Every dog owner is going to face issues related to the health of his pet dog sooner or later. It is a priority for every dog-owner to have an awareness of exactly what could go wrong with his dear pet. No matter how careful you are about dog health care, being aware of the common dog diseases and symptoms, is the starting point for ensuring that your dogs will have good health throughout his life. Awareness helps with prevention and timely cure so health problems do not end up becoming severe.
So here is a running list of common dog health problems that you should watch out for, big and small. While all dog owners sincerely hope that their dog should not have to deal with such health issues, we hope this article helps you to take required preventive and corrective action in time.
Dog dental problems
Dental issues are one of the most common dog diseases with 80% of dogs suffering from poor oral health problems like plaque, bad breath, yellow or brown teeth, broken teeth, swollen gums, bleeding gums, gingivitis, periodontitis, and even tooth loss.
Periodontitis increases the likelihood of your dogs being diagnosed with heart disease as well as other organ damage.
Some dog breeds are more susceptible to oral health problems than others.
Taking care of dental hygiene alone can significantly impact the development of oral health problems and also increase the lifespan of your favorite pet. Good dental care routine at home and regular professional dental cleanings are required to keep your dogs in good health. You can refer to this article on Dog Dental Health for more details.
Ear Infections (Otitis)
- 1 in 5 dogs have some form of ear infection.
- It is one of the common dog diseases and symptoms include whining, scratching, head shaking, ear discharge, bad odor etc.
- Ear infections can be triggered by allergies, food sensitivities, etc
- If neglected, ear infections can recur and become severe or chronic and even lead to deafness, facial paralysis, etc.
- In another article, we have covered some more details about ear infections in dogs. It is a quick and informative read.
Dog fleas and ticks
- Flea and tick infestations are one of the common dog diseases. They are more common in warm weather but can be found otherwise as well.
- Fleas and ticks are blood-sucking parasites.
- Symptoms of a flea or tick infestation include excessive licking or scratching, scabs or hot spots on the skin, specks in the fur (whether light or dark) and excessive hair loss.
- Flea or tick infestations can lead to anemia. Ticks can also be disease carriers.
- Our article on dog fleas and ticks gives more details that can help you to deal with these pests.
Lice in dogs
The risk of getting infested with lice is high for dogs when they come into direct contact with another infected animal or hair from an infected animal. The risk is increased when you take your perfectly healthy dog to doggie daycare centers, dog parks, grooming centers, etc.
Even a casual interaction with an infected animal, while you are walking your dog, is enough for the lice to pass on to your dog. Living in crowded conditions increases the likelihood of your dog catching lice. When you don’t observe your dog’s coat closely or often, it is possible for one louse to quickly turn into a full on infestation. Severe itching, dry and scruffy coat, bald patches can all point to a lice infestation. More details about lice in dogs.
Mites in dogs
Mite infestations are one of the common dog illnesses. Mites are microscopic parasites that infest the skin of otherwise healthy dogs. These mites cause severe irritation of the skin; resulting in itching, hair loss, and even inflammation
Typically, mite infestations are highly contagious and dogs are especially susceptible to them.
There are several types of mites that affect dogs. The most common ones are ear mites (otodectic mange), walking dandruff (cheyletiellosis), trombiculosis and the worst of them all, canine scabies (sarcoptic mange).
For more detailed info, read our article on mites in dogs.
Allergies in dogs
Allergies are one of the important dog diseases and symptoms include itching, hives, facial swelling, gastrointestinal problems (vomiting and/or diarrhea) or a combination of both.
Allergies in dogs occur due to food allergies or your dog could be susceptible to environmental allergens. Some dogs produce allergic reactions to flea bites as well.
Do watch out for any allergies that your dog might have. Our article on dog allergies can bring you greater insight into this aspect of your dog’s health.
