially important in areas where mosquitoes are active.
It's a contagious virus affecting dogs and can be fatal if not treated. It's spread through contact with infected dog feces or other bodily fluids.
- and loss of appetite.
Luckily, it has a treatment:
- and supportive care.
To prevent your pup from getting parvovirus, make sure that your puppy is vaccinated early on against it.
Washing your hands and disinfecting surfaces is also essential to avoid spreading the virus.
Are you familiar with Lyme Disease?
It's a bacterial infection spread by deer ticks and the most common tick-borne disease in dogs. Lyme disease symptoms in dogs include:
- swollen lymph nodes
- loss of appetite
- and joint pain.
If it's not treated immediately, it can cause:
- severe neurological damage
- cardiovascular problems
- and kidney damage.
Avoiding Lyme Disease is quite simple, always make sure that check them for ticks every day, especially if you are in an area with cases of tick-borne infections.
Talk to your veterinarian about tick-borne disease vaccinations and use tick control products as directed. Contact your vet immediately when your dog shows sever symptoms of Lyme disease, so they can advice you on the possible treatment.
Are ear infections giving your four-legged friend some trouble?
Unfortunately, they're common among dogs and can be painful and uncomfortable. They're usually caused by a buildup of bacteria, yeast, and other debris in the ear canal, which can be made worse by allergies, poor grooming, or even swimming.
To help prevent them, it's crucial to inspect your pup's ears and clean them regularly with a cleaning solution your vet recommends. If your dog has ear infections, use a specialized ear cleaner or apply a protective wax barrier to the outer ear to remove dirt and debris.
Are you concerned that your dog might have gastrointestinal issues?
Gastrointestinal problems are common health problems among canines and can be very serious if left untreated.
Symptoms can include:
- weight loss
- and loss of appetite.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent gastrointestinal issues in dogs, such as:
- a balanced diet
- regular vet check-ups
- avoiding foods that are high in fat
- and limiting treats
Allergies are also common in dogs and it can be caused by different environmental factors such as:
- or certain foods.
Allergies can cause:
- skin irritation
- and respiratory problems.
To help prevent dogs' allergies, avoiding contact with the allergen is essential.
Cleaning your house as often as possible and keeping it free of dust, pollen, and other allergens can help reduce your dog’s allergy symptoms. Consult your veterinarian right away, if you ever suspect that your dog is suffering from a food allergy.
In addition, it's super important to keep your dog updated on flea and tick prevention, as these can also cause allergic reactions.
Dental disease is a pretty common health problem in dogs and it can cause more serious health issues in the long run if not prevented.
Yes, it’s true!
It all starts with plaque buildup, which can turn into tartar, gingivitis, and severe periodontal disease. If this isn't treated, it can cause tooth loss, infection, and even systemic disease.
To prevent it, you should brush your pup's teeth and get a professional cleaning regularly. Monitor your dog’s teeth for signs of dental disease:
- broken teeth
- bad breath
- and swollen gums.
With regular care, you can keep your pup's smile healthy and happy!
Skin Infections are actually quite common among our canine friends. They can be caused by:
- or parasites.
These infections can cause:
- and pain.
The most common type of skin infection in canines is caused by Staphylococcus pseudintermedius. It often appears on moist and warm areas of the dog’s body, such as the:
- and skin folds.
Symptoms of Staphylococcus pseudintermedius skin infections include:
- hair loss
- and crusting of the skin.
To prevent skin infections in your pup, keep their coat clean and dry and regularly check for any signs of infection.
If your dog’s skin gets infected, the most appropriate treatment could be a topical antibiotic or antifungal medication prescribed by your veterinarian. You can also help prevent skin infections by improving your pup's diet and regular exercise.
Obesity is one of the most common health issues that some dog breeds faced every day. And if left unchecked, it can have very serious consequences on your pups. Basically, it's when they consume more calories than they burn off.
Too much weight can lead to:
- joint pain
- heart disease
- and cancer.
To avoid this, you should ensure your pup gets suitable portion sizes of food and exercise regularly.
You should also monitor their weight and adjust the amount of food and exercise accordingly. Lastly, feed them a balanced diet tailored to their age, size, and activity level.
Do you know that arthritis is a common issue in older dogs?
Due to the inflammation and degeneration, your dog’s joint can be painful, thus reducing mobility. To prevent it from happening, it's important to:
- keep them healthy
- exercise regularly
- and add omega-3 fatty acids to its diet.
Also, having a comfortable and supportive bed for them can help reduce the effects of arthritis.
You should talk to your vet as soon as possible if you suspect that your canine friend is already suffering from arthritis. Because they are the ones who can recommend you medications that could help manage your dog’s joint pain, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Keep your pet up-to-date on vaccinations.
Vaccines help protect dogs from diseases and illnesses that can be fatal. They also reduce the severity of ailments if your dog is exposed to a virus.
Vaccines introduce a modified version of the virus into your pup's body so their immune system can build immunity. This protects them from future infections.
Vaccines for many diseases include:
- and parvovirus.
Overall, it's vital to be aware of these potential health problems that can affect our dog negatively. Knowing how to prevent them is also a huge plus. You can also help make sure that your pet remains healthy and happy throughout their lives by providing them with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and preventive care!