9 Dog Health Problems Every Owner Should Know
Taking great care of your dog can help significantly reduce the risk of health problems and the incidence of many things that could get your dog sick. However, no two dogs are the same, even if they are the same breed. For this reason, it is crucial to learn the signs of dog illness and get ahead of the problem before it spirals out of your control. Below is a list of nine common dog health problems every dog owner should know.
Dogs can suffer from various allergies and sensitivities. The commonest are fleas, food allergies, seasonal allergies caused by dust, pollen, and so on. Your dog may be experiencing allergies if you notice consistent sneezing or coughing and excessive, unusual itching and scratching. Unfortunately, identifying the source of the allergen can be hard and may require a general diagnostic veterinarian examination. It is also worth noting that there is no cure for allergies, so you can only manage it. For instance, you can manage your dog's allergies by changing their food. You can also manage seasonal allergies by reducing their exposure and administering medications.
2. Kennel cough
Your furry friend may catch kennel cough when it interacts with another dog. This respiratory infection is usually characterized by coughing, loss of appetite, running nose, and lethargy. You can treat kennel cough by regularly administering vaccines to avert further coughs. Keeping your dog away from other canines is helpful, especially when walking in public spaces, since the illness can spread quickly. Ensure to give your dog lots of rest too. Remember to take them for regular walks when you notice recovery signs and continue until the dog fully recovers.
Arthritis is a common health problem in aging dogs. However, it can affect younger pups too. When dogs experience arthritis, they become less active and take a while to get up from a seated or lying position. They also become irritated when you touch their joints since it is painful. Sadly, the condition is untreatable, although you can do a few things to make it easier for your aging dog. Exercise, good nutrition, and physical therapy can be useful for managing the arthritis process. Ensure your dog has a healthy and well-balanced diet, and remember to include supplements to maintain their overall health. You can also add physical therapy to lessen their joint pain and regular walks to help manage weight. Don't hesitate to call your veterinarian for prescriptions if the arthritis seems unbearable for your dog.
According to a recent survey, approximately 60% of dogs in the US are obese or overweight. The rising trend can contribute to severe health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and orthopedic complications. Fortunately, obesity is completely preventable as the signs are visible. However, a routine weight check is useful for noticing weight gain early and immediately taking steps to return to a good weight. Providing your dog with a healthy diet and exercise is terrific for preventing obesity in your dog. A healthy and well-balanced diet containing a variety of protein-rich meals such as lamb dog food will provide your dog's nutritional demands without overloading it. At the same time, regular exercise will assist your dog in burning calories. It is critical to recognize the extent of your pet's obesity and to modify your dog's food and activity habits accordingly.
Excessive thirst, appetite changes, and frequent urination are signs of diabetes in dogs. If poorly managed or left untreated for a while, the condition can lead to cataracts and chronic urinary tract infections. Like humans, give your dog insulin injections at least twice daily, upon your vet's advice, to manage their diabetes symptoms. You can also provide them with a high-fiber diet and oral medications to reverse the condition and restore your dog's health quickly.
6. Dental disease
The American Veterinary Medical Association says that 80% of dogs will show signs of gum disease at some point. Periodontal disease is common, affecting teeth-supporting structures like gums. Your dog may experience bad breath, excessive drooling, and difficulty chewing and swallowing. Periodontal disease is likely to stay forever when it starts. Fortunately, you can manage it to prevent it from worsening. Aside from regular teeth brushing at home, you can take your dog for professional dental cleaning at least once a year to prevent severe dental disease. Your vet may also guide you through at-home teeth brushing, which is not so difficult once you understand what it entails.
Your dog could be throwing up for several reasons. Looking out for a few things can help determine whether it's a normal or severe issue. For instance, vomiting is normal in dogs and may occur when they eat certain foods. You don't always have to visit the vet whenever your canine throws up. However, you should contact your veterinarian if frequent vomiting lasts a few weeks. If there are traces of blood when your dog throws up, contact your vet. Some signs of severe vomiting include weight loss and lethargy, so immediately talk to your vet for diagnoses and treatment.
8. Skin issues
Dogs experience various skin problems, with itchiness and scratching being common symptoms. The skin may seem red, irritated, scaly, flaking, or take other odd appearances. It is also possible for the dog to lose hair in the affected areas. Allergies, parasitic organisms, skin infections, and other factors can all contribute to a dog's skin issues. If your pet is frequently gnawing or scratching, or if its skin seems unusual, consult your veterinarian to help treat it and prevent your furry friend from feeling depressed.
9. Ear infections
Your dog likely has an ear infection if it frequently scratches the ears and shakes its head. Sometimes you will notice ear debris or discharge characterized by a bad odor. Ear infections aren't only itchy but can be uncomfortable if left untreated, leading to severe damage. They are also sometimes associated with skin problems and allergies. Consult your vet if your dog's ear infection symptoms persist for over 24 hours.