Most Common Canine Health Issues

Dogs are a significant part of our lives. 

We live with them, we take care of them, and we develop a loving relationship with them. 

That's why it's so important that we make sure our beloved dogs are healthy. 

Several health issues will happen in a dog's life, just like humans. Many of these health issues are rather common and easily treatable. Others, however, are more serious. 

Let's go over some of the most common health issues that a dog might face throughout its life and what you can do to help your dog if they need it. 

Most Common Health Issues Dogs Could Face in Their Lifetime

Ear Infections

Ear infections aren't uncommon among dogs. 

You'll often see your dog shaking their head or scratching their ears. You may also see discharge or other substances oozing or coming out of your dog's ears. 

The substance may or may not have an odor. 

An untreated ear infection could lead to more severe problems. 

If you believe your dog has an ear infection, you should take them to the vet. You can also take a look inside their ears to make sure there isn't anything inside it that might be bothering them. 

Dogs with allergies are also prone to itchy ears, so it doesn't always mean your dog has an ear infection. 

Try cleaning your dog's ears regularly if they have allergies to prevent any sores from developing. 

Urinary Tract Infections

Uh oh.

Your dog just had yet another accident inside the house. 

Why is your dog backtracking on potty training and misbehaving?

Well, they might have a urinary tract infection. 

Dogs with urinary tract infections tend to feel the urge to pee frequently, have increased thirst, or be more lethargic. 

Has your dog started peeing in the house again even after they were potty trained? Take your dog to the vet to see if the problem is a urinary tract infection. 

You might notice a particular smell to your dog's urine as well, which could be a clue that they have an infection. 

Typically, urinary tract infections clear up quickly and are not a major health concern unless it goes untreated for a very long time. 

Obesity

Obesity is one of the fastest-growing health problems for dogs. 

The saddest part?

It's the most preventable health problem out there. 

Luckily, obesity is reversible with a change in diet and exercise for your dog. 

Obese dogs typically have more health problems because of their weight: the most common issues being diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. 

Your dog may have trouble getting up or standing for long periods. You may start to notice they have a lack of energy and have trouble getting enough exercise. 

Try to take your dog swimming if they have problems with their joints because of obesity. 

Swimming is an excellent exercise for obese dogs to enjoy. They can lose weight and keep their joints healthy until they lose some of the extra poundage. 

Vomiting

Vomiting is pretty common in dogs, so don't be concerned if your dog vomits inexplicably from time to time.

This is not a cause for concern. 

Dogs can vomit from something they ate or drank, from extra saliva, an illness, or from another unknown reason. 

Dogs can be especially prone to vomiting if they like to eat unknown things or dead animals they find in the wilderness. 

Dogs that live in the country might be a little more prone to vomiting because they have access to more things in the wilderness than dogs in the cities.

If your dog continues to vomit regularly, then you should start to get concerned, especially if it continues to be constant. 

Vomiting could be a sign of disease, a gastrointestinal blockage, or a parasite. 

Use your best judgment.

Occasional vomit is no need for concern, but continuous vomiting might require a visit to the vet. 

Parasites

Parasites love dogs. They are a perfect little host that a lot of parasites attach themselves to. 

Parasites include external parasites like ticks and fleas, or internal parasites like heartworms or intestinal worms. 

Prevention is a lot easier than treatment. Dogs that live in the country are at higher risk for parasites, primarily due to the nature that surrounds country dogs.

They run through tall grasses with ticks, are outside with mosquitos that carry heartworms, and they may eat dead or decaying things that could give them intestinal worms. 

If you think your dog may be at risk for certain parasites, get them on a prevention plan. Typically, this includes a monthly pill to prevent parasites. It's a simple plan and could save your dog from a lot of future problems. 

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is much like vomiting and shouldn't be cause for concern. 

Of course, it could be from something the dog ate, or it could indicate something more serious. 

If your dog has constant diarrhea, you should consider taking him to the vet. One or two episodes will probably pass but may be a sign of a minor illness or something bad coming out of their system. 

Hot Spots

Hot spots are little inflamed spots on your dog's skin. 

They are itchy and often become hot and inflamed. Your dog may constantly lick or bite the spots making them ooze or become more inflamed. 

These little lesions become warm to the touch, which is how they got their nickname "hot spots."

Hot spots can be caused by allergens or bug bites. They are not hard to treat and should be treated right away to prevent any discomfort for your dog. 

You can treat the hot spots at home, but you may need a prescription ointment to help heal the hot spots. 

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is most common in large dog breeds. 

The hip joint has a ball and a socket. If your dog has hip dysplasia, the ball will not fit properly in the socket. 

This causes grinding and rubbing instead of sliding together smoothly. Over time, your dog's hip can deteriorate and cause total loss of the joint. 

Hip dysplasia is genetic and hereditary. 

Again, prevention is easier than treatment. If your dog is at risk for hip dysplasia, they should be on supplements to try to keep their joints healthy and prevent the hip from grinding. 

Treatment could be losing weight if your dog is obese. However, more serious hip dysplasia is usually treated with surgery.  

Arthritis

Arthritis is the inflammation of joints. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. 

Senior dogs will often have osteoarthritis, and it can be easily treated or managed. 

Your dog will need to be diagnosed with arthritis by your veterinarian. 

If you suspect that your dog has arthritis, take them to your vet to have their joints checked. 

Dental Disease

A dog's teeth are often overlooked. 

Believe it or not, bad breath in a dog is a sign of dental disease. The plaque and tartar buildup causes a foul smell.

The plaque and tartar on your dog's teeth can build up and cause a lot of problems for your dog. 

Your dog's teeth may be painful and cause trouble for them while eating. 

Before waiting until your dog's teeth are rotting to find a solution, try to take care of them. Give them things to chew on to keep their teeth strong and brush them every once in a while. 

Diabetes

Diabetes cannot be cured but is manageable. 

Early symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, increased urination, weight loss, and increased appetite. 

Untreated diabetes can be life-threatening for your dog. 

The most common treatments for diabetes are diet and exercise. Usually, this is enough to keep your dog's diabetes under control, especially if they're overweight. 

Sometimes your dog may require insulin shots. It might seem daunting at first but owners can usually get the hang of it and create a routine. 

How to Chew on This Information

It can be concerning if your dog is acting a little differently or out of the ordinary. 

The important thing is that you keep an eye on them. 

Just like humans, a dog can get a minor illness and not feel their best for a couple of days. This doesn't mean you need to rush them to the vet. Give them some time and watch them closely. 

If there are any signs that you are concerned about, go ahead and go to the vet. Hopefully, your dog will be feeling better in no time! 

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