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9 Most Common Dog Health Issues (How to Prevent and Treat Them)

9 Most Common Dog Health Problems (How to Prevent and Treat Them)

Veterinary medicine has made a lot of progress in predicting future health problems in dogs, and veterinarians (and owners) are now much more effective at treating them. As a pet owner, knowing what the most common dog health issues are can help you avoid them, recognize them early and treat them in your pooch effectively.

Many dog breeds are genetically predisposed to certain health problems, such as higher likelihood of arthritis or hip dysplasia, and owners of those breeds should be ready in advance. However, some dog health issues are statistically more common among all breeds and scientific literature shows that the below nine dog health problems are what majority of pet owners will likely have to deal sooner or later.

ALSO READ: 9 Emergency Dog Health Conditions That Cannot Be Delayed

1. Skin Issues

Skin problems in dogs are probably the most common health problem dog owners face, which is not surprising since there are over 160 different skin disorders dogs can suffer from. The usual symptoms of skin disorders on dogs include scratching, chewing and licking of the skin, as well as visual signs. The skin may appear inflamed, red, flaky, scaly. Anything unusual in the way your dog’s skin looks and any abnormalities, can be a sign of a skin disease.

Skin problems in dogs can be caused by many different things but statistically they are more likely to be caused by allergies and parasites. Food and airborne allergies, and parasites like mites and fleas are the most usual culprits. Bacterial and yeast infections can also lead to variety of canine skin problems.

How to Avoid It:

Using a high-quality vet recommended dog shampoo can help your dog avoid skin problems in the first place. Regular hygiene and grooming will definitely help as well. Adding omega-3 fatty acids in the form of supplements or different diet (oily fish) is good for dog’s skin and coat health and appearance.

How to Fix It:

Treating skin problem on dogs itself is usually done with topical creams, ointments and oral medication. Due to there being over 160 different skin conditions, their severity and treatment plans vary greatly. However, it is also important to always treat the underlying cause. Take your dog to the vet to get the right diagnosis and therapy plan.

2. Ear Infections

While many pet owners may not think so at first, ear infections are second most common dog health issues that can often be spotted when pets scratch their ears or shake their heads. Other typical symptoms include ear discharge or debris. Ear infections in dogs are usually itchy and sometimes painful for the pet. They can be caused by bacteria, yeast, allergies or parasites. Some ear infections are simply caused by moisture in the dog’s ear canal due to swimming, bathing or grooming.

How to Avoid It:

Check your dog’s ears often to spot any problems early and clean your dog’s ears regularly. When you bathe your pooch or take him swimming, make sure to dry his ears properly to avoid moisture build-up (and do not spray water directly into dog’s ears). If you know that your dog has allergies, keep him away from allergens.

How to Fix It:

Treating ear infections on dogs usually starts with a detailed ear cleaning. Because in most cases this is not a big deal, you can do this yourself with a cotton ball and a cleaning solution (see this guide). Avoid using Q-Tip swabs since they often push any debris further in. Don’t use alcohol solutions since they can irritate the inflamed skin. Another option is to let your vet do this. After cleaning, the underlying cause (if any) also needs to be addressed with a proper treatment.

3. Internal Parasites

Parasites are all around your dog. There are internal parasites, like intestinal worms and heartworms, as well as external parasites like ticks and fleas. There are many types of internal parasites – hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, tapeworms and whipworms. The severity of this problem varies but it’s important to deal with it as soon as possible.

Internal parasites are one of the most common dog health issues that can be especially dangerous for puppies. For example, hookworms can lead to anemia and roundworms can cause poor growth and development. The most common symptoms of worms in dogs include coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, skin changes and presence of worms in fecal matter or fur.

How to Avoid It:

All pet owners must use a dog dewormer first and foremost. Then, keep your dog’s living area clean. Remove your dog’s feces daily from your backyard or sandbox and wash the dog’s bedding once a week. If your dog has a kennel or a crate where he spends his time, clean it regularly as well. Keep your home and backyard clean and deal with any mice or rats infestation promptly. Snails and slugs can also infect your pooch with internal parasites, so keep them at bay.

How to Fix It:

The therapy will depend on the type of worms but it will always consist of medication. The strength of that medication will depend on what condition your pet is in. If you failed to prevent worms, definitely take your dog to the vet to get the proper treatment. There are also home remedies you can use to speed up the deworming process but those should only be used alongside anything else your veterinarian recommends.

4. External Parasites

The most infamous external parasites that dogs have are fleas and ticks, but different types of mites like ear mites and mange mites are also common. These parasites may be related to many other common dog health issues mentioned here. Some parasites like ticks are clearly visible but you should also pay attention to symptoms like scratching, licking or biting of the skin or coat.

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About the author

Jessica Goldberg

Jessica Goldberg

Editor for @DogCoutureCNTRY | Love my outdoors yoga | Family, friends and of course puppies dogs. Go figure! social media geek at heart community manager. Follow @JessicaGoldb

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