Your dog, as the saying goes, is your best friend. We expect our faithful companions to always be by our side. However, just like humans, dogs can suffer from a range of health conditions and illnesses, from kidney disease to allergies.
Luckily, most illnesses and health conditions in dogs are treatable. Here are the 6 most common illnesses and health conditions in dogs and what you can do about them.
1. Bladder infections
Bladder infections are a common condition in dogs, caused by bacteria entering the dog’s body through the rectum or genitals and passing to the bladder. These kinds of infections are possible in all dogs but affect females more than males. Diabetes and certain medications can also make dogs more vulnerable to bladder infections.
Symptoms of bladder infections include passing small amounts of urine containing a little blood, inability to urinate, and incontinence. Usually, bladder infections can be treated effectively with medication, so be sure to see your vet if your dog displays any of these symptoms.
Allergies, especially skin allergies, are relatively common in dogs. Signs that your dog may have an allergy include constantly scratching or chewing, hair loss, or their coat thinning in places. Allergies can be caused by fleas, as well as allergens in the environment or food.
There is some evidence that a ketogenic diet may help to relieve allergy symptoms in dogs. This makes sense given that allergies are often caused by a reaction to certain things in their diet. Look for specific keto food for dogs like Visionarypet, and try it to see if it helps your dog to manage their allergies.
Like humans, dogs can suffer from arthritis. In dogs, this manifests as osteoarthritis, and can be caused by joint trauma, birth defects, old age, obesity, or complications after surgery. Osteo arthritis is a degenerative disease rather than a condition caused by inflammation.
If not managed correctly, arthritis can restrict a dog’s movement, as well as cause old problems to flare up, like old injuries or congenital disorders like hip dysplasia. Usually, it is easy to manage arthritis in dogs through medication, though in some cases surgery may be required.
4. Ear Infections
Many dogs have large ears, so perhaps it’s not surprising that they are prone to ear infections. There are many reasons why your dog may contract an ear infection, from allergies and bacteria to ear mites and hair growth in the ear canal. If your dog shows symptoms such as head shaking or tilting, ear odor, vigorous scratching of the ear, balance problems, redness in the ear canal, swelling, brown, yellow or bloody discharge from the ear, or unusual eye movements, they may have an ear infection.
Your vet will be able to tell you the best way to handle an ear infection. Most of the time, you will be able to quickly resolve the infection by cleaning and medicating the ear. In severe cases, however, your dog may require surgery.
5. Kennel Cough
Kennel cough is probably a condition you’ve heard of, but what is it exactly? Kennel cough is a high pitched or honking cough that is followed by retching, and it is caused by an infection. This condition is highly contagious, hence the name, as it can be spread through very quickly through boarding kennels. The infection can be passed from dog to dog through the air or through contact with contaminated surfaces.
Allow with the distinctive cough and retching, other symptoms of kennel cough include a runny nose, sneezing, lethargy, loss of appetite, and a low fever. Kennel cough, luckily isn’t fatal. However, it has similar symptoms to other more deadly diseases such as canine distemper, so always see your vet if your dog has these symptoms. There is also a vaccine against kennel cough these days, which is a good preventative measure to take.
6. Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is carried by ticks, and as such dogs are particularly vulnerable to this issue. The disease is not caused by the ticks themselves, but rather the bacteria they transmit. It is carried by slow-feeding deer ticks that must be attached to the dog for at least 18 hours. The main symptom of the disease is lameness in limbs that can shift from leg to leg.
If left untreated, it can lead to kidney issues and even kidney failure in the long term. This disease is also highly preventable, by keeping your dog away from tick-prone areas and using topical medication to repel ticks, and kill any that do make their way to your dog’s fur.