Seven Common Dog Sicknesses

Mychelle Blake
veterinarian examining dog

Are you wondering if there might be a problem with your dog's health? Here are seven of the most common sicknesses that canines experience. If you have any concerns at all about your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately.

1. Diarrhea

PetsMD describes diarrhea is a sign of a disturbance within the dog's digestive tract. Perhaps he ate something he should not have eaten. Maybe you changed his brand of dog food. Most dogs will eat anything and everything, so if this is the case with your ill dog, he may develop diarrhea. Food should be withheld for approximately 24 hours in a case of recurring diarrhea, and you should feed your dog a bland diet instead of his regular food, such as rice or oatmeal during the initial recovery period. If your dog is feverish, lethargic or has bloody stools along with diarrhea, call your veterinarian immediately. He/she can perform a fecal test that will help determine if the illness is something more serious than just an upset stomach.

2. Vomiting

If your dog is vomiting and it is associated with fever, loss of appetite or diarrhea, contact your veterinarian. Your vet will ask you to describe the dog's symptoms, as well as what he ate and when he ate. Your vet will try to determine if the vomiting is a result of food allergies or perhaps a gastric disorder. He may take a blood sample or perform a urinalysis to rule out the possibilities of parasites and infection. If further tests are needed, ultrasounds and X-rays may be performed to establish the cause of vomiting such as tumors and blockages. Vomiting may also be a sign of a stomach illness caused from eating garbage and table scraps, as well as household items. Dogs also have the tendency to eat fast. Try offering your dog small portions instead of the full amount. You may also want to elevate the food bowl because this can assist in the digestion of his food. Another option is a slow feeder bowl that decreases the dog's ability to eat quickly.

3. Skin Problems

Mange is a skin condition that is caused by mites and can produce hair loss as well as red and itchy patches on the dog's body. If left untreated, the infected areas can become inflamed and produce pus drainage. Pets with mange need to be treated by a veterinarian since the vet can determine how serious the problem is and which type of medication is needed. Steroids are given to sick dogs with skin problems in order to relieve the itching. Medicated baths are also recommended. Ask your veterinarian which type of medicated shampoo to use before bathing your dog.

4. Ear Problems

dog with Collar

Ear problems are common among dogs. Bacteria and yeast can develop in these areas and cause discomfort and itchiness in and around the ear. Sick dogs may scratch these infected areas and even shake their heads to get rid of the pain and discomfort. Ear washing is recommended for any dog, especially ones with chronic ear infections. If your dog is experiencing ear discomfort, your veterinarian can suggest a proper ear wash solution as well as prescribe antibiotics or ear drops.

5. Bronchitis

Chronic coughing, such as bronchitis, is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes of the dog's lungs that may be caused by allergies or other factors that have irritated your dog's throat. Veterinarians may recommend a cough suppressant or over-the-counter medication to help relieve your sick dog's discomfort and coughing. However, chronic coughing may also be a symptom of heart disease or heartworms. Either of the conditions can be fatal if not treated. Be sure to have your dog tested to rule out this possibility.

6. Worms

Sick puppy

Dogs are susceptible to parasites. This can result in the presence of various types of worms, such as heartworm, tapeworms, roundworms and hookworms.

  • Heartworms are found in the dog's respiratory system and are caused by mosquitoes. This disease can be fatal if not properly treated. Heartworm prevention is highly recommended beginning from the time your dog is a pup.
  • Tapeworms resemble white rice and are found in your dog's stool. They are transmitted through fleas and can be prevented by using a monthly flea treatment. A prescribed medication can help in getting rid of these worms.
  • Roundworms are an internal parasite most likely found in puppies. These worms exit the body through the puppy's stool and resemble long spaghetti noodles. A veterinarian can perform a fecal examination on your sick dog to determine if roundworms and their eggs are present.
  • Hookworms are dangerous to your dog and can be transmitted to humans. These intestinal worms devour blood from the dog's intestines. If not diagnosed early and treated, your pet can die. If you notice anything in your dog's stool that may look like a worm, call your vet for an appointment.

7. Heat Stroke

For dog owners who live in humid places with high temperatures, heat stroke can be a common problem. If your dog is outside during the hot months and you notice symptoms such as heavy panting, swollen gums, diarrhea and vomiting, your dog may be having a heat stroke. He may seem lethargic and will have trouble walking or even standing. Heat stroke can result in a coma or even death if not treated. If you notice these signs, immediately find shade for your pet. Offer him a small amount of water, sponge him with cool water, and if possible, place cold compresses under his legs. Call your veterinarian immediately and let him know you are on the way.

To prevent your dog from becoming sick, make sure he consumes fresh water at regular intervals during the day, especially during hot weather. If you're outside playing or strolling through a park, bring along a water bottle to ensure your dog is hydrated. A dog with a temperature higher than 105 degrees Fahrenheit is in grave danger.

Recognizing Your Dog's Health Problems

These are certainly not the only health problems a dog may experience. Having a better understanding of the common symptoms of canine illnesses will help you keep your dog in better health. If you see symptoms of concern, contact your veterinarian immediately. There is no substitute for proper veterinary care, especially in the case of a health emergency.

Seven Common Dog Sicknesses