August 13, 2016

5 Common Diseases In Dogs – You Need To Watch Out For

There are those really long days when I just want to talk to someone without the normal back and forth banter. That is when I talk with my 3-year-old English bulldog, there is just something quite comforting looking at those puppy dog eyes that just melts away the day’s stress.

It brings me peace knowing my fur baby won’t ever get mad or bored at me regardless of what I say to him. Sometimes, though, the ability to talk back has its perks. Case in point; the day before yesterday, my dog refused to eat and I had no idea why.

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I found myself wishing my dog can talk (crazy, right?) so he can tell me what is wrong with him. Not one to take chances, I immediately called my vet and told him the situation, he said that it is most likely an effect of the vaccine he was given this morning and that the loss of appetite is only temporary.

True enough, by night time, my dog was already back to his usual food begging routine. Maybe I am just paranoid but after the incident, I compiled a list of common diseases in dogs to have a better knowledge on what I should watch out for.

1

Skin Infection

Skin Infection

What It Is

One of the most common diseases in dogs is a skin infection or what is commonly known as hot spots. It basically makes your dog really itchy uncomfortable. It usually makes your dog scratch, lick, and chew on his skin badly enough it sometimes bleeds and makes the spot bigger.

Cause

Anything that irritates the skin of your dog. It can be from a food allergy, environmental allergy, poor grooming, and even insect bites. Some bacterial skin infection can also cause it and might get further aggravated when untreated.

Symptoms

Excessive scratching of the skin, chewing and licking certain spots of the body. You might also see some hair loss, skin that appears to be oozing and moist, and red or sore spots in some parts of your dog’s body.

Solution

  • The first thing you need to address is the itching and scratching to prevent the hot spot from getting bigger and infected.
  • Your vet can recommend anti-inflammatory drugs to lessen the redness and some topical creams to manage the itchiness.
  • Frequent baths and better grooming might help prevent hot spots from spreading.

Have your vet assess your dog for long-term solutions and to determine the cause of the hot spots to prevent it from happening again? You can also try the tips mentioned in this How to Treat Dog Hot Spots video below.

2

Kennel Cough

Kennel Cough

What It Is

A highly contagious upper respiratory disease in dogs. It infects the trachea and upper bronchi of your dog making them produce a dry hacking cough like sound. Thankfully, it is often not that serious in most cases. Think of it like the common cold in humans, it is highly contagious, will last for a few days or weeks, rarely causes death, but is very uncomfortable and annoying.

This disease got its name from its very high transmittance from dog to dog that it can affect every dog in a single kennel in a very short time.

Cause

It is usually brought about several viruses such as Bordetella bronchiseptica, mycoplasma, and parainfluenza virus. If your dogs are in close proximity to each other, expect that they will all get infected. Dogs can also be affected when they drink or eat in contaminated doggy bowls and cups

Symptoms

For mild cases, the dog appears healthy, active, and still has a good appetite but will have a persistent dry cough that will last for days. In some cases, the infected dog will have a fever, nasal discharge, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

Solution

Most vets will provide your dogs with non-prescription cough medicine to make your dog more comfortable. Even if the infected dog already has no more symptoms of a kennel cough, be sure to separate it from the other dogs as they still remain contagious for up to 14 days. There is also an available vaccine against a kennel cough for future prevention, just ask your vet about it.

3

Arthritis

Arthritis

What It Is

Arthritis is one of the common diseases in dogs most especially the middle-aged or senior ones. It is a degenerative joint disease similar to those of humans and is as uncomfortable too. It can affect one or more joints and will usually cause pain and stiffness to the dogs

Cause

The usual cause is aging as it is degenerative. The accumulated wear and tear, ligament damage, fractures, and physical injury contributes to the advancement of dog arthritis.

Symptoms

Dogs that are affected by arthritis may show stiffness in its movement. Other dogs will be limping depending on which joint is affected. You might be surprised to see an affected dog snap at its owner, this is often because of the handling or petting causes more pain for the dog.

