Health Issues

Common Dog Health Issues and Their Symptoms

dog at the vet that is sick

Dogs have been loyal friends to humans since the beginning of civilization, and their unconditional love and unwavering devotion have endeared them to us for centuries.

But even our four-legged best friends are not immune to the occasional health issue. In this article, we will explore some common dog health issues and their associated symptoms so you can be better prepared to care for your beloved pet.

The first thing every responsible pet owner should do is learn about some of the more prevalent afflictions which affect dogs regularly.

Knowing what to look for can help you recognize any potential problems quickly, allowing you to seek appropriate treatment from your veterinarian immediately if necessary.

So let’s take a closer look at some of the most commonly encountered illnesses and familiarize ourselves with the signs and symptoms they might display if something isn’t quite right. Being aware of these warning signs can make all the difference when it comes to keeping Fido healthy.

Ear Infections

Ear infections in dogs are pretty common and can often be caused by an irritation or inflammation of the ear canal. Canine ear infections are often due to a wax buildup, bacterial infection, skin allergies, mites, foreign objects stuck in the ear, or even direct contact with water from swimming or bathing.

It’s important for pet owners to watch out for signs that indicate their dog may have an ear infection; evidence of pain when touching around the ears is one telltale sign.

Other indicators include pawing at the affected area, redness inside the ears, foul odor coming from the ears, shaking head frequently and loss of balance.

It’s not always easy to recognize these symptoms right away since, many times, and dogs will try to hide them. That said, there may also be some changes in behavior, such as avoiding food bowls or acting more irritable than usual. If you think your pup might be suffering from an ear infection, it’s best to get them checked out by a vet.

When it comes to prevention – regular cleaning of your pooch’s ears using a safe solution is vital! This helps remove debris build-up before leading to further complications like ear infections. You can help keep your furry friend healthy and happy for years with proper care and attention.

Kennel Cough

Ear infections are one of the dogs’ most treatable health issues. However, pet owners must know other common ailments, such as kennel cough.

Kennel cough is a contagious respiratory infection caused by airborne bacteria and viruses. It’s also known as tracheobronchitis or infectious canine bronchitis and can lead to severe complications if neglected.

The symptoms of kennel cough include a dry hacking cough that may become moist after several days, gagging, sneezing, nasal congestion and discharge.

Dogs infected with this viral disease may develop severe coughing fits followed by retching sounds—which could indicate the presence of another infection like pneumonia or even dental health issues.

Suppose these signs persist for longer than two weeks. In that case, it’s best to visit your veterinarian practice for further care and a treatment plan involving antibiotics and/or cough suppressants, depending on the severity of the case.

Whether you own one dog or many living together in a kennel setting, it’s always important to stay vigilant about potential infections in dogs so they can receive proper veterinary attention when needed.

The best way to maintain good canine health is through regular check-ups at the vet office, along with an active lifestyle consisting of plenty of exercise and quality nutrition.

With these simple steps combined with early detection of any unusual behavior or signs from your pup—you can help keep them happy and healthy.

Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is one of the most common health issues facing dogs today. It’s a contagious viral disease that affects multiple systems in an animal’s body, including the nervous system and respiratory tract. Without proper treatment, canine distemper can cause serious illness or even death.

The symptoms of canine distemper vary depending on the severity of the infection and which part of the body it has affected. Some common signs include coughing, fever, eye inflammation, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, paralysis and thickened footpads.

Canine Influenza

Canine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory infection that affects dogs. This virus can cause severe illness in pets and, if left untreated, may even lead to death. Symptoms of canine influenza include fever, coughing, nasal discharge, and reduced appetite.

Pet health organizations such as the AKC Canine Health Foundation recommend vaccinating your dog against this viral disease.


Another common pet health issue is urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs are bacterial infections that often occur when bacteria enter the bladder through the urethra or due to an enlarged prostate gland in male dogs.

