Stay on the Lookout: 7 Most Common Health Conditions in Dogs

Dogs are great companions: they give you the possibility to move more, have fun, and de-stress whenever you get some time to play with them. However, for your dog to make you feel better, he needs to stay healthy. And that means you have to take good care of him and always stay on the lookout for potential health issues. 

Fortunately, if you educate yourself on the topic of the dogs’ health, you will be able to see that something is not well immediately. And we are going to help you with that – in this article, you will find a list of the most common health conditions in dogs, along with symptoms and treatments. However, remember that if you are not sure what exactly is wrong with your puppy, it’s always a good idea to visit a vet.

If you don’t have a pup yet and want to avoid the potential health problems, we recommend learning about the healthiest large dogs you can have – check here. But whichever dog you have (or going to have), make sure to read the article below – and be prepared. 

1. Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a disease that affects large and giant breed dogs, such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Basset Hounds, etc. It’s a genetic condition that causes the hip socket to be too shallow or unstable.

The disease manifests itself in lameness, pain while walking, and the inability to run or jump. As time goes by, the joint becomes arthritic and deformed.

If you suspect your dog has hip dysplasia, you should visit a vet. The doctor will conduct X-rays and give some advice on how to treat the symptoms. You can also give your dog supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin to make his joints healthier and relieve the pain.

2. Allergies

Allergies are another common health problem for dogs. They can be caused by various factors – from food to pollen or even household items.

There are two types of allergies: food and environmental. Food allergies are often caused by a protein source in the dog’s diet. The symptoms include an itching around the paws, face, and tail, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. In order to treat this condition, you should take your dog for a checkup first and then change his diet.

Environmental allergies are caused by pollen and other allergens that affect your dog’s skin, eyes, nose, and ears. If your pet has this type of allergy, he will most likely start scratching or rubbing his ears or paws against furniture or walls. To relieve the symptoms, you should keep your dog away from allergenic substances and ask a vet about possible medications.

3. Skin Infections

Skin infections are among the most common health problems in dogs – there are many reasons for them to appear. Some of them are caused by external factors (fleas or ticks), food, or parasites (mites). But there are also some internal reasons for skin infection, such as allergies or diseases of other organs that manifest themselves on the skin.

Symptoms of skin infections in dogs include redness, swelling, pain, and discharge from the affected areas. The treatment depends on the cause of the infection – but in any case, you should consult a vet to get proper medication.

4. Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are parasites that can be very harmful to dogs. They can transmit several diseases, so it’s important to get rid of them as soon as possible.

The most common symptoms of flea and tick infestation are itching, scratching, and biting. You should regularly inspect your dog for these parasites – especially in the summer when they become more active. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should visit a vet immediately. He will prescribe some anti-parasitic medication that will get rid of these parasites for good.

5. Ear Infection

Ear infections are also very common in dogs – they are caused by bacteria or yeast that cause inflammation and irritation of the ear canal, leading to pain and discharge from the ears.

The most common symptoms include shaking the head, scratching at the ears, and rubbing the ears against furniture or walls. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take your dog to a vet for a checkup. The doctor will examine the ears and prescribe some medication if necessary. In some cases, he may decide to perform an ear surgery.

6. Parvovirus

Parvovirus is another dangerous disease that affects dogs – it’s highly contagious and can be transmitted easily from one dog to another. This disease manifests itself in lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, etc. It usually occurs in puppies aged between 2-8 weeks old.

The treatment for parvovirus is usually very aggressive – it includes IV fluid therapy and antibiotics (to prevent secondary infections). The dog needs to stay in the hospital until he is fully recovered, or his system can handle food again on its own. Vaccination is also an option to prevent this disease – it’s better to be on the safe side and vaccinate your dog against parvovirus.

7. Diabetes

Diabetes is another very common health condition in dogs – it’s caused by insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas cells. The lack of insulin leads to an increased level of glucose in the body – which can cause serious complications in dogs (such as ketoacidosis).

The most common symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst and urination, increased appetite, weight loss, etc. If you suspect your dog has diabetes, you should take him to a vet for a checkup first and then follow up with regular visits to monitor his blood glucose levels and diet intake. Treatment usually includes insulin injections and special diets with low amounts of carbohydrates, etc.

Conclusion

Not all of the conditions on this list are fatal – however, some of them can become dangerous if you don’t seek help from a vet as soon as possible. So, if your dog shows any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, you should take him to the doctor as soon as possible.

And if you want to prevent your dog from getting sick in the first place, educate yourself on dog health and lifestyle – and try to implement some of the tips you find in your pet’s life. Take care of your dog, and he will love you even more. 

Tim Hanson (70)

Contributing writer at Preferable Pups!