As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to keep your dog healthy and happy. This means always being on the lookout for indications there might be something wrong with your dog. Watch for behavioral changes and physical changes, and bring concerns to your veterinarian’s attention right away. Also, monitor your dog for signs and symptoms of the health problems listed below, as they are some of the most common health problems to affect dogs.
Fleas are external parasites that feed off a host’s blood. They reproduce rapidly, easily turning into a massive infestation. Watch for excessive scratching or biting at the skin, small black bugs on your dog, small black dots on your dog’s skin (“flea dirt”), hot spots, signs of allergic dermatitis, and hair loss. Speak to a vet about the best flea treatment option for your dog.
Bacteria, yeast, ear mites, and other agents commonly cause ear infections in dogs. Redness, swelling, discharge, or a foul odor are typical symptoms, as are repeated head shaking, scratching at the ear, loss of balance, and abnormal back-and-forth eye movements. A professional ear cleaning, antibiotics, or other treatments may be necessary, depending on the cause.
Infected Anal Glands:
Another common canine infection affects the anal glands. If you notice a foul odor and/or drainage from the anal sacs, your dog probably has an infection. Also, watch for frequent scooting or recurrent nipping at the tail. If these symptoms occur, see your veterinarian to determine whether a draining procedure, antibiotics, or a surgical correction is needed.
Tapeworms, whipworms, roundworms, and hookworms are internal parasites that commonly infect dogs. Diarrhea (sometimes bloody), changes to your dog’s appetite, weight loss, a scruffy or dry coat, scooting, and a shabby appearance may indicate an intestinal worm. Your veterinarian can diagnose a parasite and recommend an appropriate worming medication and a preventive worming regimen.
Periodontal disease is irreversible. Bad breath and buildup around the gums are warning signs, and damage is permanent once the gums separate from the teeth. Prevention is key, requiring a continuous dental care regimen. Brush your dog’s teeth and gum line every few days and opt for dental treats that remove food and plaque buildup. A veterinary teeth cleaning is also a good idea from time to time.