Symptoms of UTIs include frequent urination, cloudy urine with a strong odor, painful urination, straining to urinate and blood in the urine. Treatment for UTI involves antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian based on culture results from a sample taken from your pup’s bladder.

doberman dog at the vet

Canine Parvovirus

We all know common dog health issues can be a real drag, especially for our furry four-legged friends. It’s no wonder that canine parvovirus has become one of the most feared and widespread diseases among pet owners today. Here are just some of the possible symptoms to look out for:

  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, which is often hemorrhagic
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Fever or low body temperature (hypothermia)

It’s important to note that parvo is highly contagious and can quickly spread from one infected animal to another through contact with saliva or feces. Even if your pup gets vaccinated regularly, it doesn’t mean they’re entirely safe from this virus, as multiple strains are circulating in different areas.

What makes matters worse is that even though the disease can sometimes present in mild forms, it can also lead to severe cases that may be fatal. This means that regular checkups at the vet are strongly recommended so you can catch any potential illnesses early on before they get too serious.

Periodontal Disease

Moving on from Canine Parvovirus, periodontal disease is another common canine health issue. It can affect the teeth and gums of our beloved four-legged friends in various ways. I

If left untreated, it can lead to further infections that could be life-threatening for your pup. Fortunately, with proper oral health care and regular exercise for your pet, you can help prevent or even reverse some of these issues.

Periodontal disease usually begins when bacteria form plaque along the gum line of your fur baby’s teeth. This causes inflammation which can eventually damage the ligaments leading to bone loss if not treated promptly.

The best way to avoid this problem is by maintaining good dental hygiene habits with your pup, such as brushing their teeth regularly, avoiding foreign objects like stones in their mouths, and scheduling regular checkups with a veterinarian specializing in canine companions’ oral healthcare needs.

In addition to taking steps towards prevention, treatments are available for dogs suffering from periodontal disease, including antibiotics for infection control and cleaning procedures at a vet’s office.

Fleas And Ticks

Fleas and ticks are like cruel little vampires, sucking the life out of our beloved canine companions. They’re external parasites that can be hard to spot until they reach total infestation levels and start causing health issues for your pup. Parasitic worms such as heartworms can also cause serious problems if not caught early on.

Autoimmune diseases such as aortic stenosis in French bulldogs may become exacerbated with flea or tick bites and should be monitored closely by a vet.

Signs of an issue caused by these blood-suckers will range from obvious indications like scratching and chewing at fur, rashes, or hair loss to more severe symptoms like lethargy, depression, anemia, vomiting, fever, joint pain, itching around the eyes or ears, diarrhea (to name a few).

Preventative measures are necessary when it comes to controlling fleas and ticks! Regularly treating your pet with appropriate medications is essential since some tick-borne diseases can even spread to humans.

If you live in an area where disease-carrying arachnids thrive, then staying vigilant when it comes to checking for them after walks is essential, too – remember: prevention is better than cure.


Diarrhea can be a common health issue for dogs. Loose, watery stools characterize it and is often caused by an infection or irritation of the intestines. Sometimes, it may also indicate that your pet has acquired internal parasites.

If your dog has diarrhea, it’s important to take them to the vet immediately to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Your veterinarian will likely suggest putting your pup on a bland diet as part of their recovery process, which helps soothe the upset stomach and replenish lost fluids.

Afterward, you should transition them to a balanced and healthy diet to ensure they receive the necessary nutrients.

It’s also a good idea to keep track of what types of food your canine friend eats and how much they consume daily – this makes it easier for your veterinarian to discover any potential causes of the diarrhea.

With prompt medical attention and careful monitoring of dietary habits, most cases of diarrhea in dogs are curable with no long-term effects. Moving forward, practice preventive measures such as providing plenty of fresh water and sticking to a nutritious diet to avoid future issues related to intestinal tract health.


Diabetes in dogs can be one of the most severe metabolic diseases a pet parent may face. It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms to get your pup treated as soon as possible and improve their quality of life.

