Common dog health problems are easily preventable or can be treated if they are identified in time.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Feed your dog a healthy diet and make sure he gets plenty of exercise.
Use these tips to watch for seven common dog health problems and understand treatment options you can use to keep your pup happy and healthy if they experience health issues.
Fleas and ticks
These pesky, blood-sucking parasites are prevalent and dangerous, too.
Fleas and ticks weaken the dog’s immune system and are potential carriers of diseases like Lyme disease.
After spending time outdoors, especially in wooded areas, check your dog’s neck, armpits, and between your dog’s toes.
Use tweezers to pinch the tick’s body near its head. Pull ticks straight out slowly. Then swab the bite area with alcohol or 3 percent hydrogen peroxide.
If your dog is unusually thirsty or frequently urinates, is irritable, tires quickly, suffers from loss of appetite, and is losing weight and vision, he may have diabetes.
Other warning signs include infections or other wounds that won’t heal.
If your dog suffers from diabetes, his pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to help transport energy-giving glucose from the bloodstream to the cells.
Consult your vet. If your dog has diabetes, you likely will need to modify his diet and may need to begin giving him insulin injections.
Dogs, especially larger dogs, are more prone to joint pain and arthritis.
When puppies are young, they tend to be playful and exuberant. As they age, they lose some of their energy. But don’t just assume a quiet dog is just showing signs of his age. You can help your dog manage pain and stiffness.
If your dog becomes reluctant to play, go for walks or climb stairs, he may be experiencing arthritis pain and inflammation.
Other warning signs are dogs yelping if you touch affected joints. The joints also may swell or become stiff.
These could be signs of something more serious, as many breeds are predisposed to tearing the canine equivalent of the ACL. This type of tear requires surgery, and you’ll need to consider options such as TPLO vs. lateral sutures.
Proper rest, warm massage, and supplements can help provide natural joint pain relief for dogs.
Again, talk with your vet.
Changing your dog’s diet or helping him lose weight also can help ease joint pain.
Obesity is becoming a common dog health problem because owners overfeed their dogs and don’t help them get enough exercise.
Overweight dogs also can experience additional problems, including kidney and heart disease and joint pain.
Your best bet to prevent problems due to obesity is to keep your dog at a healthy weight.
Your dog eats clumsily, sometimes by tilting his head to one side. He may also drop food or refuse to eat.
If that happens, check inside your dog’s mouth. If you see swelling and redness localized in the gums, your dog may be suffering from an abscess on the root of one or more of her teeth.
Check for abnormally bad breath.
Other warning signs, her face may be swollen. A tooth abscess also can cause an inflamed eye.
Getting this condition confirmed can require X-rays to confirm and antibiotics to treat.
See your vet before the infection spreads. Dental diseases can cause severe pain and distress.
Blindness is common in older dogs.
A cataract is a white, opaque film that coats the dog’s eye and impairs her vision.
Warning signs include your dog stumbling, bumping into objects, moving in the wrong direction, or falling over.
Cataracts are usually hereditary and may occur in one or both eyes.
Diabetes, other eye inflammation, or electric shock can cause cataracts.
Talk with your vet to determine if removing the cataract can prevent further eyesight deterioration.
Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome
Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, or CDS, makes dogs forgetful and disoriented.
You know your dog has CDS when he forgets familiar objects and pathways.
He loses his way easily and does not recognize you. He spends time staring blankly into space, looking lost and confused.
Like human Alzheimer’s disease sufferers, the dog paces aimlessly or walks in circles. There’s no cure for this condition.
At best, you can reassure your dog with caresses and extra loving care.
Final thoughts on common dog health problems
Along with tender loving care, learn to observe your dog’s behavior to track warning signs of common dog health problems.
Keeping a watchful eye for health issues can help ensure you help your lovable pets live full, happy, and healthy lives.
Kathreen Miller is a pet health expert at pet bounce for dogs. She lives in Chicago with her daughter and pet dog, Buddy. Kathreen regularly contributes articles to pet health-related websites and blogs. She loves listening to music, watching TV, and traveling in her free time.