Solution

There is, unfortunately, no cure for arthritis but there are several ways to manage it and make your dog more comfortable. Diet and nutrition play a huge part in managing arthritis. Major pet food manufacturer offers dog food for “seniors” and tends to be lower in calories, has higher calcium content and is usually tested to focus on the needs of older dogs.

Here is a video showing you a massage that you can do to your pet to help relieve pain from arthritis. You may also consult your vet for the best course in managing your pet’s arthritis.

4

Flea And Tick-Borne Diseases

Flea And Tick-Borne Diseases

What It Is

Fleas and ticks are one of the most disgusting and easy to remedy the cause of some of the most common diseases in dogs and something most pet owners always look out for. These parasites often feed on your dog’s blood and bring a lot of diseases that your pet can suffer from such as Lyme disease, tapeworms, and flea dermatitis.

Cause

Dogs usually get infected if they got near a flea and tick infested animal such as a stray dog and maybe a neighbor’s cat. You dog can also get infected while walking outside as these parasites tend to live in grass and other bushy areas.

Symptoms

These parasites are easy to spot with the naked eye. They are can be found anywhere in your dog’s body but I noticed that they usually stay near the neck, in between your dog’s feet, and most especially the ears. Dogs that are infected scratches its body more than usual and almost on specific spots.

Solution

The best way is to prevent your dog from getting infected. There are several topical products specifically developed to prevent dogs from having fleas and ticks such as collars, sprays, soaps, and creams.

If your dog is already infected, don’t worry as there are also a lot of available products that can kill the ticks and fleas easily, such as tick and flea medicated bath, spot on solutions, and much more. Just ask your vet on the best possible course of action for this.

Read more: How To Keep Ticks Away From Your Dog

5

Obesity

Obesity

What It Is

A nutritional disease and can cause a decrease in the life span of your beloved pet as it increases the risk of your dog to succumb to cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity and Prevention, 58% of dogs in the United States are obese in 2015 and the numbers are steadily increasing. Here’s a video of a dog named Bolinha who was extremely obese at 80lbs and battled with obesity for years before being rescued

Cause

In the case of 8lbs Bolinha, he was left to fend for himself and had no one to control his bad eating habits. For most dogs though, the obvious cause of this is overfeeding. Some dogs just do not know when to stop eating and will continuously do so even if they are still full.

Older and middle-aged dogs seem to be more prone to obesity since their movements become less. This imbalance of food intake and energy usage often leads to excessive body fat leading to obesity. Eating unhealthy food, frequently indulging them in treats, and high-calorie food are also some of the causes that will make your dog obese.

Symptoms

Weight gain and excessive body fat is the most common symptom of this disease. If you are unsure whether your dog may be obese, you can visit your vet and have her check your dog’s body weight and body composition. An obese dog will have an excess weight of 10 to 15 percent of its ideal weight.

Solution

An obese dog needs to shed the excess fat off its body. To do this, you must learn how to manage your dog’s food intake. You must switch your dog to a low-calorie diet that is still rich in fiber and protein. You dog need to exercise too.

Start slow by walking him a few minutes a day, or make it fun by swimming or playing fetch with him. In no time, your dog will be back to his best form. For more tips to prevent dog obesity, check this article.

Conclusion

I am lucky that my dog is still young, healthy, and active but it always pays to know about these common diseases in dogs because you will never know when you might encounter them. I think I will call my vet tomorrow to ask her about dog obesity, I think my little fur baby is a bit on the heavy side for his breed.

I hope this list helped you learn more about these common diseases in dogs. Has your dog ever suffered from one of these? Let me know in the comments section below.

You can read more about your dog's health here.

Lucy Sheppard

Hi, I’m Lucy Sheppard. I love pets, especially dogs. My love for these true friends of humans turned into a passion. This passion led me to start this pets website so that people like me can benefit from my study and research.

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