Common dog health problems and how to prevent them.
Dogs are robust, tough animals, with bags of energy. But that is not to say that they don’t suffer from many common dog health problems.
In fact, dogs suffer from as many health issues as us humans and, due to genetic problems caused by selective breeding, possibly even more.
Of course, your dog can’t tell you when something is bothering him, so it helps to know what the common dog health problems are, and what symptoms to be alert for.
Here are some of the most common dog health problems that you should be aware of;
Allergies – Allergies can occur due to a number of causes. Your dog may be allergic to foods, parasites, molds, pollens, household detergents and many other things.
The most common is flea bite allergies, so be sure to treat your dog with a flea medication monthly.
Other common causes are inhalants, like dust or pollen, and food allergies. If your dog develops a food allergy, you’ll need to speak to your vet to determine the cause and possibly make changes to your dog’s diet.
Bowel Obstructions – Dogs love chewing on things, and some times they’ll (quite literally) bite off more than they can chew. A bowel obstruction occurs when the dog swallows something that he cannot digest, like bone fragments, toys, large chunks of food, or other foreign objects.
You can avoid this by not giving your dog bones or toys that can be broken up and swallowed. Also keep floors, tables and counter tops free of objects your dog may be tempted to chew on – like your TV remote!
If a dog does swallow something that causes an obstruction, get him to the vet immediately as he may require surgery.
Diabetes – Often caused by a poor diet and obesity, although it may also be inherited.
Diabetes in a dog can be controlled, but you’ll have to keep him to a strict diet, and possibly also give him a daily insulin shot.
Diarrhea – Diarrhea is most often caused by bacteria, a virus, or by a sudden change in diet.
If your dog’s diet has not changed, but he develops diarrhea that persists for more than a few days, have him tested for potential diseases that could be causing it.
Ear Infections – One of the most common dog health problems. Usual causes are bacteria, yeast infections, and food allergies.
All dogs can get ear infections, but long eared breeds like Dachshunds, Bloodhounds, and Beagles are more susceptable.
To avoid ear infections, check your dog’s during your daily groom for redness, swelling, pus or any odors. Ear infections need to be treated with antibiotics.
Hot Spots – These are circular lesions where the hair is missing and the skin becomes swollen, itchy, and exudes pus. They are caused by secondary infections due to licking, scratching or biting at the skin.
Hot spots are usually treated by a cream or steroid that will reduce swelling, or an anti-biotic injection. Sometimes a neck cone may be necessary to stop the dog licking.
Obesity – Obesity is caused not only by overeating, but by eating the wrong foods, and by lack of exercise.
Start by feeding your dog two meals a day of the correct quantity for his breed’s ideal weight. Cut out all table scraps, limit other treats, and make sure your dog gets at least an hour of exercise every day.
Worms – Worms are another of the most common dog health problems. These parasites infect your dog’s intestines. Some are dangerous because they leave your dog deprived of nutrients, while others, like heartworms, are potentially lethal.
A sure sign that your dog has worms is if his weight drops even though he is eating normally. You may also notice worms, or their eggs, in the dog’s feces.
Give your dog a deworming medication every 3 months. Also treat the dog with a monthly flea treatment, like Frontline, because fleas are a major vector for tapeworms. If you live in a area with heartworm, treat your dog for them monthly.
These are just a few of common ailments a dog may suffer from. If you see the any symptoms of these common dog health problems in your dog, speak to your vet immediately.