10 Common Dog Health Issues You Need to be Aware of

Dogs are our loved family members. As responsible parents, it falls on us to watch out for common dog health issues and take care of them properly.

Some pups will play with you for treats – but they don’t know how to share their pain or talk about their health condition.

Our canines are prone to a variety of health problems. Some can turn out to be especially dangerous if not treated properly.

Here are 10 common dog health issues that every dog parent should be aware of:

1. Heartworms

Known as one of the deadliest diseases, Heartworms contaminate your dog’s most primary organ- his heart and surrounding arteries. This parasite Larvae gets into the bloodstream through mosquito bite and grows into a full worm if left unchecked. A heartworm infestation has a very high possibility of killing your dog.

Symptoms of this disease are lethargy, collapsing suddenly, and severe depression. From the College of Veterinary Medicine, Professor Bonnie Beaver, Texas A&M University, says heartworm treatment can sometimes fail. 

However, they can be easily prevented through simple medications.

2. Emesis and Loose Stools

Emesis and Loose Stools or vomiting and diarrhea – in isolated cases – aren’t cause for concern. However, if the condition persists then immediately take him to a vet.

Most common causes for this can be highlighted to parvovirus, inappropriate food (such as Xylitol), or swallowing daily objects.

Look out for symptoms of deteriorating health due to emesis and loose stools –often times blood in bile or flux, dark or black fluid discharge, running a temperature or a loss in appetite, lethargy, or a significant loss in weight.

Good news is both can be easily combated.

3. Infectious Diseases

There are many infectious diseases that can negatively affect your dog. Most notable ones are Distemper and Parvovirus.

Parvovirus: is extremely contagious, deadly and contracted through contact with dog feces. Primary symptoms include bloody diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and vomiting.

Distemper: is another infectious disease that we pet owners need to be very wary about. It’s contracted through direct contact with an already infected dog’s saliva, urine, and blood.

Early prevention is the best way you can protect your pet. As infectious diseases can be easily prevented if puppies are properly vaccinated. 

Remember, there is currently no medication that can completely destroy the virus.

4. Corpulence

Being overweight or corpulence is a growing problem in dogs. This is a dangerous condition in dogs as being obese opens up avenues for other diseases. They are prone to diabetes, joint pain and liver damage.

Check to see if your dog is in the correct weight range. If your dog meets the requirements, then you should be able to feel his spine and chest without much effort. He should also have an obvious waistline and a rising abdomen.

Other than that, you can always ask your vet to build up an exercise plan for your dog. Additionally, you can take your pooch to do more exercise increasing calorie output.

Maintain a balanced diet so that your pooch doesn’t get sick or suffer from malnutrition.

5. Kennel Cough

Another highly contagious canine disease is the Kennel Cough. It’s a type of bronchitis - causing inflammation in the windpipe and voice box of your dog.

Dogs are most commonly exposed to this disease at the groomer’s, kennel or doggy daycare's.

A vet-advised course of antibiotics will easily cure your dog.

Many also prefer using a humidifier or take their pet into a steam-filled bathroom.

6. Dental Disease

Did you know that over 80% of dogs are affected by periodontal disease or an infection in their gums? It’s so common that most canines get them by the age of two. 

Delayed treatment of this disease can lead to major problems like diabetes, heart disease, and kidney problems.

Symptoms of this disease range from smelly breath and dogs having swollen faces. Usually, removal of dental plaque and in advanced cases teeth is the most effective treatment for dog dental disease.

The best way to prevent this is through regular brushing your dog’s teeth using a dog toothpaste. Also, you can give your dog some rawhide chews and check-up with the vet often.

7. Problems in the Excretory System

Problems in the Excretory System, especially in the Lower Urinary Tract, can be very painful for dogs. Commonly they include enuresis, microbial infections, cystolith and sometimes even cancer.

You will observe that your dog is urinating more often than usual. The amount of urine is low but somehow the urine has traces of blood.  

Also, your dog will involuntarily urinate and defecate, stressing during the process and cry for help. He may also vomit, get feverish and experience a significant mass loss.

Cure of such problems include changes in nutritional habits, usage of antibiotics, and if needed surgery to treat cystolith - i.e eradicate bladder stones or tumor.

8. Broken Bones

Dogs get broken bones and fractures all the time. As they don’t have the ability to say it out loud, you need to be vigilant about how they behave. Look out when they are limping or having difficulty moving.

Treatment can range from splint, cast to surgery – depending on the level of injury.

9. Skin Problems

Skin problems in dogs mostly arise from allergies, infections or parasites. For example, mange can be of two types demodectic and sarcoptic.

The first is triggered by mites while the latter is triggered by scabies. Popular food constituents grain products such as; corn, wheat, soy can also prompt skin problems.

Flea and tick collars are great for protecting your dog from any sort of parasites. Also, consider properly bathing your dog with medicated shampoos.

Check with your vet on how to prevent food allergies through special diet or medications.

10. Cancer

Dog cancer comes in many forms. Carcinoma, sarcoma, melanoma, lymphoma, and leukemia can affect any dog at any age and range from the pure and mixed breed.

Common symptoms include an abrupt decrease in appetite, significant loss of weight, feebleness, swelling, lumps, sores, involuntary urination and defecation, lethargy, black stools and difficulty breathing.

Treatments for dog cancer are chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy and sometimes invasive surgery. 

Regularly check your dog with your vet. This will mean early detection and sometimes speedy recovery.

Final Thoughts

Dogs give us their unconditional love, their loyalty, protect us and are a great source of joy. In return, we should do our best to provide the best possible care and protect them from common dog health issues. This care will go a long way and will ensure your dog to be healthy and happy.

About the Author: This article has been contributed by Danial Zaman. He is a content writer at FeedFond. More of his writings can be found at FeedFond.

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