The most common symptom of canine diabetes is exercise intolerance due to a lack of energy or general weakness. Other signs include increased thirst, urination, appetite, and weight loss (despite increased food consumption).

Diabetes can also lead to other problems, such as chronic pain associated with canine arthritis. If left untreated, diabetic complications like kidney failure can arise quickly, leading to more severe conditions for your furry friend.

Fortunately, there are treatment options, such as insulin injections, which will help bring blood sugar levels back into balance and keep your pup healthy. It’s best to work closely with your vet, who might suggest additional measures such as diet changes and regular monitoring sessions depending on the severity of your pup’s condition.

The AKC Canine Health Foundation offers resources on how to properly care for a diabetic dog, including information about nutrition, exercise routines and helpful tips when it comes to administering insulin treatments at home.

Taking preventative action by catching this common condition early can make all the difference for Fido’s long-term health and well-being. As obesity among pets continues to rise, it is ever more important for pet parents to take proactive steps toward understanding potential risks like diabetes earlier rather than later.


Having too much of a good thing can harm our four-legged friends. Obesity in dogs is one of the most common canine conditions seen by veterinarians, and it isn’t without consequences. While an overweight pup may appear cuddly and cute, obesity increases their risk for developing serious health problems such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Skin conditions

The cause of obesity is usually due to dietary indiscretion or lack of moderate exercise. But that doesn’t mean you must deprive your pet of all the yummy treats they love. Just give them healthy options instead!

It’s important to create an appropriate diet with portion control and regular physical activity so that your furry friend remains in peak condition. This will help keep their weight within normal ranges, reduce joint stress, improve energy levels, and decrease the likelihood of secondary infections while making sure they stay happy and healthy.

Finding a balance between food intake and activity level is essential when maintaining proper body weight for your pooch. Keep track of any changes in behavior or eating habits, as these could signal underlying issues such as illness or discomfort, which should be addressed by a veterinarian right away. With adequate care and attention, every dog has the potential to live a long life full of tail wags and puppy kisses!


Arthritis is a joint disease that affects millions of dogs every year. It can be caused by injury, genetics or just age-related joint wear and tear.

One common form of arthritis is elbow dysplasia, which occurs when the growth plates in a dog’s elbows don’t develop properly. Symptoms include pain while walking, limping or refusal to move the affected limb.

Another type of arthritic condition is patellar luxation, a dislocation of the kneecap that causes lameness and difficulty with movement.

Keeping your pup’s joints healthy should be part of their annual wellness screenings. As they age, you must talk to your veterinarian about supplements and medications that may help keep painful symptoms at bay.

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from general aches and pains due to aging, so regular checkups are essential in helping them stay comfortable as they grow older.


Similar to arthritis, cataracts are another common dog health issue. These cloudy lenses can cause vision loss and differ from hereditary factors to environmental influences.

Symptoms of this disorder include clinical signs such as dullness in the eyes or a whitish-blue hue on the pupil’s surface. Common signs may also include increased sensitivity to light, nasal discharge, or squinting in colder months.

It is important for pet owners to be aware of these symptoms, as they should seek medical treatment from their veterinarian or veterinary oncologist right away if any arise.

As with all conditions, early diagnosis and treatment offer the best chance for success when managing cataracts in dogs.

Although there is no surefire way to prevent this condition entirely, responsible pet ownership can help reduce the risk by providing adequate nutrition and exercise, regular vet visits, controlling fleas/ticks/heartworms, avoiding smoking around pets indoors and keeping up with vaccinations and preventive medications.


Heartworm is a common parasite that affects dogs. If left untreated, it can cause serious health problems, so it’s important to recognize the symptoms and take your pup for regular check-ups. Here are common signs of heartworm infection:

  1. A soft, dry cough
  2. Reluctance to exercise
  3. Fatigue after moderate activity
  4. Decreased appetite
  5. Weight loss
  6. Swollen belly
  7. Difficulty breathing
  8. Lethargy

It’s also possible for your pup to have other infections caused by fungi, viruses, parasites, and heartworms. Be sure to look out for any unusual behavior, such as lethargy or loss of appetite.

