The Most Common Dog Health Problems And How You Can Prevent Them
Your dog is susceptible to illness just as you are, and there are some things that you can do to prevent your dog from getting sick and keep your dog healthy. If your dog does get sick read this to find out what to do. Here are some of the most common dog health problems and what you can do to prevent them.
Diarrhea And Vomiting
If your dog has vomited once or had diarrhea once then there is usually no cause for concern. But if your dog is continuously vomiting then you need to take them to the vet. The same goes for diarrhea. Have a look in the vomit or diarrhea to see if there is any blood. If the diarrhea is black (or dark) this can mean a fever, a change in appetite, sudden lethargy or weight loss.
Always make sure that your dog is hydrated after diarrhea or vomiting. Give her plenty of water and provide some bland food such as skinless chicken (cooked), rice and boiled potatoes. Your vet may advise you that to stop the diarrhea, it will be necessary for you to refrain from feeding your dog for 12 hours or even a day.
Diarrhea and vomiting can be cause by your dog eating the wrong foods. If your dog’s food is filled with sugars and preservatives this can be asking for trouble. Your dog requires the right amount of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Ask your vet or your local pet store for advice on what to feed your dog, and use the correct dog feeding techniques.
Diseases Spread By Infection
Distemper and canine parvovirus are common dog diseases spread by infection. Your dog can contract canine parvovirus through the feces of an infected dog, so don’t let her go near other dog’s feces. This disease is very contagious, and can be a fatal disease for your dog. If your dog develops blood in diarrhea or vomit, loses their appetite or becomes very lethargic then take them to the vet.
Your dog can contract distemper if they come into contact with an infected dog’s saliva, blood or urine. This disease can have a harmful effect on your dog’s central nervous system, their eyes, their gastrointestinal system and their respiratory system. Check your dog for breathing problems, coughing, sneezing, diarrhea or vomiting, a loss of appetite or a fever. If their eyes have a thick mucous then this can be a sign of distemper.
To prevent these kinds of diseases ensure that your dog is properly vaccinated. Start this process off when your dog is a young puppy. If your dog has canine parvovirus this can be treated by the use of anti-biotics, IV fluids to stop dehydration from occurring, anti pain and anti vomiting drugs. Distemper treatment includes anti-biotics to stop pneumonia occurring if your dog is coughing, seizure control drugs and IV fluids.
This is a very serious problem for your dog and it can be fatal. If this happens, your dog’s arteries and heart will be infected by parasites. Mosquito bites can expose your dog to larvae, which can then turn into big worms if it is not treated. Some of the symptoms of heartworm can be depression where your dog is not interested in seeing you, collapsing and coughing.
It is easy to prevent heartworms by using topical, a once a month tablet, oral drugs taken daily or injections. If your dog does contract heartworms they can be treated with strong drugs that will kill off the parasites and in extreme cases surgery will be required.
Your Dog Is Obese
There are many overweight dogs in our society today. Obesity can cause some severe health problems for your dog including diabetes, liver disease and painful joints. Dog obesity is largely caused by feeding your dog foods that are calorie dense, combined with your dog not getting enough exercise.
How do you check to see if your dog is at her ideal weight? Well you should be able to feel her ribs and backbone without pressing too hard. There should be a visible waist between the hips and the lower ribs when you look at your dog from above. Your dog’s abdomen should be seen to go from the bottom of their rib cage to their thighs.
If after checking your dog they fail any of these tests, take her to the vet and ask their advice on the correct diet for her. You can prevent your dog from becoming obese by decreasing their calorie intake, and increasing the number of calories that they output. Give your dog smaller meals during the day and cut down on the number of treats and snacks. Exercise is very important so take them out regularly.
Dog Skin Problems
A lot of skin problems in dogs are caused by allergies, skin infections and parasites. One of the most common skin problems is mange, and this is caused by mites living in your dog’s hair follicles. Ticks, sarcoptic mange mites, ear mites and fleas are all parasites that can land on your dog.
Your dog can get rashes from dust mites, mold and pollen. Allergies can also develop to ingredients in their food such as wheat, beef, corn, chicken or soy. Ringworm is a skin problem that is all too common and very nasty for your dog. It is a fungal infection and very contagious. Ringworm can cause short hair or even loss of hair or even scaly patches.
You can prevent fleas and ticks by requesting a topical agent from your vet that lasts for a month. If you see ticks or fleas on your dog, then these can be treated by the use of special shampoos that kill the invaders. Any itching can be controlled by the use of anti-biotics, corticosteroids, anti fungal drugs and anti histamines.
Making sure that your dog gets as much exercise as possible is very important. If your backyard is not enclosed then you can get an outdoor dog kennel for your dog. Please read our review of the best outdoor dog kennels.
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Are there any times in particular during the year which I should be watching out for my dog? I try to keep a watchful eye all year round but if there are any high periods of infection I can be extra watchful!
This is a great list. I also recommend keeping a list of food that dogs can’t eat taped to the fridge. That will also has helped out a lot especially with guests in the home from keeping bad foods away from my dogs.