Are you able to tell when your dog is sick? It’s not always something that’s easily noticeable.
This is why we’ve collected 10 diseases dog owners must be aware of.
Can you recognize all of them?
10 Diseases Dog Owners Must Be Aware Of
Dogs are just as prone to different diseases as humans, and there can be many reasons for that.
It is somewhat rare that a dog from a loving and caring home falls ill, but there are some health issues that you should always be on the lookout for.
Prevent Diseases In Your Dog
Preventing diseases in your dogs will allow you to avoid numerous issues. Frequent visits to your vet, just as a regular health check in humans, will often allow you to discover any potential issues before it becomes too late to do anything.
You should always be on the lookout for any changes in your dogs’ behavior, as it’s the most common sign that your dog is feeling uncomfortable or downright sick. There are several things that can influence your dogs’ behavior, and below we’ve tried to gather some of the most common causes of health issues in dogs.
1. Overweight and Obesity
This is by far one of the fastest-growing causes of death among dogs. If you have an overweight dog, it’s something that you should take quite seriously.
Being overweight and obese in dogs can be lethal due to the numerous other serious issues and diseases it can lead to. Including, but not limited to:
- Cardiovascular Diseases
- High blood pressure
- Different forms of cancer
- Trouble with breathing
- Orthopedic issues, ligament and knee injuries
How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Overweight?
There are a few steps you can take to measure if you have an overweight dog:
- Take a look at your dog from the side. You should be able to notice the belly being somewhat retracted. An overweight dog won’t have a retracted belly.
- Run your hands over your dog’s chest, and you should be able to feel the ribs covered by a thin layer of fat. If you can’t feel the ribs, it’s a sign of being overweight.
- While looking at your dog from above, you should be able to spot a narrowing of the waist just past its chest. If your dog has a straight, or more outwards facing curve, it’s also a sign of overweight.
Protect your dog against these issues, and always make sure that he receives proper food and exercise.
If you have a dog with a tendency to vomit, there can be quite a lot of causes for that. As with humans, a dog can vomit due to something it ate, or if there is some kind of foreign object in its stomach.
If you notice your dog vomiting, you shouldn’t panic and call a vet straight away. Analyze the situation, keep calm, and wait a bit. If you notice your dog keeps being lethargic, or if the vomiting doesn’t stop, that’s when you should seek medical attention.
Continued vomiting can be a sign of constipation, poisoning, or other serious issues.
What To Do If Your Dog Vomits?
The first thing you should do is assess the consistency of the vomit. Is it food, slime, bile, foam, water, blood, pieces of clothes, or toys? Take a note of your findings.
After your dog has vomited, it would be a good idea to withhold any food for a few hours, while you observe your dog. If dullness, diarrhea, or any other signs of illness follows the vomiting, you should also write that down. The reason for that is that’s often some of the questions a vet will ask you when you call them.
If your dog only vomits once and seems fine afterward, you should be able to continue your regular feeding schedule at the next meal.
When To Contact a Vet?
If you notice any of the following circumstances at the same time as the vomiting, you should contact a vet immediately:
- Repeated vomiting over several hours
- Large amounts of blood were spotted in the vomit
- Your dog seems extremely lethargic and lazy
- Your dog’s belly seems very bloated
- You suspect he might have digested something poisonous
- Breathing troubles in your dog
- Your dog receives medication that might cause vomiting, you should stop the medicine and call your vet
- You suspect your dog might have digested some clothing, a piece of its’ toy, or something of that nature
- The gums look pale, white, gray, or blueish
3. Diarrhea In Dogs
One thing you will often see in combination with vomiting is diarrhea. Diarrhea can also happen by itself. The causes of diarrhea are often the same as what causes vomiting.
This is why many of the precautions are the same as with vomiting. A minor case of diarrhea isn’t something you should worry much about.
Many cases of diarrhea are quickly over, but if you experience your dog has continued diarrhea, it can lead to dehydration and weight loss. It could also be a sign of another disease.