Anxiety disorder in dogs
As uncomfortable as it is, feeling some anxiety from time to time is normal even for healthy dogs, just like humans. The usual triggers of anxiety in a dog are separation, aging, and fears. Symptoms of anxiety include aggression, barking excessively, urinating or defecating in the house, destructive behavior etc.
However, if your otherwise healthy dog is exhibiting heightened levels of anxiety, treatment must be sought immediately. If left unchecked, such dogs can develop an anxiety disorder that can trigger behavior problems of all kinds.
With dogs being left alone due to other priorities, anxiety is fast becoming one of the prevalent dog diseases. You may want to go through our detailed post on anxiety in dogs to understand this problem in greater depth.
Diarrhea can affect your dog’s health if the wrong foods are ingested. They can quickly become severe if not taken care of urgently.
Gastrointestinal disorders are found to be one of the common dog diseases. It can lead to dehydration, acid-base imbalance, electrolyte imbalance, and malnutrition. These disorders can range from mild to life-threatening.
Gastrointestinal issues can cause sick dog symptoms like bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, constipation, and loss of appetite.
Causes of gastrointestinal disorders include pathogens and parasites as well as consuming any wrong foods as well as any abrupt changes in your dog’s diet. Check out our article where we have covered the issue of gastrointestinal disorders in dogs.
Intestinal worms in dogs
Intestinal worms are common dog illnesses. These are creepy crawlies that infest the digestive organs. They are found in all animal species. Understanding the risks, symptoms, and treatment options for intestinal worms in dogs is extremely important for dog owners.
The common intestinal worms affecting dogs are listed below:
These intestinal worms cause problems like abdominal pain or tenderness, fatigue, bloating, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and even unexplained weight loss or you might just see real live worms in your dog’s feces.
These worms can be transmitted from dog stool and contaminated soil infecting other dogs and occasionally, even humans. If left untreated, intestinal worms can cause considerable damage.
Although these worms are in fact easy to treat with deworming medication. However, veterinary guidance is required with regards to which medication, what dose, and at what frequency.
For more information about intestinal worms in dogs, look at our article on intestinal worms in dogs.
Other intestinal parasites in dogs
Certain non-worm parasites can also colonize the intestinal tract in dogs. Symptoms of a dog who has been infected with such parasites include diarrhea and vomiting, loss of appetite, etc but the symptoms do not develop for some time after the infection happens.
Typically, these parasites include:
These parasites may be transmitted from an infected dog, contaminated soil, water, feces, food, etc. The dog may continue to seem normal even though he may be carrying the infection. Often symptoms will be triggered by stress and other factors that compromise the dog’s immunity. More details about these parasites in our article on non-worm intestinal parasites in dogs.
Obesity in dogs
Sadly, obesity is one of the most common dog health problems. It can lead to orthopedic problems, diabetes, heart diseases. It is important to both prevent and reverse obesity in dogs to ensure long life and good health for your dog.
Obesity can be prevented and reversed with exercise, diet and proper treatment. We have a detailed article about the problem of fat dogs.
Arthritis in dogs
Arthritis is one of the common dog diseases. Associated problems like stiffness, joint pain, reduced mobility, reduced activity levels etc can show up as symptoms of arthritis.
It can set in with a lack of exercise, improper nutrition, or simply with age and genetics. Check out our detailed article to understand the issue of arthritis in dogs. Fortunately, arthritis in dogs is treatable.
Heart murmur in dogs
Usually, diagnosing a sick dog with heart murmurs is done by your dog’s veterinarian when listening to your dog’s heart beat with a stethoscope. Instead of a clear lub-dub, the veterinarian hears a whooshing sound. The type and severity of a heart murmur is based on how loud it is, where it is coming from and what is causing the heart murmur.
Heart murmurs may be caused due to abnormal or diseased valves or vibrations, obstructions, dilated vessels, regurgitation, etc. Even certain diseases can lead to heart murmur.
Our article on heart murmur in dogs covers the issue in greater detail.
