Know what health problems your dog may encounter throughout its life!
The connection between humans and their pets is strong and can last for life, but unfortunately, every single being (even our beloved furry friends) can experience some health-related problems at some point in their lives. While some can be mild or asymptomatic, others can be painful or lead to other serious complications, and of course, some diseases are curable, while others are chronic, and in this case, your pet has to deal with them for life.
However, as a pet parent, it is your responsibility to educate yourself about the characteristics of your dog’s breed, what conditions may occur over time, and what factors may lead to health illnesses. Plus, you should never skip vet checkups. If you don’t know how to notice the symptoms of your dog, you have to take them to your vet for some medical tests.
When it comes to adopting a pet, many people aren’t aware of what it means to raise a dog, so they end up abandoning them due to problematic behavior or other apparent reasons. Firs thing you have to take into consideration when you think you are ready for adopting a dog is that they need more than your affection and love.
For example, they need you to spend more time with them and play various games to stimulate their mind, keep their bodies in shape, and help them consume their energy; you have to provide them with healthy foods that are right for them, but take into account their allergies and intolerances – and the food should be changed according to their life stage; you need to take them to your vet regularly and pay for their vaccines, you have to take them for a walk every day and so on.
So, when you become a pet parent, you are the only person who is responsible for meeting their needs. Otherwise, you risk raising an unhappy and unhealthy dog with problematic behavior.
That being said, it is crucial to pay more attention to their habits and behavior, and if you see something strange, try to talk to your doctor. Moreover, learning more about certain diseases that can affect your dog too is also crucial. So, read on for more!
A cataract is a common disease that can be found especially in older dogs, but it can appear even in the first few weeks of a puppy’s life or when the eye has been injured. You will know that your dog has cataracts when their lens becomes cloudy – it usually leads to blindness. Of course, if you aren’t sure if your dog might have cataracts, you should talk to your vet. In fact, your vet is the only person able to examine your dog’s eyes properly.
According to animal experts, most of the time, pet owners won’t notice any symptoms in their dogs when the cataract is in its early stages, especially since it can occur almost overnight in some cases. The mature cataract can block the transmission of light to the retina, which can lead to blindness.
Some recent studies have shown that this disease is hereditary and there are more than 100 dog breeds that are actually prone to develop it over time. So, if your dog carries the gene mutation, it means that they are more likely to develop cataracts at some point.
If you want to make sure about your dog’s condition, all you have to do is to ask your vet for a genetic test. In addition, remember that this disease can occur in almost any dog breed, not just those with the mutation gene.
Osteoarthritis is a common disease that can occur particularly in seniors and large dog breeds. Unfortunately, this is a chronic condition, which means that there is no cure for it, but if you identify the symptoms when the disease is in its early stages, you can manage its progress and improve your dog’s quality of life.
This disease is also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) and is characterized by a progressively worsening inflammation of the joint. Your beloved furry friend can develop it when their cartilages start to deteriorate – the cartilage is responsible for allowing the joint to move. In other words, when the cartilage is broken down, joint inflammation occurs affecting your dog’s ability to move properly. The cartilage can be adversely affected by a lot of factors, such as your dog’s age, stress, and other disease and injuries.
Firstly, it is very important to remember that these health-related problems can be found in any type of dog breed, but some of them are more likely to develop these diseases than others because they carry certain genes.
That being said, when it comes to ear infections, there are some dog breeds, especially those with large or hairy ears, such as Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Poodles, or Old English Sheepdogs which seem to be more prone to developing it.
Of course, every dog can suffer from ear infections if you don’t clean them properly. The most common symptoms of ear infections include head shaking, scratching the affected ear, odor, dark discharge, pain, and itchiness.
Kennel cough or canine infectious tracheobronchitis is a common condition in dogs, but it is not as severe as you probably think, because according to animal experts, there are many dogs that can recover even without treatment.