It’s important to never ignore the signs if your dog is ill. Dogs’ are masters at hiding their diseases, and will act normally as long as possible, even though something might be seriously wrong with them.
What Should I do If My Dog Has Diarrhea?
If your dog experiences some of the following symptoms, you should contact a vet:
- Repeated diarrhea for several hours
- You suspect your dog might’ve ingested something poisonous
- Completely black stool
- Large amounts of blood in the stool
- Your dog is unusually extremely lethargic or passive
- Diarrhea lasts for more than 24 hours
- Your dog is on medication that can cause diarrhea (Stop giving your dog the medicine and contact your vet)
- You suspect that your dog has ingested an object such as a piece of toy or clothing
- Your dogs’ gums are pale, white, blue- or grayish
- You notice worms in the stool (It’s not an emergency, but your dog will require treatment)
4. Ear Infection and Inflammation of the Ear Canal
Ear infections can be extremely painful and itchy to a dog, and if a dog suffers an ear infection that’s left untreated, it can lead to serious issues and permanent damage.
Ear infections can in many cases be found in dogs that suffer from skin problems, as they are both often related to allergies. If you want to help your dog prevent ear infections, it is advisable to clear his ears once in a while.
Causes of Ear Infection in Dogs
The insides of a dog’s ear start with a vertical canal. This canal then makes a turn and becomes horizontal. Then we have the eardrum, the middle ear, and finally the inner ear.
Ear infections in dogs often begin in the area which has both vertical and horizontal canals. This is where oil and earwax are produced. If you have a situation where there is an abundance of earwax mixed with hair and dirt, this is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Signs of Ear Canal Inflammation in Dogs
Dogs who experience inflammation in the ear will often have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Foul odor from the ears
- The dog will scratch the ears
- Excessive amounts of earwax or discharge from the ears
- The dog will often shake its’ head
- Scabs and/or hair loss in the ear area
- Irritated, red, and at times painful ears
Dogs with a lot of hair in their ears are a lot more prone to suffer from ear infections compared to other dogs with lesser hair.
5. Skin Problems In Dogs
A lot of dogs will experience different skin diseases throughout their lives. If you have a dog that is constantly itchy and scratching it might be due to a skin problem. Signs of skin issues can be having irritated and red skin or something that generally isn’t looking right with their skin.
There are numerous different reasons why a dog can suffer issues with its skin. It can be such things as parasites or allergies. If you have a dog that constantly itching and gnawing itself, or if you notice irregularities in its skin, you should contact your vet before it evolves into something a lot more serious.
Thankfully, there are many things you can do to improve your dog’s environment before things get too serious.
Some of the different causes of skin problems can be:
- Ticks and fleas
Ticks and fleas are the most common reason for itchiness in a dog, and we’ll get into that subject a bit further down the article.
Allergies In Dogs
Another thing that might cause itchiness in your dog could be allergies. Dogs’ are just as capable of being allergic to different objects as we humans are. Dandruff, grass, dust mites, and so on. A lot of dogs also suffer from seasonal allergies.
Dogs can also be allergic to different food and the ingredients in what they eat, such as beef, chicken, or different grain. Some dogs only have mild reactions towards these and will respond very well to the treatment they will be prescribed by the vet.
Other dogs might suffer a more serious allergic state called atopic dermatitis, which requires much more intense and focused treatment. It would generally be a good idea to have your vet perform an allergy test on your dog, to reveal the cause of their allergies.
Infections In Dogs
If your dog won’t stop scratching itself due to allergies, it can lead to other issues, such as an infection which can then quickly evolve into even more infections throughout its body. Infections and irritations will often be found in your dogs’ ears, eyes, and the skin around their paws.
When a dog experiences problems with skin infections, it will often require medical treatment, such as antibiotics, antifungals, medically prescribed shampoo, and so on. Depending on the severity of the infection of the skin, it can take a long time for a dog to fully recover.
