Dog health issues are a major concern for every individual. When we have children, we have usually been warned either by our doctor, family or books we buy to keep us informed of what we are about to face, about the most common diseases our new baby may suffer. There may be exceptions, because not everything can be anticipated, but at least, we are better prepared.
Well, when we bring a new dog to our household, the same applies. Why wait until our dog is sick and maybe in danger of losing even its life for us to take action? It may sound incredible to us dog lovers who would never think that way, but there are thousands, perhaps millions, who do not care.
Vaccination is just a preventive measure every dog owner should take to try and avoid some of those important and common dog health issues. That is a must. But there are many other problems a dog owner should be aware of. Having to lose a dear companion because of lack of knowledge and proper fast attention is something no one who cares about dogs should ever have to face. So many sad and painful moments can be avoided!
Here are some of the important and common dog health issues you should keep in mind when owning a dog.
Common dog health issues
There are worms our dogs are typically exposed to. Some are easier to treat than others and some are more dangerous than others. We are not veterinarians to know what to do and which worm has our dog acquired, so a visit to its doctor is always the best way to first, avoid complications and better yet, to eliminate them.
Some of the most known worms in a dog’s world are:
Tapeworms, roundworms, whipworms and hookworms, and are common internal parasites in dogs. In this small list, for example, hookworms can be fatal to puppies. Some of the signs to look for are:
- Diarrhea (may be bloody)
- Weight loss
- Change in appetite
- Rough or dry coat
- Poor appearance
Another of those potentially killing parasites is the heartworm.
Like humans, dogs too can be bitten by mosquitoes. Mosquito born heartworms disease is a real and present threat to dogs. Any time a dog is outside in a season when mosquitoes are present, he becomes at risk of contracting heartworms. It is easy to avoid if the dog owner keeps in mind that there is a pill that can be administered once a month to prevent this.
Unfortunately, symptoms of heartworms in dogs only manifest themselves after heartworms have spread to the vital arteries in the lungs. The resultant lung inflammation will bring on coughing or difficulty breathing, as well as energy loss or dizziness, which can cause a dog to develop a drunken walk before sinking to a restful position. You, as a loving dog owner, would never want to see your dog manifesting this important and unfortunately, common, dog health issue.
2/ Fleas and Ticks
Those repulsive little things we all hate may want to accommodate themselves on your dog as if it were a luxury hotel. And they are not a kind of guest you would ever want, believe me.
In the case of fleas, for example, you’d be surprised to learn that it takes just three weeks for one flea to turn into an infestation of 1,000 biting bugs. Would you like your dear companion to be subjected to this? In order to watch for this possibility, keep in mind that some of the signs your dog may manifest are:
- Excessive scratching, licking, or biting at the skin
- Hair loss
- Hot spots
- Allergic dermatitis
- Tapeworms (which are caused by fleas)
- Flea dirt (looks like small black dots) against your dog’s skin
When going to the tick department, in the particular case of reproduction, you don’t even want to know. They are so easy to become thousands also that they can become a true nightmare if not prevented.
Ticks are common parasites that can be found anywhere, from the deep woods to urban parks. And each year, thousands of dogs become infected with serious diseases transmitted by a number of different ticks.
There are different products to help you control or eliminate these important and common dog health issues. The best ones, of course, should be recommended by your veterinarian, because many factors have to be taken into consideration before applying one of these to your dog. Commercial ones do not go to particular cases.
3/ Ear Infections
The same as our children, who can be easily affected by ear infections, so can our dogs.
Ear infections are an important and common canine health issue, and they can be caused by allergies, yeast, ear mites, bacteria, hair growth deep in the ear canal, and more. Symptoms your dog may have with an ear infection include:
- Head shaking or head tilting
- Ear odor
- Vigorous scratching
- Lack of balance
- Unusual back-and-forth eye movements
- Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge
What to do? Some remedies are simple, like a good ear cleaning, but others may require veterinary intervention.
4/ Allergic Dermatitis
If you notice your dog’s skin is rough, flaky or irritated and he is scratching, biting or licking it more than usual then he might be suffering from a skin condition, and your veterinarian may recommend tests to identify the exact reason. Common causes include:
- Allergies: Your pet may be allergic to either food or environmental factors like dust, pollen or mold.
- Parasites: Fleas, lice and mites can all cause mild to severe skin irritation.
- Hormonal Imbalances: Pets with too much or too little of certain hormones are prone to skin problems.
- Infections: Bacterial infections can cause skin problems.
5/ Arthritis and Joint Pain
Yes, we are not the only ones to suffer abnormal changes in a joint. Our dogs do too, and some of the things to remember are:
- Age: As pets get older, their cartilage will start to degenerate. Many senior dogs will suffer from arthritis to some degree.