Your vet will likely recommend lab tests and X-rays to identify the source of the problem before treating it with medication specific to the type of infection present. If left untreated, these infections could lead to long-term organ damage or even death in severe cases.

Prevention is key when protecting your pet from heartworm and other illnesses – make sure you’re up-to-date on vaccinations and use preventative medications that your veterinarian recommends. Taking all necessary steps will help keep them healthy and happy.

dog at vet with bandage on his arm

Broken Bones

Broken bones are a common health issue among dogs, requiring the attention of animal control officers. From fractures to dislocations, any injury that affects the bone structure can be extremely painful and life-threatening for our beloved furry companions.

Symptoms may include limping or an inability to move one limb, severe abdominal pain, swelling in specific areas around the breakage site, and visible deformities in their physical appearance.


This is a common health issue in dogs of all ages and breeds. Cancer has many different forms, and symptoms vary depending on the type.

Dark discharge or bleeding from any body part could indicate cancer. Common illnesses such as harmless tumors usually appear during a dog’s later months of age, yet it is not unheard of for younger animals to develop them too.

In addition to dark discharge, other signs may include itchiness or inflamed skin, which could signify an allergic skin disease or contact allergies. It is crucial to get your pup checked out if they exhibit these symptoms, as early diagnosis increases their chance for successful treatment.

Cancer can affect every organ in the canine body, including lungs, lymph nodes, heart, eyes, liver, and more, so taking your pet to the vet is imperative when you notice something isn’t right.

Your veterinarian will assess your furry friend and order tests to determine whether a cancer diagnosis is present. Consulting with your veterinarian is essential for developing a course of action regarding treatments or lifestyle changes to ensure your pup lives long and healthy!

Early detection and diagnosis are key when treating serious conditions like cancer in our pets, so never hesitate to seek veterinary care if you suspect something might be wrong – better safe than sorry.

Watch For These Common Dog Health Issues And Symptoms

You want to ensure that your dog has a long and healthy life. Proper nutrition, exercise, vaccinations, and preventive care are all essential for good canine health.

Feeding the right type of food is an integral part of maintaining your pet’s well-being, as is ensuring they get their necessary shots.

Taking flea and tick preventative measures can help keep parasites from wreaking havoc on your pup’s system.

A common objection might be that taking all these precautions is too hard or expensive. While it may require some effort and expense upfront, this will pay off in the long run with fewer vet visits due to serious health issues down the road. You don’t need to spend a fortune to ensure you’re giving your pup the best care possible by staying current on its wellness needs.

Finally, if you think your pooch might be overweight or suffering from arthritis, talk to your veterinarian about what exercises are safe and appropriate for them to remain active and avoid further complications developing in their joints or other areas of concern.

Taking the time now to give proper attention to my dog’s diet and physical activity will result in countless happy years together.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Vaccinations Are Needed For My Dog?

The specific vaccinations required for every dog will depend on the lifestyle they lead, as well as their age and breed. Generally speaking. However, most veterinarians recommend core vaccines such as distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus and rabies. Depending on where you live and how much time your pup spends outside, additional vaccinations may be recommended by your vet, too – such as those that protect against Lyme disease.

How Do I Prevent My Dog From Getting Fleas And Ticks?

The first step in protecting your pooch is to keep their fur clean and groomed regularly. Trimming the areas around the ears, face, neck, feet, and tail will help reduce the number of places these parasites can hide. Additionally, regular bathing with a medicated shampoo designed to fight off fleas or ticks is essential if your pup likes to spend time outdoors. Make sure to dry them thoroughly after every bath as well!

What Kind Of Exercise Is Best For An Arthritic Dog?

A good balance between low-impact exercises such as swimming or walking on a soft surface will keep them fit without causing more strain on already fragile joints. If possible, try to incorporate short bursts of moderate activity like running and playing fetch into your routine – this helps build muscle around weak joint areas, which provides extra support.

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