Heartworm in dogs
Heartworm is an infection caused due to the bite of an infected mosquito. Preventing heartworm infection is easy, but it is difficult and cost-prohibitive to cure.
Heartworm is identified as a serious health problem. It affects the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels as well.
Our detailed article covers more information about heartworm in dogs.
Hip dysplasia in dogs
Hip Dysplasia refers to an improperly formed hip joint. The condition is an inherited one. Due to the joint being structurally loose, the dog’s leg bone is not held firmly in place as it should be.
Consequently the leg bone wobbles around too much, causing painful wear and tear.
Symptoms include stiffness, soreness in the hips when rising up, limping, bunny-hopping, hesitation to exercise, or to stand on hind legs or to climb stairs, etc. Certain dog breeds seem to develop the problem more frequently.
You will find more details about this major health issue in our article about hip dysplasia in dogs.
Thyroid problems in dogs
Thyroid diseases are one of the common dog diseases. It is treatable in most cases and it is not to be neglected. Thyroid disease is usually found to occur in two types: Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism
Hypothyroidism refers to reduced secretion of the thyroid gland which leads to the slowing of metabolism. Hyperthyroidism refers to excess production of the thyroid hormone, increasing your dog’s metabolism to dangerous levels.
Thyroid problems affect all of your dog’s organ systems. Read more in our article about thyroid disease in dogs.
Urinary Tract Infections in dogs
Urinary tract infections are commonly found dog diseases. They occur more in dogs of seven years and above. As the urinary sphincter muscle weakens with age, the dog begins to suffer from incontinence, leaking urine. Leaking urine leads to infections. Dogs with adrenal diseases and diabetes mellitus as well as aging in female dogs are other factors that predispose them to urinary tract infections. Certain breeds are also more prone to UTIs. Symptoms include leaking urine, difficulty or pain while urinating, cloudy urine, blood in urine, etc.
We have a detailed article covering urinary tract infections in dogs
Poisoning in dogs can result due to ingestion of wrong food stuff like chocolate or raisins, human drugs, caustic substances like bleach, etc. It can also be caused if your dog has inhaled something toxic.
Swallowed poisons often cause nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, agitation and heart problems. If your dog has inhaled a toxic substance, they may have difficulty breathing or they may even lose consciousness. Any toxic substances that come in contact with your dog’s skin can lead to irritation and pain.
An instance of poisoning must be addressed immediately.
For more details, please go through our article on Toxicity or poisoning in dogs.
Growths, cysts and tumours in dogs
Lumps, bumps and masses can appear on your dog at any age, but they are among the most common health issues found in aging dogs. When you find such a lump or bump, it could be an enlarged lymph node, or a swelling or it could be some type of bite.
A visit to the veterinarian must be prioritized if you find any unusual or persistent mass or growth. The vet will conduct tests for diagnosing your sick dog whether it is merely a growth, a mass or a tumour. Tumours may be benign or malignant.
You can find more information in our article on growths, cysts and tumours in dogs.
Cancer in dogs
Cancer is a leading cause of death in dogs aged ten and above. As dogs are now living longer than ever before due to better care facilities, cancers of all kinds are becoming one of the common dog illnesses.
Atleast half of these are curable if diagnosed and treated without delay.
Typical signs of cancer in dogs include lumps and bumps, chronic or non-healing wounds, lameness, swelling, enlarged lymph nodes, or abnormal bleeding.
For more details, you can check out our article about cancer in dogs.
Even though you may be diligent about dog health care, it is very important to consult with an experienced and trusted veterinarian if you find any major dog health problems. You might want to look at our article covering natural dog health remedies that can help you with managing and curing some of these ailments before they become severe.
Also, WebMD has this wonderful page listing all sick dog symptoms A to Z so you can use it to quickly check what is wrong with your dog.
We hope we have been able to cover the common dog health problems for you. However, if we have missed out anything important, do let us know.