Hello dog lover! You probably already have one or more dogs, or you are thinking about buying one. Knowing how to spot some basic health problems is essential in keeping your four legged friend happy and beautiful.
As you already know, our faithful companions depend on us for good care. There are many reasons why your dog might be sick. From specific breed genetic disorders, allergies, infections, to parasites, all of these problems can occur individually or simultaneously. In order to keep them healthy, you need to know some information about these afflictions and visit your vet for the routine wellness exams.
No two dogs are alike, and depending on breed, age and size, some health problems are more frequent than others. In this article, you can find some useful data about common dog illnesses and health problems that can affect your friend.
Skin problems are frequent in dogs. The first signs of skin inflammation are constant and persisting itching and scratching, redness, swelling and portions of alopecia. Actually, dog itching is the main reason for more than half of all vet visits for a skin problem. You can reduce the number of vet appointments if you understand the cause, whenever possible.
There are lots of reasons why your dog might develop skin problems. The most frequent are allergies. Ask yourself some questions: when did the problems begin, what time of year, during which season, is it associated with a specific event (air-fresheners, new food, baths, flea treatment), did it appear when the dog spent most of the time indoor or outdoor? If you can determine what the allergen is, you can eliminate it with ease.
Other than allergic reactions, the most common reasons are parasites (fleas, ticks, Demodex), bacterial infections, the lack of fatty acids, and autoimmune disorders.
The first signs of an ear infection are scratching, shaking of the head, red color and very sensitive skin, ear odour, swelling, and brown or yellow discharge coming from the ear. Ear infections can also be related to skin allergies.
Other factors that can lead to this type of problem are Yeast, ear mites, bacteria, hair grown deep in the ear canal, and brutal cleaning.
You will need to pay close attention to your dog’s ears because,if left untreated, they will become painful and will cause some serious damage to your four legged friend’s overall health because of the infection. Chronic infections can need surgical treatment. To prevent all of these situations, make a weekly routine of cleaning your dog’s ears with gentle solutions.
Our friends are curious beings and they can easily get intestinal worms from the outdoor environment, either by grabbing something infested from the ground or from playing with other dogs. There are 5 types of worms that usually affect them: heartworms, tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms.
Usually, worm infestations can cause any or all of these symptoms: weight loss, diarrhea (simple or with blood or worms in the stool), vomiting (in massive infestation it may be with worms), dry hair, scooting on its bottom, appetite change and an overall poor appearance. All of these manifestations are signs of intestinal worms infestation.
Heartworms, on the other hand, are harder to diagnose and the symptoms may appear years after contracting the parasites or when the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. If you live around lakes or there are lots of mosquitoes around your house, you should know the specific symptoms of this type of worm infestation.
Usually, the first signs are coughing, pot-bellied or bloated appearance, fatigue after moderate activity, and decreased appetite. To avoid all of these problems, prevention is the best choice. Spot-on solution, pills or injection, you should ask your vet which would suit your dog better.
Diarrhoea and Vomiting
Diarrhoea and vomiting are very common because there are lots of reasons that can cause them. The most frequent are food, allergic reactions, intestinal parasites, and poisoning. A sudden change in the diet could cause your dog to have all of the symptoms presented earlier. Discovering the true reason is not very easy every time. Vomiting may be a sign of pancreatitis, kidney failure or gastrointestinal blockage.
You should be careful with your dog’s diet. Not every time your friend throws up or has diarrhea represents an emergency, but if this type of behaviour persists or it appears frequently, you should get your vet involved.
Like humans, the number of obese dogs is constantly growing, so think twice before giving your good boy those delicious daily treats. The signs might be visible to others, but if you see your dog every single day it may not be so obvious to you. The best thing you can do is to have regular weight checks and keep records over time and notice when a problem appears.
Obesity increases the risk of developing some conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, kidney problems, respiratory compromise, and liver dysfunction.
Usually, obesity appears because of a lack of exercise or unhealthy eating habits, but there are some other causes that may lead to it. Illnesses like hypothyroidism,, hyperadrenocorticism, insulinoma or even neutering can make your friend a little chubby.
Dental and Gums Diseases
You brush your teeth at least twice a day, every day, right? But your dog can’t. This is why you should check its teeth and gums periodically. Unfortunately, the beginning of gum disease might not show any manifestations at all and clinical signs appear after it advances, causing bleeding, ulceration, missing teeth, and pain.
Bad breath, plaque, and tartar that sticks to the surface of the teeth are signs of periodontal disease, which also includes gingivitis. If your dog has tartar or large amounts of plaque, visit your vet, a professional dental cleaning is required.
Don’t forget, your dog’s oral health has a direct impact on your dog’s vital organs. There are studies that show that periodontal disease is associated with changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys, because of bacterial infection.
Please try to remember that all the health problems that were presented here are only some of the more common ones that can affect your dog. There are lots of other diseases that may have the same symptoms. For better advice and treatment, consult your vet!