Dogs cannot talk to us when they do not feel well!
We have figure out what is wrong with our dog by how they are acting, which can be difficult.
Unless you are absolutely sure of what is wrong you should take your dog to the vet and allow a professional to address the problem.
Signs your dog may be ill
There are signs that your dog may be ill.
- Breath that stinks
- Drinking or urination that is more than normal
- Changes in feeding; lack of or eating more causing weight gain or loss
- Lethargic or lack of curiosity
- Stiffness especially when getting up
- Napping more than normal
- Coughing, sneezing, extreme or labored breathing or huffing
- Skin that is dry or itches, wounds, bumps, or shaking of the head
- Frequent digestive issues or change in stools
- Eyes which are dried out, red, or cloudy
Minor dog ailments
The most common dog ailments are;
- ear infections
Some symptoms fall in one or more of the ailments. An example is worms can cause diarrhea, but a stomach virus or bug can cause diarrhea. Fleas cause itching but so can hot spots. As you can see there are overlapping symptoms and that is why it is important to allow professional vets diagnose the problem.
Understanding symptoms of minor ailments
Symptoms of minor ailments differ for most but some ailments can have similar symptoms.
- Ear infections, for instance, will usually present with the dog shaking its head or tipping it. If your dog begins doing this, you should consult your vet to have the ears checked for mites and infection.
- Worms will have gagging or vomiting and or diarrhea. Depending on how bad the worms are you may find worms in the vomit or diarrhea. Immediately take the dog to the vet.
- Fleas will make your dog scratch and chew at it fur. This you ca treat with a flea dip followed by a good grooming and treatment with one of the many flea tick combination treatments that are available today.
- Hotspots the skin will be red and the dog will itch and lick it. If you find red splotchy areas such as on the belly that the dog continually tries to itch and lick take him to the vet.
- Diarrhea can be from worms or something that the dog ate they should not have eaten. It is better to consult the vet unless you saw the dog eating something bad and even then you should probably consult your vet to keep the dog from dehydrating.
Even though these are minor ailments you should consult your veterinarian.
This is why it is important that you feed your dog a nutritious diet and provide exercise as well as good grooming.
Good grooming can alert you to things such as fleas and ticks or even hotspots. When you include brushing of the teeth it can help prevent bad breath and weak or loose teeth.
Ways to prevent some of the minor ailments
You can protect your dog from fleas and ticks by using one of the many products on the market. You should speak to your vet first to make sure that it will be safe for your dog.
If your dog is having minor intestinal issues with diarrhea you can try boiling lean ground beef and rice to help ease the intestinal problem. Again speak to your vet to be sure that it is ok to do this.
When it comes to worms, you can use over the counter worm meds or get them from the vet. Generally speaking, the vet can get you better than what you can get over the counter.
Providing your dog a well-balanced nutritious diet and plenty of water is first when it comes to keeping your dog healthy and happy along with regular vet checkups. Grooming also helps keep the coat and skin clean and healthy.
Serious dog illnesses
There are several serious dog illnesses that can be extremely hard on your dog if not properly treated by taking your dog to the vet.
- Obesity is a serious problem for our pets as well as us. This is something you can help keep under control with a proper nutritious food, limited treats, and plenty of regular exercises.
- Fleas and ticks there are plenty of options to help keep these pests of your dog. Some work better than others. While some are stronger than others you will need to discuss this with your vet especially concerning allergies in your pet.
- Dental disease, training your puppy that teeth brushing are part of grooming will help keep teeth healthy and clean for life.
- Heartworm with this you treat monthly with medication that your vet will prescribe.
Illnesses that we can vaccinate against
These illnesses are serious, however, we can vaccinate against these. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to make sure your best friend receives the vaccinations for these illnesses.
- Parvo is a virus that there is a vaccination for. This virus is life-threatening and deadly if not caught early. It is extremely contagious which is why it is important for you to make sure that your dog stays current on this vaccination. One common vaccine that covers parvo is 5 in 1. It literally covers 5 diseases; parvo, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, and parainfluenza.
- Distemper presents with neurological symptoms, nasal discharge, and high fevers. The mortality rate is high. The rare dogs who survive distemper often bear long-term effects, such as; seizures and hardened paw pads.
- Rabies is another disease we can vaccinate for and you should maintain the schedule of boosters to protect your dog as well as those around you. Many states make it mandatory for you to show that you have had your dog vaccinated for rabies.
Like children, your dog needs to stay current on all vaccinations to keep him healthy and strong as well as stopping the spread of these diseases to other dogs that have contact with your dog.
Other serious illness that require medication
While the following illnesses do not have vaccinations, there are still serious and some require medical treatment.
- Arthritis for example, while there is no cure and it is not life threatening it can reduce the mobility of your dog’s life. There are supplements you can get from your vet to help reduce the inflammation of arthritis. Generally, the vet examines your dog and some may even have x-rays done in order to determine how bad the inflammation is.
- Diabetes just like humans, dogs can develop diabetes. Often the treatment is diet and exercise but there are times that insulin is required. Your veterinarian will determine what plan or medications your dog will need to manage diabetes. Diabetes is not a death sentence for your animal, however, you will need to pay attention and make sure to help your dog get the exercise required.
- Kidney disease can be congenital or develop as the dog ages. Unfortunately dogs with kidney disease tend to go downhill quickly. This condition shows up with blood work that is part of a once a year checkup at the vet’s office. It is important to pay attention to your dog so that you notice when the dog begins to have issues and get him to the vet as soon as possible.
Our first line of defense against dog illnesses starts at home with a nutritious balanced diet, exercise, plenty of water, and good grooming practices. In addition making sure that your dog is current on all vaccinations is also part of keeping your dog healthy.
When you take the time to exercise and groom your dog, you will find many issues such as fleas, ticks, hotspots, and others quickly which can be taken care of and stop the issues from spiraling out of control.
It also helps you take notice of things you should alert your vet to during yearly checkups so they can perform an evaluation before they become a serious issue. Early detection and prevention is the best way to help your dog stay healthy and happy for life.
Before you run to your vet, take a look at this informative video: