Are you concerned that your dog might be showing symptoms of an illness? Or do you want to know more about the health problems that can affect your dog?
In this article, we list 30 common dog health problems and their solutions so that you can stay informed and take immediate action should your dog fall sick.
Urinary Tract Infections
When it comes to dogs, there are a few common dog health problems are likely to appear. These problems can be quite troublesome unless detected in the early stages.
As a pet owner, you have to take measures to ensure that your pet is healthy. It is important to understand common health problems that could affect our pets.
Here is a list of the most common dog health problems that you should know of.
Arthritis is the inflammation of joints in your pet’s body. It causes pain, inconvenience, and stiffness, making your dog suffer considerably. If your dog has arthritis, the ligaments present within its joints either change or become damaged making the joint surfaces rough.
It also makes the bones rub against one another. This can not only be uncomfortable for your dog but it can also harm its cartilage.
Although this disease is mainly prevalent in older dogs, it can happen at any age.
When the cartilage in your dog’s joint is damaged, there are seldom any cases of it repairing by itself. However, you can help ease your dog’s pain by taking your dog on walks, making them exercise lightly, controlling their weight, feeding them a balanced diet, and massaging them.
You can also try acupuncture and other forms of physical rehabilitation.
Autoimmune diseases affect the dog’s immune system. The immune system works to defend and protect cells and tissues in the body. But, the exact opposite happens if your pet contracts an autoimmune disease Its immune system begins to attack these cells and tissues. The extent of danger these diseases possess depends on the organ or tissue that has been attacked.
Some of the autoimmune diseases that exist in dogs are:
Skin diseases are either caused by exposure to UV rays or certain drugs. The other kinds of autoimmune diseases are caused by genetics, reactions to getting vaccinated, sulfa antibiotic medications, and disease-carrying ticks. These must be recognized at an early stage. If left untreated, the repercussions can be lethal. That’s why regular vet checkups are so important.
Autoimmune diseases can be treated with immunosuppression. In this process, your dog is given drugs so that the reaction of the immune system can be controlled and reduced.
Other suggested treatments are physical therapy and hydrotherapy, acupuncture, massage, and a balanced diet. You should also consider keeping your pet away from preservatives and chemicals.
Dogs generally have closed or open fractures. An open fracture is when the skin over the bone is exposed. If the skin is well intact, it is called a closed fracture. Your dog might also get a hairline fracture, a small crack in the bone. These fractures are painful and cause a lot of discomfort.
Road accidents or falls are what usually cause bone injuries.
Your initial reaction to broken bones should be to reduce your dog’s pain and prevent the situation from worsening. Only a medical professional can address broken bones so rush your pet to a vet immediately.
Cancer causes an irregular growth or division of cells inside your dog’s body. It generally affects older dogs. Statistics suggest that it is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 10. There are multiple types of cancer that affect dogs.
Scientists are yet to determine the primary causes behind dogs getting cancer.
Most kinds of cancer can be treated if they’re diagnosed early. Surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and cryotherapy are the standard treatments for cancer.
Canine distemper is caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. It is a highly contagious disease and generally spreads through airborne exposure. But it can also be transmitted through shared food or water bowls, and other shared items. Although any dog at any age can contract canine distemper, puppies less than four months old are at a higher risk if they aren’t vaccinated.
It is caused by the spread of the distemper virus.
Initial symptoms include:
Common symptoms that appear after the virus hits the nervous system include:
There is no cure for canine distemper. However, it can be diagnosed through clinical and laboratory testing. Timely vaccination is the best way to prevent your dog from contracting this virus.
Canine Influenza, commonly known as ‘dog flu’, is a form of influenza that affects dogs. Although the fatality percentage is less, it is one of the most contagious respiratory diseases in dogs.
Canine Influenza is caused by Type A influenza viruses that infect dogs. The viruses that cause this disease are H3N8 and H3N2. It is usually spread through coughing and sneezing or by coming in contact with contaminated surfaces.