- Breed: Large breeds are prone to arthritis. These include Labradors, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers and Rottweilers.
- Excess weight: Weight gain puts more stress on their joints, which leads to arthritis.
- Accidents and damage: Joints can deteriorate due trauma or stress caused by an accident.
- Congenital defects: Some pets are born with conditions that make arthritis more likely in later life.
- Infections: Occasionally, an infection can lead to the destruction of joint tissue and cartilage.
6/ Canine Diabetes
Dogs are subject to both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes just like humans, and the treatment options are identical. Many older dogs will develop Type 2 diabetes as they get older, particularly if they are obese. Dogs afflicted with canine diabetes must receive regular insulin shots to help regulate their blood sugar. A very strict high-fiber diet may also be necessary to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Important tips in preventing Dog health issues
Owners of dogs love their pets, just like cat owners, horse owners, and everyone who has pets. Dog owners invest a lot of energy, love, money and time into their pets. This makes them a large investment in many respects, and well worth special attention regarding their health. It’s definitely worth your time to learn at least some basic information about dog health if you own a dog.
Dogs are susceptible to many of the same ailments that humans are. In fact, dogs and humans have many similarities physically and medically. Fortunately there are many things that you can do to reduce the impact of health problems on your dog if you just know a few tips. Dogs, especially those who are mature, are subject to bone and joint issues and eye problems. Their respiratory, nervous, cardiovascular and digestive systems are also subject to diseases and conditions. Although these things are tough to avoid, there are numerous ways to address problems of this nature.
All dogs need exercise as a part of a healthy life. Some smaller breeds of dog are able to exercise indoors and therefore require little active participation. Other breeds may need special attention. If you just let your dog go outside for a while, there’s a good chance that he’ll just find a nice shady spot, like under a tree, and lie down, not getting any exercise at all.. In order to make sure your canine friend gets enough exercise, it’s a good idea to actively participate. Playing catch for 15 or 20 minutes a day or going for a walk with your dog are great ideas.
A good diet is as important for proper health, energy levels and attitude as the same thing is for people. A bad diet can be fatal for dogs, so a serious approach to dietary habits is important. Dry dog food tends to be the better options over wet brands. Canned dog food is generally not as nutritious as dry food, and it can cause dental and dietary problems. Don’t forget that all animals need access to clean water at all times. There are some things that are poisonous to dogs, including some human food and plants. Make sure you dog doesn’t eat oleander, chocolate, raisins, coffee, mushrooms or raw meat.
If your dog exhibits signs of illness, discomfort or anxiety, you should take notice. Be mindful of significant changes in your dog’s behavior, as well as their water and food consumption. One of the first signs of a problem will manifest in an alteration in regular eating patterns. If you see any behavioral changes, discuss them with your veterinarian.
Make routine visits to your local vet a normal part of your pet’s health. It is important to catch potential problems early and to deal with the issue before it progresses. Also be sure to keep all vaccinations and other routine health precautions up to date. This is important in eliminating issues before they begin.
Dogs need love and attention just like people do. Dogs tend to exhibit better overall health when they are treated well and know that they are loved and cared for. A loving owner will also be more likely to become aware of shifts in animal health and attitude. Mental health is directly influenced by the amount of love and attention it receives, and mental health is also influential toward overall health. A loved and happy dog will live a longer, happier life.
Remember that all dogs are different, and therefore, they will require different responsibilities from you. Do some research about your particular breed and consider speaking with a qualified veterinarian about important issues and information relevant to the age and breed of dog. Rest assured that, with an intelligent and loving approach, your dog should live a long, happy life.
If you own a dog and are a responsible pet owner, you will most likely either know what things can affect your dog or you are going to look into it at some point during the life of your pet. You might just be surprised to learn how many things out there are actually affecting dogs both down through time and more recently.
While you should certainly discuss any dog health issues and thoughts or concerns with the family vet we are going to give you some guidelines to think over right now.
The first thing is to start with a clean bill of health from your vet. Make an appointment and make sure that you are at a point where there are no issues with the dog. This way you know that anything strange or unusual in your pet’s behavior pattern that pops up will be cause for concern.
One of the most common health conditions that your dog might face during its life is a run it with parasitic infestations. These can cause all sorts of issues and diseases in your dog. There are parasites that attack the outside of the pet as well as internal varieties that can cause everything from discomfort to death. The external ones you are familiar with, fleas, ticks lice and mites are but a few. You can help to spot and control these parasites with regular brushing and grooming of your animal. The best indication that your pet might be infested is that he or she will be constantly scratching especially on the chest and in the immediate area of the ears. Treatment options will vary and you can get this information from your vet when you discuss the dog health issues with him or her.