8 Common Dog Illnesses (and How to Treat/Prevent Them)

July 13, 2022

veterinarian-holding-a-little-schnauzer-in-her-arms-dogs-concept

Dogs are one of the most common household pets in the world and for a good reason. They’re loyal, loving, and make great companions. However, as with any pet, dogs are susceptible to various illnesses.

This blog post will discuss 8 of the most common dog illnesses and how you can treat or prevent them from occurring to keep your furry friend happy and healthy.

1. Dogs’ Allergies

One common issue among dogs is allergies. Allergies can cause your dog to itch and scratch incessantly, leading to hair loss, hot spots, and infection.

If you think your dog may be allergic to something, take them to the vet for a professional opinion. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to help your dog with its allergies.

  1. Identify the allergen and remove it from your dog’s environment if possible. Common allergens for dogs include dust mites, pollen, mold, cigarette smoke, fabrics, dyes, and certain foods such as soy, wheat, corn, and chicken.
  2. You can also give your dog regular baths with a hypoallergenic shampoo to help soothe their skin. Be sure to avoid using harsh shampoos as they can further irritate your dog’s skin.
  3. Finally, ask your vet about giving your dog oral or topical antihistamines to help relieve their symptoms.

Preventing allergies in dogs is often a matter of trial and error. If your dog is prone to allergies, pay close attention to what they’re exposed to and try to avoid anything that seems to trigger their symptoms.

2. Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a common issue for dogs and can have several different causes, such as eating something they shouldn’t have an infection or allergies. If your dog has diarrhea once or twice, it’s not a cause for concern. However, if it persists for more than a day or two, you should take them to the vet.

There are a few things you can do at home to help your dog with diarrhea, such as:

  • Feeding them small meals several times a day instead of one large meal
  • Adding canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) to their food can help firm up their stool
  • Avoiding giving them table scraps or human food
  • Make sure they have access to plenty of fresh water

If your dog’s diarrhea is accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, or a loss of appetite, take them to the vet immediately.

Preventing diarrhea in dogs is often a matter of paying attention to their diet and ensuring they’re only eating dog-safe foods. If you’re unsure whether something is safe for your dog to eat, err on the side of caution and avoid giving it to them.

3. Dental Disease

Dental disease is one of the most common health problems in dogs, yet it’s also one of the easiest to prevent. It occurs when plaque and tartar build-up on your dog’s teeth and gums, leading to gum inflammation, tooth loss, and even organ damage if left untreated.

The best way to prevent dental disease is to brush your dog’s teeth regularly with pet-safe toothpaste. Do this at least once a day, but twice a day is even better. In addition to brushing their teeth, you should also have your dog’s teeth checked and cleaned by a vet at least once a year.

If your dog already has dental disease, you can do a few things to help treat it.

  • Feed them dental-specific dog food or treats
  • Give them chew toys to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup
  • Use a pet-safe mouthwash on their gums

If you’re diligent about preventing dental disease, you can help your dog avoid much pain and suffering (not to mention expensive vet bills).

4. Ear Infections

Ear infections are among the most common dog illnesses, especially in breeds with floppy ears. They occur when bacteria or yeast build up in your dog’s ear canal, causing irritation and inflammation.

Symptoms of an ear infection include:

  • Shaking their head
  • Scratching their ears
  • Rubbing their ears on the ground
  • Holding their head to one side
  • Red, swollen, or painful ears
  • Discharge from their ears

Ear infections are usually treated with antibiotics or antifungal medications. Your vet may also recommend cleaning your dog’s ears or using special ear drops.

To help prevent ear infections, keep your dog’s ears clean and dry. If your dog has floppy ears, check them regularly for any redness or irritation.

5. Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a respiratory infection caused by viruses and bacteria. It is highly contagious, especially among dogs that are in close contacts with each other, such as those in shelters or boarding kennels.

Symptoms of kennel cough include:

  • A dry, hacking cough
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

Kennel cough is usually treated with antibiotics or antiviral medications. In some cases, your vet may also recommend cough suppressants or inhalers.

To help prevent kennel cough, make sure your dog is up to date on their vaccinations and avoid exposing them to other dogs that are sick.

6. Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis is a condition that affects your dog’s gastrointestinal tract, causing vomiting and diarrhea. It can be caused by a virus, bacteria, parasites, or even something your dog ate.

Symptoms of gastroenteritis include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration

Gastroenteritis is usually treated with fluids and rest. In some cases, your vet may also recommend medications to help control vomiting and diarrhea.

To help prevent gastroenteritis, ensure your dog is up to date on their vaccinations and avoid feeding them table scraps.

7. Mange

Mange is a skin condition that is caused by mites. It can be very itchy and uncomfortable for your dog and if left untreated, can lead to hair loss and secondary infections.

Symptoms of mange include:

  • Intense itching
  • Hair loss
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Scaly patches
  • Secondary infections

Mange is usually treated with topical or oral medications. In some cases, your vet may also recommend special shampoos or dips.

To help prevent mange, avoid exposure to other dogs that have it and keep your dog’s vaccinations up to date.

8. Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is a condition that affects the eyes, causing them to become inflamed. It can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or even something your dog ate.

Symptoms of conjunctivitis include:

  • Red, swollen eyes
  • Eye discharge
  • Excessive blinking
  • Eye pain

Conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotics or antiviral medications. In some cases, your vet may also recommend eye drops or ointments.

These are just a few of the most common illnesses in dogs. By being aware of the symptoms and knowing how to prevent them, you can help keep your dog healthy and happy.

If you have any concerns about your dog’s health, be sure to talk to your vet. They will be able to give you the best advice on how to keep your dog healthy and happy.

 

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