This is another reason why it’s so important to consult your vet regarding your dogs’ health. If possible, book a visit to your vet in the early stages of your dog’s itching and scratching, before it really affects him.
Dogs are extremely curious creatures by nature, which is why it doesn’t come as a surprise that they are at risk of poisoning. These poisonous objects come in many shapes and sizes that are often, but not always, edible.
The key to avoiding these issues is prevention. Do whatever you can to remove every single possible source of poisoning in your home.
What To Do If My Dog Has Been Poisoned?
If your dog has been poisoned, you should contact your vet immediately, so they can help get the situation completely under control as soon as possible.
7. Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs
Another rather regular health-related issue with dogs is urinary tract infections. If your dog suffers from a UTI, it might have issues being clean, and might accidentally relieve itself inside your home.
A lot of dog owners won’t notice this until after it’s happened and often think it’s due to a lack of discipline, but that isn’t always the case.
What Is a Urinary Tract Infection In a Dog?
A dog’s urinary system consists of the kidneys, ureter, bladder, and urethra. The urine is produced in the kidneys, then leads through small tubes, called the ureter, to the bladder.
The Urethra is the small tube that allows the urine to leave the bladder, and thereby the body. A UTI is a bacterial infection in one or more of these areas.
Symptoms That Your Dog Has a Urinary Tract Infection
It isn’t all dogs with a UTI that will show any signs of a disease, but there are several things that might indicate that your dog has an infection. Most dogs will display at least one of the following symptoms:
- Increased thirst
- Dark and/or cloudy urine
- They wince and whine when peeing
- Blood in the urine
- The urine has a strong odor
- Loss of appetite
- Having to pee a lot more often, but much smaller amounts of pee
- Extreme lethargy
- Licking their genitals more than usual
Possible Causes of Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs
The urethra leads out of the body to the genitals. This area is often exposed to a lot of bacteria that occasionally go up through the urethra and into the bladder. Usually, the dogs’ immune system will be able to prevent an infection from occurring, but some dogs are more susceptible to UTIs than other dogs.
If you suspect your dog has a UTI, you should consult your vet to have your dog’s urine checked for any bacteria.
8. Dental Issues In Dogs
Diseases and irritations in your dogs’ teeth are serious but also often overlooked issues with a lot of dogs. It’s usually not a problem if a dog has a bad odor from their breath, but if it’s unusually bad, there might be an issue.
Plaque and tarter can be an excellent breeding ground in a dog’s mouth, which will lead to damage to either teeth or gums.
Possible Consequences of Dental Issues
As the periodontitis progresses, your dog will suffer increasingly higher pain, resulting in the dog being very reluctant or even incapable of chewing either food or treats, and they will probably also lose all their enjoyment of chew toys.
Dogs affected by this will also start to drool a lot more. The saliva might even have a dark reddish hue. By doing a closer inspection, your vet, or you, will be able to both feel and spot gingivitis, and as this disease progresses, your dog’s teeth will eventually start to come loose and fall out.
If not kept in check, these bacteria can in the worst of cases spread to the bloodstream, leading to a host of very serious issues around the body. This can end up infecting both the kidneys and the heart of your dog. The key to protecting your dog against this is preventing bad mouth hygiene.
How to Avoid Dental Issues in a Dog?
Some of the easy everyday tricks you can do to prevent this is brushing your dogs’ teeth, dental chew sticks, and chew toys. You can find toothbrushes specially designed for dogs, which is quite efficient at keeping proper hygiene in your dogs’ mouth.
Booking a consultation at your vet can also be a good idea. Especially if your dog has a tendency to have bad breath and irritated areas in the mouth.
9. Arthritis in Dogs
Arthritis is the definition of inflammation in one or more of the joints in a body. When speaking about dogs, the most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is mostly found in older dogs, even if the cause of the disease can be an old injury.