There is no treatment for this disease. All you can do is support your dog and care for it while it recovers. Provide your dog with a balanced diet and plenty of clean water. It will recover once the virus has run its course.
Discovered in 1967, canine parvovirus is a dangerous disease that affects the stomach, small intestines, or the cardiovascular system.
It is caused due to the canine parvovirus type 2b and spreads by contact with contaminated feces or surfaces infected by contaminated feces.
Vaccines can prevent Parvovirus. If left untreated, the chances of mortality are as high as 91%. While the disease has no known cure, your pet may need to be hospitalized. This will allow your dog to receive supportive treatment in the form of intravenous fluids and antiemetics to stop the vomiting. Other things that help are a focus on nutrition and giving your dog a balanced diet.
Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is a gum infection that harms the soft tissue in your dog’s mouth. If not treated immediately, not only can it destroy the bones providing support to your dog’s teeth, but it can also cause other health issues. It has four stages. The first stage is the formation of plague and the last stage leads to your dog losing losing its teeth.
The build-up of plaque and tartar in your dog’s teeth can cause Periodontal disease.
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to Periodontal diseases. This includes regular brushing, yearly oral exams, and feeding your dog a balanced diet.
Diabetes is a condition that affects the levels of glucose or sugar in your pet’s blood. There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Diabetes occurs when your dog’s body either stops producing insulin or produces too little. Your pet might also have a strange reaction to insulin. Diabetes can affect your dog’s eyesight and also their quality of life.
The causes of diabetes are yet to be determined, but genetics and environmental factors are suspected to play a huge role. Type 1 diabetes, although more common during a dog’s adolescence, can appear at any age. Type 2 diabetes is more common in older dogs.
Diabetes is treated with medicine.
Insulin is the main treatment for diabetes. There are four different types of insulin used for treatment. They are as follows:
Dogs with Type 2 diabetes need to be exercised well with a lot of focus on their diet. Your vet may also prescribe medications.
Diarrhea is a common problem in dogs. It is not a disease on its own, but rather a symptom of other diseases. Some of those diseases could even be life-threatening. Severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances need to be prevented because they might cause mild illnesses to turn into much bigger problems.
It occurs when the rate of absorption of water, nutrients, and electrolytes inside the body decreases, along with an increase in the rate of fecal movement through the intestines. There can be multiple causes of diarrhea:
The veterinarian might recommend a few tests for your dog. These tests will help the vet diagnose and treat the disease or illness correctly. You can also consider making some dietary changes by feeding your dog a healthy and bland balanced diet.
Statistics show that 20 percent of dogs suffer from ear disease at some point of time in their life. This is even more common with dog that have floppy ears. Dogs are more prone to contract ear infections because of the way their ear canals are shaped. Infections can occur either in the outer, middle, or inner ear and these infections can cause severe discomfort. Severe cases may even lead to loss of hearing.
Ear infections are caused by bacteria or yeast, or both. Your dog might get ear infections depending on its environment and its diet. Sometimes moisture, allergies, endocrine disorders, autoimmune disorders, wax buildup, and injuries can cause these infections.
The treatment for any ear disease begins by cleaning your dog’s ears thoroughly. The vet might also prescribe medication to keep your dog’s ears clean. Sometimes, oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory meds are also prescribed.
There are many forms of lumps or bumps that can develop on your dog’s body. These include:
The causes for lumps are uncertain.
You need to be concerned if the lump:
You can’t look at a lump and tell if it’s dangerous. Your vet will need to conduct a test to be sure.
The treatment for these lumps or tumors depends on the type, location and size of the lump and your dog’s physical health.
Parasites are organisms that live on or inside the host’s body and also feed off it. These include ticks, mites, lice, and fleas. They can cause a lot of discomfort and irritation. These parasites can also carry diseases such as dermatitis and anemia.
