Most Common Dog Diseases You Need To Know About
It’s true that sometimes health problems are part of life, even though it’s not a pleasant experience. Prevention is the best thing we can do, but the unexpected can happen at any time. It’s important to take our dogs to the vet at least once every six months, so we can identify any underlying conditions and illnesses that can affect them.
Most of them can be prevented or treated in a short time, but there are some you won’t be able to identify until it’s too late. You need to know the signs and symptoms of dog illness before anything else.
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Sick
There are a few common symptoms that can give away a condition your dog is suffering from. As a general rule, if your dog only has one of these symptoms, it’s probably nothing severe. Most times, your veterinarian will tell you to keep an eye on him and see if his situation improves.
Vomiting is the most common dog symptom, and it’s not always something bad. It can be because he ate something toxic for him, such as chocolate or coffee beans or from a severe gastric torsion in the worst case.
Every time your dog is vomiting, you should check his belly. If it feels hard to the touch, you should call your veterinarian and schedule a visit as soon as possible. In general, vomiting alone is not something you should worry about, but if other symptoms start showing up, you need to take action.
Just like vomiting, diarrhoea has a lot of possible causes, and a single episode is not something to worry about. If your dog is experiencing diarrhoea, vomiting and fever though, it’s time to rush him to a veterinarian and see what you’re dealing with. It can be anything from a simple indigestion to a severe parvovirus infection.
Dog fever is one of the most controversial dog symptoms. It’s important to know that you should never give your dog human medication, as most times, it’s toxic. Ibuprofen, for example, can cause a toxic shock in dogs.
In normal circumstances, you can see if your dog has a fever by touching his nose. If it’s hot and dry and he hasn’t been in the sun, he may be dealing with a fever. The fever itself is not a problem, but your veterinarian needs to find the infection causing it.
If your dog seems sad, weak and refuses to eat, he may be lethargic, and there are a lot of reasons for it. Sometimes it’s too hot outside and the dog can’t handle it, other times he’s struggling with a medical condition. Any infection can cause your dog to be lethargic, and you need to have him checked out.
5. Bad Breath
It’s true that a dog’s breath is not exactly pleasant, but you should be able to identify an infection if it’s the case. Dogs can get affected by dental diseases, plaque and tartar. Make sure you ask your veterinarian to check out his teeth at every check-up. If tartar is not removed from your dog’s teeth, it can destroy the gums, causing the teeth to fall.
6. Ear Changes
These are the easiest to recognise, as your dog will start shaking his head and scratching his ears if he has a problem with his ears. As ear infections are the most common dog diseases, you need to pay close attention to them all the time.
7. Visible Pain
Sometimes we can see that our dogs are in visible pain. It can be when they walk, when we scratch them in a certain spot or when they are urinating. You need to identify why your dog is hurting and talk to your veterinarian.
In general, it’s hard to know when your dog is dealing with an UTI, and most times, you may only notice it when you see blood in his urine. Keep a close eye on him and his behaviour.
Most Common Dog Diseases
As now you know what the symptoms are, you also need to know what they mean. Every disease has a specific treatment, and your veterinarian will be the one to tell what and how to give your dog.
1. Ear Infections
Ear infections are the most common dog diseases. They can get an infection from an allergen, or from a foreign body entering their ear. In order to avoid these infections, you need to make sure no water gets in their ears during a bath and that they are clean at all times.
You can usually tell very fast if your dog is suffering from an ear infection. He may tilt or shake his head, whine, try to scratch that ear and on a closer look, you will either feel a bad smell or see discharge. The treatment usually consists of thoroughly cleaning your dog’s ears with a special solution and applying ear drops. Only your veterinarian can recommend the treatment, as not all ear infections have the same cause, and you will need to treat both ears to prevent another infection.
Stomach troubles are the second most common dog health problems and they are not usually severe. You can tell if your dog is suffering from indigestion if he is vomiting, having diarrhoea and refusing to eat. As it can cause a very severe case of dehydration, you should speak to your veterinarian to find a treatment.
Veterinarians recommend to be very careful at what your dog eats, and for that, we only promote high-quality treats, as your dog’s health is very important. If you want to choose the best for your dog, we highly recommend our range of natural treats. You will have incredibly productive training sessions and won’t have to worry about your dog’s digestion.
3. Skin Conditions
Just like humans, dogs can get rashes if they come in contact with certain allergens or substances, or even from wearing a collar or harness all the time. Happily, a skin condition can be very easy to identify, but not necessarily treat.
It’s best if you keep your dog away from any substances that can cause allergies, such as human shampoo and cleaning products, and low-quality food and treats. Remember to also remove his collar or harness at night. Besides the risk of developing a rash, your dog is also at risk at chocking in his collar during the night.
Dog obesity is one of the most dangerous medical conditions a dog can experience. Even though it’s completely preventible, most owners don’t pay attention to it. Your dog needs to have an appropriate diet for his weight and age, and receive his daily exercise session.
In general, you can tell if your dog is overweight by checking his ribs. You should be able to feel them when he is standing up. It can be very hard to help a dog lose the extra weight, and his joints may not fully recover after it. A dog’s feet are not made to support any extra weight.
5. Internal Parasites
Most dogs experience a case of internal parasites in their lives, and it’s usually in their puppy stage. Your dog can get infected with tapeworms, roundworms, whipworms and hookworms, and while some infestations are completely treatable, others can be fatal.