The good news is that this is usually controllable. If you suspect that your dog might have osteoarthritis, consult your vet regarding how to move forward.
How Can I Tell if my Dog has Arthritis?
The symptoms of arthritis in dogs can be many, and vary a lot. Most dog owners are probably not even aware of their dogs having arthritis until it develops and turns quite serious.
Remember, as mentioned earlier, dogs are masters at hiding any discomfort due to their survival instincts. The following are the most common symptoms of arthritis in dogs.
- Trouble sitting, walking, jumping into a car, or onto furniture.
- Less social than before
- Stiffness in the body, especially after sleeping
- Limping or walking in an unusual way
- Reduced interest in walks, games, or other forms of physical activities
- A change in their behavior or attitude
- Tenderness when the affected joints are touched
- Excessive licking at the affected joints
- The dog sleeps even more than usual
- Crunchy sounds from the joints when they have moved around – a vet can quickly make an assessment of the situation during a checkup
10. Parasites in Dogs
In the animal kingdom, parasites are impossible to avoid.
There are many different types of parasites, both inside and outside parasites. Outside parasites are creatures such as ticks and fleas, and inner parasites are heart- and intestinal worms.
Luckily there are methods to prevent parasites from attacking your dog. These methods can be anything from injections, medication, and different pills. It varies from parasite to parasite and might differ from dog to dog.
A rule of thumb is that a dog should be medicated once a month to keep parasites at bay. You can find many sources online if you want to know more about certain parasites and treatments. If you have any doubts or questions, contact your vet and they’ll make sure you get the correct medication for your specific dog.
Ticks and Fleas
Fleas are able to cause quite a lot of problems for a dog, including eczema, anemia, and tapeworm infections. A serious flea infestation can be difficult to handle. The best solution is to use items to prevent fleas, especially in warmer months.
And it’s generally always a good idea to check your dog for ticks. While you can get certain chemical products that are made to prevent ticks from attaching to your dog, it’s still a good idea to check your dog regularly.
Heartworms in Dogs
Heartworms are among some of the worst parasites your dog might be unfortunate enough to contract. Dogs are infected by heartworms through mosquitos. And when the larvae from the mosquitos are first inside your dog, they will start heading toward the heart and lungs, where they will mature and develop.
Heartworm infection is a very serious issue that can, if left unattended, be fatal. Treating a dog that has been infected by full-grown heartworms can be quite risky. Once again the best method to stop your dog from getting infected by heartworm is through prevention by using vaccination and medicine.
What are the Symptoms of Heartworms?
- Weight loss
- Reduced appetite
- Reduced stamina
A dog can be infected with worms without showing any symptoms thereof, and most worms are spottable in the stool, and you can’t see their eggs with only your eyes.
Intestinal Parasites In Dogs
There are several different intestinal parasites your dog can contract from its surroundings. The most common are roundworm, whipworm, hookworm, and tapeworm.
Tapeworms originate from fleas, while the other three are usually the result of being in contact with contaminated earth. Intestinal parasites can cause different symptoms, and most are quite unpleasant for a dog. Some of these parasites are also able to affect humans.
Symptoms of intestinal parasites can be vomiting, diarrhea, bowel pain, coughing, lethargy, and dull-looking fur.
That was our 10 Diseases Dog Owners Must Be Aware Of, I hope this might help you spot any irregularities with your dog before it turns into something very serious.
- “Canine Influenza Virus (Dog Flu)” – American Veterinary Medical Association Link: https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/canine-influenza-virus-dog-flu
- “Common Dog Diseases” – American Kennel Club Link: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/resources/common-dog-diseases/
- “Genetic Testing in Dogs” – Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Link: https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-institute-genomic-research/research/genetics-genomics/genetic-testing-dogs
- “Canine Hip Dysplasia” – Orthopedic Foundation for Animals Link: https://www.ofa.org/diseases/hip-dysplasia
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