Parasites are generally transmitted when your dog accidentally ingests parasite eggs or spores present in the soil, water, feces, or food. In some cases, puppies genetically inherit parasites from their mothers.
There are different kinds of treatment available for parasite infection. It is advisable to contact your vet and let them guide you through the medical procedure.
Fleas are tiny parasites that suck your dog’s blood. There are a lot of dogs who are allergic to these flea bites. Fleas can further cause tapeworm and anemia, thus being a huge discomfort to your pet.
Fleas transfer themselves from the body of an old host to a new one by hopping or crawling. They can also jump onto your dog’s body from the ground.
The ideal way to deal with fleas is prevention. Flea and tick products can kill fleas when they come in contact with your dog.
Fungal infections occur when fungal spores enter your dog’s body. This can either be by inhalation or from your pet’s skin. Fungal infections can affect a part of your dog’s body or be spread out throughout its body.
Fungal infections are caused when your dog inhales fungal spores or the spores enter your pet’s body through the skin (open wounds).
Antifungal drugs can help treat fungal infections. Contact your vet for the right medication.
Dogs eliminate heat from their body by panting. Sometimes, panting doesn’t eliminate enough heat, leading to a rise in its body temperature. This causes a heatstroke which can be quite lethal if it is not treated immediately.
Heatstroke is usually caused by the warm weather, the inability to enjoy ample shade or the lack of water.
Treatment usually includes intravenous fluid therapy. This replaces the fluids and minerals in your dog’s body.
Hookworms are parasites that live in your dog’s digestive system. As the name suggests, they’re shaped like hooks. Their unique shape enables them to get attached to the inner lining of the intestinal walls. Not only do they suck your dog’s blood, but they also lay eggs in its digestive tract.
Hookworms spread through feces or soil. Puppies can also inherit hookworms from their mother’s milk.
Hookworms can be treated by drugs called anthelmintics. The dosage is usually made orally. However, the medication only eliminates adult hookworms. Your dog might need to be disinfected several times to completely eliminate hook worms.
Hot spots are raw, red, itchy, and inflamed lesions on your dog’s skin. If your dog refuses to leave them alone and constantly licks, gnaws, or bites them, then these lesions can turn into moist, oozing sores.
Anything that irritates your dog’s skin enough to get it to itch, bite, or gnaw at it will cause a hot spot. Other factors which contribute to the formation of hot spots, are:
Fortunately, hot spots can also be treated at home. You can use medicated anti-itch shampoos to stop your dog from scratching the infected areas.
Kennel cough, often known as bordetella, is caught by dogs when they inhale bacteria or virus particles. These particles directly affect their respiratory system. Sometimes, kennel cough can also result in the inflammation of larynx and trachea.
Kennel cough is caused by bordetella bacteria and parainfluenza virus. Dogs can get kennel cough orally if they are close to another infected dog, or if they share contaminated objects.
There are different kinds of treatment available for this illness depending on the intensity of infection. Mildly infected dogs won’t need intensive treatment. Severe cases are usually treated with oral antibiotics and other medications.
Leptospirosis occurs when your dog’s mucous membranes come in contact with infected urine, urine-contaminated soil, water, food, or bedding.
It is caused by the leptospira bacteria which infects the dog’s body through contaminated urine.
Leptospirosis is generally treated with antibiotics. Timely vaccination is the best way to prevent this disease.
Obesity occurs when your dog is overweight. According to statistics, about 40 percent of dogs are overweight. While obesity as a disease on its own is lethal, it can also lead to other health problems such as cancer, diabetes and heart diseases.
There could be many reasons that cause obesity. These include breed predisposition, adverse effects to medications, endocrine diseases, not eating a balanced diet, and neglectful owners. Older dogs are more likely to become obese.
Feeding your dog a balanced diet and making it exercise regularly will help it lose weight. You can also take it on long walks and make sure it has an active lifestyle.
Dogs get poisoned when they accidentally ingest something toxic or poisonous.
