Of course, as you have learned previously, cleanliness and regular exercise are the mother and father of prevention when it comes to all kinds of health issues with dogs. Basic hygiene and exercise will only take you so far, though, as other common dog health problems may still creep their way into your dog’s life. These issues can be a whole new beast, requiring a different approach, but most of them are still fairly commonplace and well-known among dog owners.
Delving further into the important topic that is the health of your pooch, we will explore a few more crucial aspects of dog health this time around. These will include some of the most common dog health problems that can befall many breeds, as well as how to minimize the risks and recognize that your pooch might be sick in the first place. We will also look into a few other important tips on how to protect your pet from all manner of ills.
The Signs that Your Dog is Sick
While they are subtler about it than humans, dogs certainly exhibit numerous signs that can point to health problems and symptoms. They may not be able to tell us about it, but observing their demeanor and body language should tell us what’s going on most of the time. Of course, some signs are very clear and universally recognizable by everybody.
Some of the clear indications of a health problem, which necessitate an immediate contact with your veterinarian include immobility, loss of consciousness, severe bloating, breathing difficulties, total disinterest, seizures, aggressive response to touch or other clear signs of pain, and a change in color of your dog’s gums to pale or blue.
- Always take note of your dog’s temperature too if you feel that something might be wrong.
- A dog’s normal body temperature ranges between 100.5 and 102.5, with 104 and 99 being dangerously high and low, respectively.
There are also subtle symptoms that may not require immediate attention but can point to something serious if they persist for days.
- These include sudden changes in your dog’s behavior and function, such as lethargy, overall weakness, a weakened appetite, recurring vomiting or diarrhea, significantly increased water consumption and excessive watering of the mouth with no cause.
- In essence, if any clear change in your dog’s demeanor or usual bodily function goes on for more than two days, it’s time to seek help.
Common Dog Health Problems & Prevention
Ear infections are a common health problem that can affect many dogs, particularly those with long, dangling ears. While this is generally a mild problem that is easily treated by a veterinarian, it can lead to further complications if left unchecked. In the worst case scenario, dogs can lose their hearing due to an infection. As long as you practice proper hygiene as we explained in our previous article, the risk of an ear infection is minimal.
Like humans, dogs can also suffer from serious illnesses such as cancer and diabetes. Unfortunately, these ailments can’t always be prevented, as they are sometimes simply a matter of genetics or an unknown cause.
- Nonetheless, sufficient exercise, a healthy diet, and regular checkups with your vet are sure ways of minimizing the risks.
- Diabetes, for one, is often associated with obese dogs that aren’t very active, as is more or less the case with humans as well.
Some dogs are also prone to UTIs, or Urinary Tract Infections, which are a real nuisance but also fall within the most common dog health problems. Apart from uncontrollable and excessive urination, take note of lethargy, increased thirst, discomfort, or blood in the urine as additional symptoms to help you differentiate between a UTI and a lack of potty training. UTIs can be caused by various things, but the best way to prevent them is to feed your dog wholesome, natural foods, as overly dry and low-quality food can lead to these issues.
Another major affliction that nature has inflicted upon dogs are various parasites, including the most common ones such as fleas, ticks and different worms. A lot of the worm species that infest our dogs are incredibly adept at infesting their hosts. Hundreds of thousands of their eggs are passed outside via excrement and all it takes for another dog to pick them up is a sniff – and we all know dogs like to sniff the poop. As such, it’s hard to ensure that your dog will never pick up any worms. Luckily, they are easily found and treated during a routine veterinarian checkup and rarely pose a serious health hazard.
Fleas and ticks are another common scourge to look out for. These can also pose varying levels of danger to your dog’s health, but they are always repulsive and highly
irritating both for owners and their dogs. In the most extreme cases, infestations by such parasites can lead to life-threatening disease that they transmit or cause.
Protective and preventive measures are well-developed in this day and age, though, so it will be easy and affordable to come up with a protective plan with your vet once the season comes around. One thing to note is that if an infestation does happen, you will have to remove fleas from your dog as well as eradicate any larvae and eggs that have accumulated in your dog’s living area. Otherwise, your dog will continue to become infested, no matter how many high-quality pesticides and anti-flea shampoos you utilize.
Before you ever get into a situation where you have to remove fleas from your dog, your best bet is to save yourself a whole lot of headache and make sure that your pet is protected in advance. Depending on your climate, fleas and ticks might be a thing of season, as they don’t emerge until spring if you live in a place with all four seasons.
Your veterinarian will have a lot of useful advice in this regard and they will recommend you many solutions that you can use to make sure that your dog is shielded from these pests at all times. These can be injections, collars, topical solutions, and quite a few other methods that usually work quite well.
Another tip that can hardly be stressed enough is following your veterinarian’s advice in general and making sure that your puppy receives all the necessary shots while it is young. You will want to start taking your pup outside early to ensure that it receives the proper socialization during that crucial period, so the earlier you take care of vaccinations the better.
Be extra careful if and when you are taking a partially vaccinated and unprotected puppy outdoors, as diseases can lurk everywhere, especially when other dogs are around.
Finally, you should be prepared for when your dog has reached old age, as senior dog health problems can be a problem of their own kind. It’s also a good idea to consider dog wellness and health insurance plans, no matter your dog’s age. We will look into both of these aspects of canine health once we return to this crucial topic in one of our next articles.