Dogs make great companions and there are many reasons why these fluffy friends fill one’s heart with joy. Getting one for your home comes with responsibility, though. You might get a magnetic bag for your motorcycle and forget about it but you can’t take a dog and take care of him/her part-time. Here is what you need to know about the most common health issues in dogs.
They say a house is not a home without a pet. If you’ve decided to make room for a four-legged friend and get a dog, there are various aspects you need to consider carefully before actually getting your new companion.
Just like other pets, dogs require attention. Besides feeding them properly and creating a cozy place where they can thrive, this also means keeping an eye on the various health issues that might occur. Being able to identify symptoms of health problems holds great importance when it comes to providing proper care and treatment.
Even when proper care is provided, a dog may still develop health problems. Ear infections are a part of the most common health issues in dogs. The causes that lead to this health problem vary and they include allergies, bacteria, and ear mites, just to name a few.
Symptoms of an ear infection vary as well, which means some dogs may experience head tilting or shaking, lack of balance, or unusual eye movements while others may scratch vigorously, have a red ear canal, or get the outer portion of the ear swollen. Sometimes, ear infections lead to an unpleasant odor or can even cause bloody or brown discharge.
Whenever you notice any of these symptoms, make sure you see a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. More often than not, it is enough to clean and medicate the ear canal for the infection to clear up. Sometimes though, as it happens in case of chronic ear infection, surgery might be required.
This health problem is so common that many people take this aspect into account before deciding whether to get a dog or not. It is almost impossible for a dog not to get fleas at some point in his/her life, yet thanks to the various products available these days pet parents can control and manage this problem with greater ease.
Symptoms of a flea infestation are easy to identify. It often happens for the pet owner to actually see the fleas and, even when that’s not the case, the dog’s excessive scratching and biting at the skin are usually signs that fleas have taken over.
Other symptoms may include hot spots, hair loss, allergic dermatitis, and tapeworms. Dogs can pick up fleas quite easily but the good thing is that you can help your pet get rid of them quite easily as well.
Eliminating fleas as soon as you notice signs of an infestation is not just a matter of your dog’s comfort. It is a serious matter of health as fleas can further cause other health problems such as infections, allergic reactions, and anemia. Your veterinarian will prescribe you the right treatment. It may include the use of oral meds, collars, sprays, shampoos, or topical products.
Another common health problem in dogs is caused by internal parasites such as roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms. Worm infestations lead to various symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, appetite loss, and dry coat.
Since there are different types of worms that can cause these health issues, it is always best to see your vet to have your dog diagnosed properly and, thus, get the right treatment. Treating such parasites yourself may actually make the problem worse because some meds may kill only some worms and not all of them.
It’s not uncommon for dogs to develop a skin infection at some point in their life. Identifying such a health issue is not difficult, given its nature. Check your dog’s skin for the so-called hot spots. These are areas of inflamed, red skin caused by a bacterial infection.
Medically defined as acute moist dermatitis, these hot spots will make your dog scratch and, when left untreated, can grow into a bigger problem. Whenever you notice hot spots, it is best to see your vet. While a hot spot on your dog’s hip may be caused by fleas, such an issue in the ear area may be a sign of a more serious ear problem.
That is why it is best to get a professional’s help. Depending on the cause behind the hot spots, you might have to use steroids, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, or topical medication to treat the problem. Getting the right treatment means helping your dog heal more rapidly; therefore, make a vet appointment as soon as you notice hot spots.
One of the most common health issues dogs can develop in their life sooner or later is diarrhea. Since the symptoms of this health issue are easy to notice, the causes that lead to it are various and that’s why a specialist is required to run some tests and identify what triggered it. The prescribed treatment varies depending on the cause behind your dog’s diarrhea.
More often than not, diarrhea is caused by intestinal parasites like the ones mentioned above, stress, and food intolerances. When diarrhea occurs, you need to make sure your dog gets clean water since this condition can easily lead to dehydration. Keep an eye on other symptoms that may accompany diarrhea such as fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, and bloody stools and let the vet know about them.
Just like diarrhea, vomiting can be caused by a variety of factors. It might be triggered by intestinal parasites, various types of infections, kidney failure, or poisoning, just to name a few. If besides vomiting your dog shows other symptoms such as lethargy, blood in the vomit, nausea, drooling, or abdominal heaving, paying your vet a visit is what you need to do.
Since there are different causes that can lead to vomiting, there are different treatments. Depending on what makes your dog vomit, the treatment may include drugs specifically formulated to control vomiting, fluid therapy, and even various homemade foods.
Urinary tract infections
If your dog is no longer a puppy and you’ve trained him/her to pee outside and let you know when the need to do that arises yet you see your dog peeing in the house, there might be a health problem you need to pay attention to. Urinary tract infections are not uncommon when it comes to dogs and they may be the cause of this unwanted behavior.
Symptoms of such health issues include frequent and inappropriate urination, blood in the dog’s urine, lethargy, and excessive thirst. It’s true that these symptoms are not limited to UTIs and may have other causes such as diabetes or kidney disease.
To rule out more serious health problems and get the right treatment, you need to see a vet and get the pet’s urine checked. Depending on the test results, your vet will prescribe the appropriate treatment.
More and more dogs deal with this health problem and it is not only a matter of physical discomfort and appearance but also a matter of safety since it can further lead to more serious health issues.
Left uncontrolled, obesity can pave the way to health conditions such as heart diseases, diabetes, and orthopedic issues. The good thing is that you can prevent and control obesity. Making diet adjustments and engaging your dog in various sports activities can help your pet maintain a healthy weight and thus prevent other health problems.
While some health issues can hardly be prevented, some of them can be kept at bay with a healthy lifestyle. This means that utmost attention is needed when it comes to what and when your dog eats, how much sleep he/she gets, how often he/she gets cleaned, and so on.
Before getting a dog, do as much research as possible about the breed you’re interested in and what it takes to make sure the dog lives a healthy and happy life. A pet is a major responsibility yet it is also a major source of joy. Not to mention that besides a dog’s loyalty and love, you will also enjoy the rewarding feeling of taking care of another being.
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