Poisoning occurs when your dog eats or swallows something harmful which it shouldn’t have eaten.
If you suspect that your dog is poisoned, you need to contact the vet immediately and take it to the hospital. Professionals will know how to treat it in such a situation. Inducing vomiting might also help it throw up the toxic substances it has ingested.
Prostate problems occur when a male dog start having issues with its prostate gland. There are a variety of prostate problems that your dog might be suffering from. The main problems include prostate enlargement, bacterial infection, cysts, and cancer.
There are at least 7 diseases that affect the prostate and cause it to enlarge. These are benign prostatic hyperplasia, squamous metaplasia, cystic hyperplasia, paraprostatic cysts, bacterial infection, prostatic abscess, and prostatic cancer.
Although there is no specific treatment for prostate enlargement, a solution is to get your dog neutered. You need to ask your vet if this is an option. In some cases, your vet might also recommend antibiotics.
Rabies is a viral disease that infects dogs of any age. Dogs infected with rabies experience brain inflammation. The infection also has a detrimental effect on the central nervous system.
Rabies spreads when your dog comes in contact with contaminated saliva of another infected animal. The infection can also spread from a bite wound or something as inconspicuous as a scratch.
While there is no treatment available for rabies, you can still take preventive measures by getting your dog vaccinated.
Ringworms live off a dog’s dead hair and skin tissues and produce infected spores all over its body. These infected spores further infect the broken skin causing your dog plenty of discomfort.
Ringworm is caused by a collection of pathogenic fungi growing on the surface of your dog’s skin.
Several oral medications can help in the treatment of ringworm.
Roundworms are one of the common dog health problems you should know of. They are parasites that live in your dog’s stomach and intestines. Unfortunately, roundworms can grow up to 7 inches long and lay around 20,000 eggs per day.
Ringworms spread when dogs lick or sniff infected stool or come in contact with infected birds, rodents, earthworms, and cockroaches. Puppies might also get roundworms from their mother’s milk.
While you can prevent this by giving your dog heartworm meds, the treatment for this disease includes numerous rounds of deworming. Contact your vet for assistance.
Skin allergies develop on your dog’s skin. Dogs with sensitive skin are more likely to contract such allergies.
Many allergies can affect your dog’s skin, and they can be caused by almost anything. Some of the causes are listed below:
Depending on the severity of the allergy, your vet will provide a suitable treatment for your dog. Some of the treatments include weekly medicated baths, supplements, antihistamines, antifungal medications, and antibiotics. You can also try immunotherapy.
Tapeworms are one of the common dog health problems. They are flat, white, and segmented worms. They are parasites that lives off dogs and other animals. Tapeworms develop inside your dog’s intestinal tract and can grow from 4 to 28 inches.
A tapeworm infection can occur when your dog ingests tapeworm eggs.
Just like with other worms, tapeworms can be treated via deworming procedures.
Ticks are parasites that stick themselves to dogs and other animals. They survive by feeding on their host’s blood and can also transmit diseases directly into the host’s system.
It is spread when your dog is bitten by an infected tick.
The earlier your dog is treated against tick-borne diseases, the better. The treatment for these diseases includes antibiotics and oral and topical products that prevent tick infection.
UTIs are bacterial infections that develop in your dog’s bladder and the urinary tract.
UTI is caused when bacteria enter your dog’s urethra.
Once vets conduct a urinalysis, they treat your dog for UTIs depending on the type and the severity of the illness. They also prescribe antibiotics and recommend an increase in your dog’s water intake.
These are some common dog health problems that you might encounter in your pet’s life. If your dog suffers from any of these problems, it is always best to consult your vet before taking any course action.
A digital marketing expert by profession, Andrews is a gifted writer and animal lover at heart. A self-confessed "pawrent", Andrews is well-versed in all things dogs. He uses his years of experience of raising puppies into show-quality dogs to help guide first-time pet parents. He believes in spreading the joy that comes with being a dog dad and advocates more families to adopt pets.