When caring for a canine companion, it is important to remember that their body and health needs are extremely different from our own. However, in modern times they have begun living with us in our homes and living a very human lifestyle which can be harmful to a dog’s health. Therefore, staying well-aware of their needs and being educated about what sorts of health problems they may face is very vital to ensuring the longevity of a dog. The following are some common health problems that dog owners typically encounter in their pets.
1. Ear infections
Ear infections: Dogs are very susceptible to these as their ears are very easy targets for many types of parasites and conditions that cause them. Your dog may have an ear infection if it displays any of the following symptoms: excessive head shaking, scratching, poor balance, redness around its ears (particularly inside the ear), swelling of the ears, and any sort of unusual discharge. If any of these symptoms are present, a trip to the vet is necessary.
Parasites: Worms (including tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, etc.) are very common in dogs. The affect the digestive tract and therefore create the following symptoms: diarrhea, loss of weight, different appetite (more or less appetite), and scooting around. These absolutely necessitate seeing a veterinarian. Another common parasite is fleas. This may be more obvious as you, yourself will be affected by them. Symptoms in the dog may include scratching, biting, licking, and dirt from the fleas. While home remedies may exist for fleas, often it is very necessary to seek a professional.
3. Skin infections
Skin infection: Often referred to as “hot spots,” these are hairless, inflamed, often red or swollen spots on a canine. They are typically caused by a bacterial skin infection. However, fleas can also be the culprit. Treatment may include shaving the area or applying a topical medication, as prescribed by the vet.
4. Chronic vomiting or diarrhea
Chronic vomiting and or diarrhea: These are obviously much easier to spot but contain a very wide array of causes. Causes for either of these digestive problems could be from any or more of the following: parasites, infection, pancreatitis, kidney failure, heatstroke, poisoning, virus, or issues with the dog’s diet. In addition to some of the more obvious risks, it is also important to remember that they can lead to dehydration so hydration is key. As with any of these, persistent symptoms are best treated by a veterinarian.
Obesity: This can be a huge problem with many dogs, however it is extremely preventable. It is important to remember that a dog does not function like a human being. Therefore it should not be eating calorie dense food or living too sedentary of a lifestyle (dogs lived in the wild prior to domestication, where neither of these issues were typically present). Proper diet combined with sufficient exercise is effective in treating obesity in most dogs. Should results seem unsatisfactory and the dog is still unhealthy, it may be necessary to consult a veterinarian who can engineer a more specialized plan for the individual dog.