Dog Health Issues

Just like us, dogs can suffer from a variety of health problems. Unlike us, they are not able to do much about it. They rely on us to check on their health and attend to problems as they arise. Your dog should have a yearly health check up from your vet and additional visits as required. Learn the symptoms of the most common health problems and, if your dog seems a bit off color, investigate further.

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Internal Parasites

Issue

Internal parasites are one of the most common health issues your dog will face. Most of these parasites are types of worms. They include heartworms, roundworms and hookworms. They live in various organs and have a variety of life cycles

Symptoms

The symptoms of parasite infestation include vomiting diarrhea, weight loss and coughing. Check your dog's feces for worms.

How To Prevent

Worm prevention should be discussed with your vet during your dog's annual health check up. Your vet will recommend a regime of medication that will kill the worms. 

Hygiene is important. Keep your dog's living area free of feces, Clean up after him immediately. Depending on the worm variety, vectors can be rodents or snails and slugs. Keep your dog's living area free of these animals.

how To Fix

Infestation will occur when your prevention attempts have failed. As soon as you suspect your dog has worms, take him to the vet. He will recommend a course of action to get rid of the parasites and give you advice about preventing a re-occurrence.

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dental health

Issue

Poor dental health affects the vast majority of dogs over 3-4 years old. Dogs suffer from broken or cracked teeth but the biggest problem is gum disease.

Symptoms

The symptoms or dental health problems are bad breath, inflamed gums, difficulty eating and loose teeth.

How To Prevent

Oral hygiene is very important. Regular cleaning of your dog's teeth is essential. Feed a diet which will assist with teeth cleaning. A kibble diet will leave particle food between the teeth. Gnawing meaty bones will help remove these particles

how To Fix

Discuss with your vet. Advanced cases of gum disease (periodontal disease) may need to be treated with surgery. 

Related Article: How To Clean Your Dog's Teeth

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Arthritis

Issue

Arthritis is not one of the most common health problems faced by dogs. However, it is quite prevalent in older dogs. There are many different types of arthritis. They all affect the joints. It is caused by a breakdown of the cartilage at the ends of bones.

Symptoms

The symptoms of arthritis in dogs include lameness or stiffness, reluctance to get up from rest and a slow gait

How To Prevent

Arthritis is a deterioration of the joints in dogs. It can't be prevented or cured.

how To Fix

There is no cure for arthritis, but there are a number of things you can do to relieve pain and make your dog more comfortable. You should arrange a consultation with your vet to work out the best strategy for your dog.

There are supplements available, most of which contain glucosamine and chondroitin which may slow the development of arthritis.

Your dog's bed should be in a warm draught free position. Carpeted or non-slip floors are best.

Daily exercise will be beneficial in maintaining mobility. 

Some pharmaceuticals are useful to decrease pain and inflammation. Do not use over-the-counter drugs without consulting your vet first.

Related article: How To Recognize Arthritis in Dogs


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external Parasites

Issue

There are many external parasites which can infect dogs. However, the big two are ticks and fleas. Both of these are common and can cause problems for your dog. Ticks can cause internal problems for dogs and they can transmit some blood-borne diseases. 

Fleas can cause dermatitis and can also transmit some blood-borne disease.

Symptoms

Ticks can usually be easily seen on dogs. Other symptoms include vomiting. regurgitation and high blood pressure. Symptoms of fleas include irritated skin, scratching and hair loss.

How To Prevent

You should regularly inspect your dog's coat and remove the fleas or ticks. Regular preventative treatment is recommended. Discuss with your vet.

Keep your yard area clean and tidy. Ticks wait in vegetation for a suitable host to pass by. 

how To Fix

Take action to remove all parasites from your dog. Then, if you are taking action to prevent re-infestation you should treat side effects of any bites until your dog recovers.

Related Article: How Do I Know If My Dog Has Ticks

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gastrointestinal disorders (stomach problems)

Issue

Stomach problems are usually easily picked up by dog owners. Although our domestic dogs are descended form scavengers, this doesn't mean they are able to eat anything.

Symptoms

The symptoms of stomach disorders include changes in appetite, changes in stool quality, lethargy and fever. Vomiting and diarrhea are often present. These can lead to dehydration, so immediate medical attention is the best course of action.

How To Prevent

The best way to prevent these problems is to make sure that your dog has a balanced, nutritious diet. He should not be allowed to wander freely where he might find something harmful to eat.

how To Fix

If the stomach problem is caused by once off consumption of something harmful, you need to treat the symptoms until your dog has recovered. If the problem is something more systemic, a change of diet may be required.

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obesity

Issue

Unfortunately, our dogs are getting fatter and fatter. More than half the dogs in the United States are obese or overweight. There is something really pleasurable about giving our dog a treat or sharing table scraps with them. The problem is, we are not doing the right thing by our dogs. Obesity can contribute to the development of other health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and orthopedic problems.

Symptoms

Some of the most obvious symptoms of obesity are weight gain, not being able to feel your dog's rib cage, no visible waistline, lethargy and lack of mobility.

How To Prevent

Your dog's food intake should match his energy output. Feed your dog a nutritious balanced diet. Avoid treats and table scraps. If you are using treats for training purposes you should reduce the size of his regular meals to compensate. Give your dog regular exercise. A daily walk will benefit both you and your dog.

how To Fix

If your dog is obese, he needs to reduce his calorie intake. It is best to do this without letting him get too hungry. This means substituting some foods for others.

Gradually increase the amount of exercise he is doing without straining him. This process will take time.

Related Article: Weight Loss Diet For Older Dogs.