Keeping Your Dog Safe from the Most Common Dog Illnesses

Keeping Your Dog Safe from the Most Common Dog Illnesses

most common dog illnessesmost common dog illnesses
most common dog illnessesmost common dog illnesses

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Dogs can literally get thousands of symptoms, diseases, and disorders. Below is information on five of the most common dog illnesses followed by tips on how to prevent and treat these problems.

The Five Most Common Dog Illnesses

There are thousands of diseases and illnesses that dogs can acquire. Below are five of the most common illness in dogs.

  1. Ear infections Ear infections are a common problem that can occur in dogs. The most common type is an infection in the outer ear canal that can be caused by bacterial or yeast organisms. Symptoms of ear infections include shaking the head, scratching the head area, or noticing an abnormal smell from the ears.  Learn more about Otitis Externa in Dogs.
  2. Dental disease Diseases of the teeth and gums is one of the most common, preventable, and treatable conditions in dogs. While some dogs don’t show any abnormal signs of dental disease, others will have pain, abnormal odor, and/or changes in their appetite. Signs of dental disease include swollen and painful gums, tartar accumulation on the teeth, bad breath, missing or loose teeth, drooling, and bleeding gums. A dental, also sometimes called a “prophy” or prophylaxis, is a deep cleaning and polishing of a dog’s teeth that are commonly performed at your veterinarian’s office is a great way to treat and prevent dental disease. Learn more about Dental Disease in Dogs.
  3. Parasite infestation Parasite infections can occur in the stomach or intestines, respiratory tract, or on the skin. Signs of disease will depend on the location of the parasite. Gastrointestinal parasites can cause vomiting, diarrhea or no signs at all while skin parasites, such as fleas, cause itching and skin infections. Learn more about Parasite Infections in Dogs.
  4. Trauma Trauma is a common problem in dogs and can consist of a torn nail, laceration, bite wounds from an animal attack, or being hit by a car. Some types of trauma are life-threatening and others can be minor and easily treatable. Minor bite wounds can be treated with local wound care consisting of hair clipping and cleaning the area and treating with antibiotics and pain medications. Severe trauma such as being hit by a car can require treatment for shock, control of bleeding, and fracture repair depending on the severity of the problem. Learn more about Trauma in Dogs.
  5. Vomiting – Vomiting is the act of emptying the contents of the stomach through the mouth.  It can be caused by dozens of problems including eating something not digestible, toxins, adverse effects from medications, intolerance to certain foods, diseases such as liver or kidney disease, diabetes, or cancer. An occasional bout of vomiting can be normal but if sustained or persistent can be life-threatening.  Learn more about Vomiting in Dogs. 

How to Prevent The Most Common Dog Illnesses

There are several things you can do to prevent the most common dog illnesses. Many of the recommendations below focus on protecting your dog and ensuring they receive excellent veterinary medical and preventative health care.  This includes the following important tips to help keep your pet healthy:

  • Ensure your dog has an annual physical examination. This can help identify problems early when they may be more treatable.
  • During your vet visit, discuss your dogs’ risk factors for common diseases based on your location in the country and the dogs’ lifestyle. This will allow them to provide your dog with recommendations for vaccinations, flea, tick, and heartworm prevention medications.
  • Complete annual heartworm testing.
  • Provide routine nail trims as needed based on wear.
  • Conduct fecal examinations one to two times per year and administer deworming mediations as recommended.
  • Keep your dog at an ideal weight. Obesity can cause or exacerbate many health problems.
  • Provide daily exercise as possible based on your dog’s age, breed, and underlying health issues.
  • Feed a high-quality AAFCO approved dog food formulated to meet your dogs’ needs and avoid obesity.
  • Minimize feeding table scraps.
  • Provide training so your dog knows basic commands such as sit, come, and stay.
  • Dry your dogs’ ears with a cotton ball after a bath to prevent ear infections.
  • Minimize roaming by leashing walking your dog. This also allows you to monitor the urine and bowel movements for abnormalities.
  • Ensure your dog has identification that includes a tag, collar, and microchip.
  • Offer plenty of fresh, clean, water at all times.
  • Continuously monitor for abnormal symptoms and call your vet as needed.

How to Care for Dogs that Do Get Sick

The most important thing to do if your dog is sick is to seek proper veterinary care. This includes diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of the illness and recommended treatments. The care will vary but generally includes:

  • Encourage your dog to eat the food recommended by your vet. If your dog is not eating, please read these useful tips on “how to get your dog to eat”.
  • Offer your dog plenty of opportunities to urinate and defecate. Keep on a leash so you can monitor all output for abnormalities.
  • Keep your pet clean and dry.
  • If your pet is not eating, seems lethargic, is vomiting, having diarrhea, or you have any other concerns, contact your veterinarian or closest emergency clinic immediately.
  • Ensure your pet has plenty of fresh clean water.

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