Top 10 Common Dog Health Problems
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
September 8, 2012
Filed Under Pets
Contributed by Info Guru Paul Seaburn
They say that dogs can’t talk, but man’s best friends still have many ways of telling us when they’re happy and when they’re not feeling too well.
Dogs get sick for many of the same reasons humans do, and treatments can be similar, from rest to medications to surgery. Most common dog health problems are treatable and a trip to the vet will have your pooch pal on its paws in no time.
10. Bad Breath
Just like humans, dogs can get bad breath from poor dental hygiene, so get in the habit of brushing your dog’s teeth with canine toothpaste and cleaning its gums. Persistent odor could be an early sign of internal problems so have a vet see if your pet needs X-rays or just a professional cleaning under anesthesia.
One of the most common dog health problems is fleas – those tiny creatures that have great markets but lousy personal hygiene. Signs of a flea problem include constant scratching or licking, hair loss, not spots and spotting the little bugs in your rugs. Ask your vet to recommend the right medicine, spray or shampoo for your dog, then vacuum your house thoroughly and consider do-it-yourself or professional bug extermination.
Lumps and bumps under a dog’s skin come in many sizes and shapes and have a variety of causes, some particular to certain breeds. Older dogs are prone to non-cancerous or fatty tumors and skin bumps and your vet may recommend ignoring them. Lumps that grow fast, change size quickly or have a discharge are more serious and can be cancerous, so your vet may want to take tissue samples to determine if surgical removal is necessary.
Dogs don’t have sweat glands so one way they cool themselves is by panting. Panting is normal, especially after exercise or walking on a leash, but heavy panting could be a sign of heatstroke. If you suspect it, move your dog to some shade, wet it with cool water and give it some to drink. When the panting slows, get your dog to a vet. Heavy panting can also be a sign of pain, poisoning, heart problems or a respiratory disease – all reasons to let a vet examine your panting pet thoroughly.
Every dog owner knows that heaving sound and once you hear it, it’s probably too late to save your carpet. Vomiting can have many causes, from a simple infection to parasites, heatstroke or poisoning. Home treatment includes feeding bland foods like rice or boiled potatoes, but the best course of action is to let a vet determine the cause of the vomiting and proper treatment.
5. Hot Spots
Hot spots are spots on a dog’s fur made bare by constant licking. They can be caused by fleas or boredom, but the most common reason is a bacterial skin infection. There are many over-the-counter remedies for small or infrequent hot spots, but persistent or large ones should be looked at by a vet and treated with shaving, antibiotics, steroids or topical salves.
Loose, watery stools are dangerous to dogs because they can quickly lead to dehydration, so keep the dog hydrated while you determine the cause of diarrhea. Try feeding bland foods for a day if you suspect a food problem. If the diarrhea persists or turns dark or bloody, see a vet quickly to identify the cause and treatment.
Worms are parasites that are bad in dogs and can be fatal in puppies. Puppies should be wormed by the breeder or your vet before bringing them home. Signs of worm infestation include diarrhea, weight loss, lethargic behavior and the telltale scooting. Let your vet check your dog’s stool to identify the worm and wormer medication because no one treatment kills all worms.
2. Ear Infections
A dog shaking its head or rubbing it against a chair may be suffering from an ear infection, which can come from allergies, ear mites, yeast infections, an ingrown hair and many other causes. Watch for lack of balance or odd eye movements because these are signs of more serious ear problems. Ear treatment can be as simple as a cleaning with solution recommended by your vet, but serious problems may require surgery.
If your dog has a dry cough after being boarded, it’s usually due to kennel cough, an infection caused by improper sanitation. While it can go away on its own, kennel cough is best treated by a vet with antibiotics or a vaccine. Wet or gagging coughs are more serious and may be symptoms of pneumonia or tonsillitis, so a dog with either should see a vet quickly for treatment.