One of the most common causes of kennel cough is a bacterium called Bordetella bronchiseptica. So, if your beloved furry friend inhales this bacterium into their respiratory tract, they will suffer from kennel cough. As the name suggests, the most common symptoms include persistent cough, reverse sneezes, or eye discharge.
More than this, if you suspect that your dog is suffering from this condition, try to keep them away from other animals for a few days and talk to your vet, because the kennel cough is actually contagious.
Even though this topic is quite disgusting to some people, we have to talk about this condition because, in fact, it is a common problem that can be found not only in animals but in humans as well. So, as long as you are a pet parent, you have to approach these less pleasant topics as well.
There are many causes of diarrhea, such as eating too much or spoiled food, various changes in their diet, food intolerances and allergies, parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, stress, and other serious illnesses such as colitis and cancer.
Read more about how a dog’s life can be in this book we recommend!
Fleas and ticks
Your dog’s fur can be the perfect environment for fleas and ticks, as these pests usually feed on their blood. They should be eliminated as soon as possible, because they can cause many health problems, such as various allergies and tick-borne illnesses. They are more common during the warmer months, but your dog can ‘catch’ them at any time of the year because their eggs can survive for months in your house.
Signs your dog has ticks: dark specks in their fur (which are actually flea droppings), white specks in their fur (flea eggs), licking and scratching frequently, scabs or hot spots on their skin. As I said before, these pests feed on their blood, so dogs that lose too much blood can develop anemia which can adversely affect their overall health.
Heartworm disease is a severe (and in many cases fatal) disease that occurs in pets, especially in dogs. It is characterized by foot-long worms, also known as heartworms, that grow in your dog’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels, causing severe lung disease, heart failure, and damage to other organs in their bodies.
Heartworms in dogs can become adults, mate, and produce offspring. If you don’t provide your dog with the right treatment, their number can increase to a few hundred.
Heartworm disease can be transmitted through mosquitos. How? Well, if a mosquito bites an infected animal, it picks up some microscopic baby worms (which turn into infective stage larvae), and then the infected mosquito will transmit the worms to other healthy animals when it bites them too. When baby worms reach a new host, it will take approx. 6 months for the larvae to transform into adult heartworms.
Broken bones, also known as fracture bones, can happen for a lot of reasons, such as road traffic accidents, falls, or other injuries. In general, dogs can break the following bones: the femur, pelvis, skull, spine, and jaw.
When your dog suffers a bone fracture, you will usually notice something sticking out through their skin (also known as open fractures), but in some cases, you can’t see anything so you have to pay attention to their behavior and notice if they have pain or discomfort (closed fractures).
Of course, all breeds are prone to fractures, but according to animal experts, toy breeds are more likely to have them because they have tiny fragile limbs.
Canine obesity occurs when your dog has excessive white adipose tissue. Obesity is often associated with decreased mobility and life span, diabetes, hypothyroidism, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, difficulty grooming, and so on.
The most common causes of obesity in dogs include overfeeding, lack of exercise, age, genetic predisposition, neutering, spaying, hypothyroidism, to name a few.
If your dog is obese or overweight, you should talk to your vet as soon as possible for possible treatment. Your vet will measure their body weight to obtain a body condition score (BCS).
According to animal experts, cancer is one of the most common causes of death in older dogs. However, there are some types of cancer that can actually be cured if you give the right treatment when the disease is in its early stages.
According to statistics, 50 percent of dogs over the age of 10 develop cancer at some point in their lives, regardless of their breed. The most common symptoms of cancer in dogs include a lump or a bump, a wound that doesn’t heal, swelling, abnormal bleeding, and so on.
Nevertheless, there are some types of cancer that have no symptoms, but if you see that your dog is acting weird, try to talk to your vet and do some medical tests.
Food can also cause health problems for your dog, but there are human foods you can safely share with them in moderation that will not cause them any problems! Read all about those unproblematic foods here!