Your four-legged friend can’t talk, so if something is hurting him, he has no way of telling you. That’s why it’s important to learn about most common dog diseases and their symptoms. Sometimes, only by spotting them in time can you help your furry friend get better.
Although it’s true that dogs can suffer from as many diseases as humans, but the fact is that there are some health issues that affect them more commonly than others. With that in mind, let’s talk about six of the most common diseases in dogs.
1. Ear Infection
Ear infections are very common in dogs. Sometimes they’re not too severe and can go on their own. But, sometimes, if not treated, they can turn into serious problems. The main issue with dog ear infections is that they can be caused by all sorts of things. Some of the most common causes of this problem include allergies, yeast, bacteria, and so on.
Sometimes, the root of the ear infection can lie in mites sucking the blood of the dog from inside his ear. And sometimes, the problem is caused by in-grown hairs inside the ear canal.
The reason why ear infections are so common is that the ear of the dog is moist and warm. Such, it’s an ideal environment for bacteria. And even that isn’t the worst thing about ear infections; what’s really terrible about them is that if they’re not treated properly they can make the dog go deaf.
This is why spotting an ear infection on time is of utmost importance. To do that, watch out for the following signs:
- The dog is shaking or tilting the head often
- The dog is rubbing his ears on the floor
- The dog is scratching the ear vigorously
- The ear is swollen and stinks
2. Heart Problems
One of the main reasons why some dogs don’t live too long is that their hearts can’t handle it. Many breeds have weak hearts, while sometimes it’s the owners’ fault. By overfeeding the dog, you can put a lot of strain on his heart. And if this keeps on going for ages, the chances are that he might end up suffering a heart attack.
The thing is that many dogs don’t know their limits; they’ll keep on eating to a point of puking and then do it all over again. But, you must know better. You need to stop feeding when it’s enough, even if he’s begging you for more.
Signs that your pup might need to go on a diet include the following:
- Trouble keeping up with you while walking on a leash
- Loud panting all the time
- A large flabby belly
3. Broken Bones
Believe it or not, dogs break their bones all the time and their owners often don’t even notice it. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic accident like falling down the stairs; a bone can be broken easily during playing and running.
The worst thing is that the adrenaline usually kicks in these situations so the dog forgets about the severe pain. You may see him limping, but other than that, he won’t show any signs that there’s something wrong.
This is why you need to look for signs on your own. And those signs are:
- Lumps on their legs, back, or ribs
- Trouble walking/running straight
- Whining when the broken bone is touched
4. Blood Poisoning
This is something that can be caused by various insects living in your dog’s coat, such as fleas and ticks. It can also be caused by parasites inside your dog’s intestine or his heart. The good news is that the blood can cleanse itself up once those things are removed.
And removing them is easy. You can find anti-flea shampoos and lotions in every pet shop. The same goes for medicaments meant to kill those dangerous parasites. The only problem is realizing that there are some creatures who are making your dog sick.
Here are some signs that your dog’s blood is being poisoned by parasites:
- Constant exhaustion
- Vigorous scratching
- Loss of appetite
5. Stomach Problems
Ever since dogs were domesticated some 10,000 years ago, they’ve been eating leftovers that humans give them. What this means is that their diet has been modified over the years to resemble the diet of humans.
The problem is that their bellies still haven’t evolved to be able to properly digest each type of food that humans consume. The result is that stomach problems are very common in dogs. The good news is that solving them is pretty easy.
Instead of feeding your dog the same kind of food that you eat, you need to give him the best dog food you can find in the shop. This way, not only will you ensure his belly doesn’t ache, but you will also make sure he gets all the nutrients his body needs.
Here are some signs that your dog needs a change of diet regimen:
- Unhealthy skin
- Unhealthy coat
6. Skin Infections a.k.a. Hot Spots
Hot spots are those patches on the skin where there isn’t any hair. And as their name suggests, these spots are hot and painful to the dog. They’re caused by vigorous scratching, through which the dog creates scar tissue that’s too thick for the hair to grow through.
The best way to deal with hot spots is to prevent them from happening. And the only way to do it is by making him stop scratching. What this means is that you need to find the reason why he’s doing it. In most cases, dogs are scratching ferociously when there are fleas and ticks in their coats. Regular dog grooming and use of anti-flea cosmetics should solve the problem.
How to recognize hot spots:
- Look for areas on his skin with no hair
- Check whether the skin in the affected area differs from the rest of the skin
- See if the dog reacts when you touch those spots
David Huner is passionate about everything dog-related. He’s a professional dog trainer, who also has interest in dog health. David is looking to share his knowledge with the rest of the world through his blog called Pet Training Tip.