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The 10 most common dog health problems

Published: July 2021 | Updated: August 2022

Your dog can become ill for a variety of reasons. While taking proper care of your dog might reduce their risk, unfortunately, some health problems can still arise. 

Taking actions to keep your dog healthy can help to reduce the likelihood of problems like these occurring. In addition, seeing your veterinarian for routine wellness checkups can help you detect health issues before they become serious. Always keep an eye out for any signs of disease in your dog. 

Although some dog breeds are more prone to certain ailments than others, the top 10 dog health issues are:

1) Skin Conditions

A wide range of skin problems affect many dogs. Skin problems in dogs are characterized by itching and scratching. The skin may appear abnormally red, irritated, flaking, or scaly. It's also possible that they'll lose some of their hair in the affected areas. Allergies, parasites, skin infections, and other factors can all contribute to a dog's skin problems. 

Consult your veterinarian if your dog is continuously scratching or gnawing, or if the skin appears abnormal. 

2) Urinary Tract Infections 

Urinary problems in dogs are quite prevalent. Dealing with a dog who pees in the house can be incredibly frustrating. 

Many pet parents blame urinary issues on bad behavior or a lack of training. Your dog, on the other hand, could be suffering from a urinary tract infection, especially if they are puppies, or have other medical issues. 

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection in dogs include:

  • Inappropriate urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Bloody urine¬†
  • Lethargic behavior¬†

These symptoms can also be related with other medical issues such as kidney disease and diabetes, so take your dog to the vet to have his urine checked if this sounds familiar.

3) Ear Infections

Dogs with ear infections frequently shake their heads and itch their ears. Ear discharge or debris is common, and the ears can have a foul odor. Itchy or painful ear infections are common. They can cause catastrophic damage if left unchecked.

If your dog's ear infection lasts more than a day or two, take him to the veterinarian. Ear infections are sometimes associated with skin problems. They could also be related to allergies.

4) Parasites

In your dog's world, parasites are everywhere. External parasites, such as fleas and ticks, or internal parasites, such as heartworms and intestinal worms, are among common infestations in dogs. 

Fortunately, parasites may be avoided by administering monthly prophylactic medications to your dog. Learn about canine parasites so you can better protect your dog.

5) Nausea and Vomiting

There are numerous causes for a dog's vomiting. While you don't have to take your dog to the vet every time he vomits, it's also not something to dismiss. Vomiting can indicate poisoning, gastrointestinal obstruction, or other serious illnesses. 

A dietary mishap can also be the source of the problem. If your dog vomits more than once or exhibits other symptoms such as diarrhea, lack of appetite, or weakness, you should consult a veterinarian.

6) Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is quite frequent in dogs who have visited an animal shelter, a veterinarian, or a pet boarding facility.

Unfortunately, it's not something that can be prevented (although vaccination has been shown to help), and while kennel cough may sound dreadful, it's nothing more than a normal cold for us. Giving your pet plenty of rest and excellent food and water is the best method to care for them if they have kennel cough.

If your dog's condition is especially severe, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to help you get it under control.

7) Dental Disease

Periodontal disease (a disease of the gums and tooth attachments) is a severe and often overlooked dog health issue. Bad breath in dogs is not normal and might indicate dental illness. Plaque and tartar in your dog's mouth harbor harmful bacteria that cause tooth and gum damage. 

Even worse, the germs can enter the circulation, causing significant health problems like heart disease and renal failure.

8) Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition in which one or more joints in the body become inflamed. Osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease, is the most frequent form of arthritis in dogs. Osteoarthritis is most common in senior dogs, although it can also be caused by past injuries or congenital problems such as hip dysplasia. 

The good news is that it's usually manageable. Supplements like Canine Cush, can assist in reducing the inflammation and pain (and be used as a preventative). If you suspect your dog has osteoarthritis, discuss your options with your veterinarian.

9) Dementia 

Dogs, like people, can lose cognitive function as they age, resulting in symptoms comparable to senility or Alzheimer's disease in humans. Confusion, whining or barking for no apparent reason, becoming lost in familiar surroundings, and potty accidents are all symptoms of dementia. 

These symptoms can also suggest other diseases, so if you notice these behaviors in your dog, you should consult your veterinarian. Dementia, like arthritis, has no cure, but it can typically be managed with the use of specific medications and activities.

10) Cancer

Unfortunately, dogs, like humans, are susceptible to cancer as they age and their bodies begin to exhibit signs of wear and tear.

Dogs can develop many of the cancers that humans do, including lymphoma, melanoma, breast cancer, and prostate cancer, to mention a few.

Surgical procedures, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are all options for cancer treatment. The most essential thing is to catch it early, as with all cancers, so keep an eye out for any unusual lumps or spots on your dog's skin, ears, or eyes.

Dogs With The Most Health Problems

As previously mentioned, some breeds are more susceptible to certain conditions than others. Although this is not a comprehensive list, the following are breeds more prone to various ailments than others:

  • Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies appear to be prone to a number of autoimmune illnesses, many of which include skin conditions. Sores and hair loss, especially on the face, are common symptoms of these disorders. 

One immunological disorder affects both the skin and the eyes, causing glaucoma and cataracts in the eyes. Corticosteroids, which suppress the immune system, are a common treatment for many illnesses. An immunosuppressant, such as cyclosporine, may be used by the veterinarian on occasion.

  • Bulldog

Bulldogs, like many brachycephalic (short snout) breeds, can have breathing issues. Snoring is caused by your bulldog's small nostrils, elongated soft palate, and short trachea, which can lead to a life-threatening emergency if they become overheated or overtired. That's why it's critical to keep bulldogs cool in the summer and to avoid over-exercising them.

  • German Shepherd

Hip dysplasia affects several large breeds. Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball and socket of the joint do not fit together properly, resulting in pain, arthritis, and difficulty walking. Inquire with the breeder about whether the parents of the German shepherd puppy have been tested for hip dysplasia. Parents who have healthy hips are more likely to have good hips in their puppies.

  • Beagle

Epilepsy, a seizure-causing brain condition, appears to be more common in beagles than in other dog breeds. Between the ages of 6 months and 3 years, epileptic canines will experience their first seizure. Though epilepsy cannot be cured, antiseizure medication can usually be used to manage frequent seizures (more than one per month).

  • Boxer

Certain cancers, like lymphoma and mast cell tumors, are more common in boxers. Lymphoma is a malignancy of the lymph nodes that affects lymphocytes, which are white blood cells. 

Mast cell tumors are a type of skin cancer that can come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can potentially affect internal organs. Cancer is often felt as an unusual lump or bulge on your dog's body in both circumstances. 

Both of these tumors may be treated, but early detection is critical. If you have a boxer, make sure to check for lumps on a regular basis.

Early Prevention and Overall Dog Health Care is Key

Regardless of the breed, or type of dog you have, placing focus on prevention and early detection is critical. You know your dog the best, so it’s important to be observant and watch for any changes in health, appearance, or behavior.