7 Common Dog Health Problems

We all love our canine companions and want them to stay healthy and happy for as long as possible. After all, they say dogs are a man’s best friend. If you’re in NSW, you may choose to find your dog online, or from a local adoption shelter such as the RSPCA. Whether you find your four-legged friend, it’s important to understand that from the moment they come home with you, you become almost their whole world.

Unfortunately, just like humans, dogs can be prone to a variety of health problems. It’s important for dog owners to be aware of the most common issues so they can recognize any early signs and get their dog the help they need. 

Getting veterinary attention earlier rather than later can also help prevent worsening symptoms entirely. After all, prevention is better (and cheaper) than a cure. Dog owners that are mindful of costs would be well served to pay attention to their dog’s health as they get older. 

7 Common Dog Health Problems

Skin Problems

Skin problems are one of the most common ailments in dogs. These issues can range from simple allergies or dry skin to more serious conditions such as mange or even cancer. Allergies may cause itching, redness or hair loss, while dry skin can lead to dandruff. Certain breeds may also be prone to skin conditions such as hot spots or seborrhea. If you notice any changes in your pup’s skin, it’s important to take them to the vet right away so they can diagnose and treat the problem quickly.

Ear Infections

Ear infections are another common issue in dogs that can cause discomfort and pain. These infections often start with excess moisture in the ear canal that creates an ideal environment for bacteria and yeast growth which irritates the inner ear lining and causes infection. Symptoms include head shaking, excessive scratching at their ears, discharge from their ears or foul odours. It’s important to take your pup to the vet so they can properly diagnose and treat any ear infections before it becomes a more serious problem. For floppy-eared dogs, it’s generally a good idea to dry your dog’s ear properly after every bath to prevent the moisture from getting in, to begin with. 

Obesity 

Just like humans, obesity is an issue that dogs face due to too many snacks. It’s important to keep your pup’s weight in check to prevent them from developing other health issues. Obesity can be caused by overfeeding or lack of exercise, so make sure your pup is getting enough physical activity and eating the right amount of food for its size and breed. There are also a variety of diets (raw feeding, home-cooked meals) that allow you to precisely control your dog’s nutrition, so you may want to look into these options for your pooch. 

Allergies 

Allergies are another common problem among pups that can cause skin irritation, itching or sneezing. Your dog may be allergic to pollen, dust mites or certain foods. If you suspect your dog has an allergy, take them to the vet for testing and treatment options such as medication or special diets. 

Gastrointestinal Issues

Gastrointestinal (GI) problems are also quite common in dogs due to their tendency to eat anything they find on the ground. Vomiting and diarrhoea can be caused by anything from eating something inedible to bacterial or viral infections, parasites or food allergies/intolerances. If your pup is having GI issues it’s best to take them to your vet right away so they can determine what is causing the problem and provide appropriate treatment such as medications or dietary changes. 

Dental Disease 

Dental disease is another very common issue in dogs; however, it is often overlooked by pet parents until it has progressed significantly. While regular brushing is essential for preventing dental disease, other preventive measures should also be taken such as providing dental chews and treats that help keep teeth clean and healthy. Annual check-ups and professional cleanings with your veterinarian can also help prevent cavities, and impacted or broken teeth. Dental disease can lead to gum inflammation and infection which could then spread throughout your pup’s body leading to serious illness and organ damage, so this is one area where you can’t afford to be lax. 

Arthritis  

Arthritis is one of the most painful but also one of the most preventable ailments among dogs, especially larger breeds who tend to develop joint issues earlier than smaller ones due to increased wear and tear on their joints. Arthritis typically occurs due a combination of genetics and joint overuse. Luckily, there are a few steps pet parents can take proactively:

  • Providing joint supplements
  • Keeping up with exercise regimens
  • Weight management 

If caught early enough, treatment options like medications or physical therapy can be offered, though these may be costly. 

Staying on top of your dog’s health will go a long way towards ensuring years of happiness together. No matter what kind of dog you have, it’s important to pay attention to any changes in their behaviour so you can catch potential illnesses early on before they become serious issues. 

Please note that this information is general and not intended to be used as health advice. Always consult with your Veterinarian for advice specific to your dog.