You can tell if your dog is dealing with internal parasites if he’s vomiting or experiencing bloody diarrhoea, if his appetite changes and he becomes lethargic and if his general appearance changes. Your veterinarian will prescribe you oral medication, depending on the type of worms your dog came in contact with.
6. External Parasites
Fleas and ticks are some of the biggest threats to dogs. It can be hard to completely avoid them, and every dog will get in contact with them at least once.
You can administer topical drops to your dog and provide him with a special collar recommended by your veterinarian. The collar won’t kill the parasites but will paralyse them so you can easily remove them from your dog’s coat.
It’s very important to thoroughly check your dog after a long day playing outside. Even though fleas are usually not dangerous, a tick can infect your pup with a dangerous disease, such as Lyme or Babesiosis.
7. Kennel Cough
The kennel cough, as the name says, it’s very common in shelters, veterinarian’s offices and kennels. The virus spreads quickly in poorly ventilated areas, but if it’s discovered in time, your pup will make a full recovery.
It’s often compared with a common cold, so your pup may be coughing and experiencing eye discharge if he got infected. Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with proper treatment for kennel cough, sometimes including antibiotics.
8. Canine Parvovirus
The canine parvovirus is one of the most dangerous dog diseases. As the virus can live on surfaces for more than one year and it’s resistant to heat and most cleaning solutions, it can be hard to avoid it if your dog is not vaccinated.
The CPV has two forms. A digestive one, which is the most common and treatable, and the cardiac form, which usually affects puppies and it’s fatal.
Dogs like to taste everything they find, and they will if you don’t stop them. Needless to say, they are prone to experiencing poisoning at some point in their lives. Even though most foods won’t have a big impact, it’s important to know what your dog can safely eat.
For example, chocolate, coffee beans, onion, garlic, raisins and grapes are highly toxic for dogs, and the smallest quantity can cause an anaphylactic shock.
Just like humans, dogs can develop cancers. In general, it happens when the dogs start ageing, and their organisms don’t work the way they used to.
In dogs, cancer is treated the same way as humans. It’s either treated with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Of course, if your dog is checked out regularly, you have all the chances of identifying cancer in its early stages, making it easier to cure.
How To Prevent Most Dog Diseases
Prevention is always much more effective than any treatment, and most diseases can be avoided.
Through vaccination, you can prevent the most dangerous dog infections, such as the canine parvovirus, distemper and rabies. If your dog receives all the necessary shots, you won’t have to worry about him getting infected.
It’s important to mention that before your puppy gets his first series of shots, you should keep him away from other dogs for a couple of weeks until he gets immunised. And the same stands if your dog was infected with a viral disease.
2. Anti-flea Drops and Collars
Fleas, ticks and mosquitos can infect your dog with very dangerous diseases, such as Lyme or Heart worm. In order to avoid these issues, you need to administer topical drops to your dog, and also provide him with a good anti-flea collar. Your veterinarian will recommend the right substances depending on your dog’s weight.
3. Regular Check-Ups
As mentioned, you need to take your dog to the veterinarian at least once every six months. He will check his height, weights, ears and mouth, and will be able to tell you if there’s something wrong with him. You need to keep in mind the fact that dogs too need vitamins and minerals supplements from time to time, especially in the cold months.
4. Keep A Clean Environment
Bugs can find themselves living in your dog’s bedding if it’s not washed regularly. Ask your veterinarian to recommend dog-safe cleaning solutions and clean his bed and toys at least once a week. A quick and safe solution for bad smells is to spread sodium bicarbonate on your dog’s bedding and vacuum it after about 10 minutes.
5. Provide Regular And Consistent Meals
Some dog conditions, such as Gastric Torsion, can kill your dog in a matter of hours. If your dog eats or drinks too fast, he is at risk of having his stomach turn around and block the access to the intestines. As long as you keep a consistent schedule and your dog knows he will get his food, you can completely prevent Gastric Torsion!
6. Learn The Signs
It’s not hard to figure out if your dog is starting to feel bad. As now you know all the symptoms, you can be confident knowing that you will be able to identify any possible affection.
Asking The Veterinarian
We asked our veterinarian a few of the most popular questions when it comes to dog’s health.
- Can a human get infected with a dog disease?
- There are cases of humans getting infected from their dogs, but it’s usually in the case of non-specific viruses, such as Rabies, internal parasites, and Toxoplasmosis, the latter being more common in cats.
- Can a disease kill a dog in a matter of days?
- Absolutely. Happily, for the most common and dangerous ones, such as Rabies and Parvovirus, we have vaccines. Other conditions and diseases, such as the gastric torsion, Lyme disease and Heart worm can kill your dog if they are not discovered in a very short timeframe.
- My dog is lethargic, but not sick. What does this mean?
- A dog can be lethargic for many reasons. If you ruled out any sickness, you should take into consideration the fact that your dog is depressed or very hot in his environment. Big breeds, such as Huskies and German Shepherds will become lethargic if left outside in the hot summer days.
- How can I make sure my dog is always healthy?
- For starters, you need to pay very close attention to his behaviour and see if he shows any symptoms. Besides, you need to take him to the veterinarian frequently and follow his directions. As long as your dog eats well, exercises and is generally happy, you have nothing to worry about.
- My dog is scared of the vet. What can I do?
- Most dogs are scared by going to the vet, but it can be fixed. If you manage to associate going to the vet with something he likes, such as a treat or toy, then he won’t feel traumatised by the event.
In the end, it’s very important to pay close attention to your dog and learn how to identify any symptoms. This way, you can avoid unpleasant situations and you will discover any dog disease in its early stage.