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10 Most Common Health Issues Your Dog May Face

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Dogs might not be the most common pet based on actual numbers (cats, birds and fish win that one), but you probably wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that more homes are shared with at least one dog than any other pet in the world. These furry friends waste no time in winning over our hearts and earning their reputation as man’s best friend. The thought of our loyal canine child becoming ill is something we all hate to think about but knowing what some of the more common ailments that your dog might face can help you recognise the early signs and get them to a vet for treatment. Here are the 10 most common health issues that your dog might face during their lifetime.

A picture of a dog and cat - Animal News Scotland
(Photo by Alec Favale on Unsplash) The Scottish SPCA and Blue Cross have launched a joint research study with the University of Edinburgh to identify ways to reach people living with pets in hard-to-reach, minority or vulnerable communities.

Cancer

The most common medical condition affecting dogs, particularly as they age, is the propensity to develop cancers. Many of the cancers that dogs are susceptible to are the same ones us humans develop. This includes immunity compromising cancers like lymphoma or breast and prostate cancer. The treatments for these aren’t dissimilar to the human counterparts either, often requiring surgery or even chemotherapy and radiation. Early warning signs that your dog might be developing a cancer is to keep an eye out for lumps or spots on their body, particularly their skin, ears and eyes.

Obesity

Just like us, if your dog leads a sedentary lifestyle with a poor diet, they can develop obesity. This obesity can greatly increase the risks of other health issues like heart disease, kidney problems and even arthritis. Preventing obesity starts with a good healthy diet and lots of walks for your dog. Don’t be afraid to cut back on their food portions if you notice weight gain and avoid giving them food scraps at all costs.

Broken Bones

While not very common, broken bones can have dire consequences for your dog in the long term if they aren’t properly treated. The most common causes of broken bones in dogs are falls or road accidents and it can be quite difficult to know if your dog is suffering as they often don’t show an outward display of discomfort. This means you should look for signs like a new limp or your dog not jumping up like they used to. New lumps on your dog’s body can also be an indication of a broken bone, particularly if they are sensitive to the touch. It’s important to have broken bones attended to by your dog’s vet as soon as possible.

Ear Infections

If your dog spends a good amount of time outside, there’s a reasonable chance that they’ll suffer from an ear infection at some point in their life. It’s not only our canine companions that enjoy the outdoors either. The most common cause of an ear infection in your dog is an irritant like grass seeds or dirt getting trapped in the ear, leading to an infection. You can usually tell if your dog is suffering because they’ll paw their ears a lot. Thankfully, the treatment for ear infections in dogs is well defined and antibiotic ear drops are very effective in fighting ear infections in dogs. You can also clean your dog’s ears frequently to prevent ear infections.

Arthritis

A health concern that is very common amongst older dogs is arthritis. It’s estimated that up to 20% of older dogs might suffer from arthritis to some extent, and while it’s much more common in older dogs, it’s not something you should ignore the signs of in your canine, no matter their age. The tell-tale signs of developing arthritis in your dog are usually linked to a change in their activity levels. You might notice they are sluggish and get up to their feet very slowly, or that they spend much more time lying around than they used to.

It’s not the easiest thing to detect in your dog because they often won’t complain about it, even though it can be quite painful. Remember to exercise your dog regularly from a young age using some of the tips in this blog post and add a joint health supplement to their diet. YuMOVE makes a range of options to promote good joint health in your dog. They offer a range of supplements tailored to your dog’s age and make use of high concentrations of Omega 3 from ActivEase® Green Lipped Mussels and other vitamins and minerals to promote good joint health.

Fleas and Ticks

Probably one of the easiest health concerns to prevent on our list is the infestation of your dog’s fur with fleas or a tick bite. They’re incredibly common and most dogs will suffer a flea infestation at some point in their life, but luckily there are many highly effective preventative treatments available in the market. More serious to your dog’s health is a tick bite, which could bring with it some very serious health concerns. Always check your dog for ticks after walking them, particularly if the walk includes long grass or brush.

A Kennel Cough

Just like we can catch a cold from those we encounter, our furry friends can too. The kennel cough is very much the dog equivalent of the common cold and is very difficult to avoid, particularly if your dog must spend some time in pet accommodation or in an animal shelter. Usually all they’ll need, just like us, is a few good meals, some rest and plenty of fresh water. If your dog gets a more serious case of kennel cough, your vet might suggest antibiotics. Vaccinations are available that will help prevent kennel cough too.

Cataracts

A cataract develops in the eye when the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy. This can happen over time as your pet ages, but it isn’t the only time a cataract might be a concern. Usually, as your dog gets older, cataracts become a bigger concern, but some puppies are born with them and they can also develop at any time in your dog’s life. Cataracts have a big effect on your dog’s eyesight and can cause other injuries because they might walk into things or fall down the stairs or from height. Cataracts are easy to notice because your dog’s eyes will become cloudy and white. There are eyedrop treatments available that might help prevent or slow the effects of developing cataracts, so speak to your vet if you start to notice it.

Aside from the general good health practices of choosing good, healthy food and the right supplements to support your dog’s health, it’s a good idea to take your dog for a general health check-up annually. This will not only ensure your dog gets a thorough check, but it will also give you some face-to-face time with the vet so you can discuss any concerns you might have. Proper care starts when your dog is just a puppy by getting them the right vaccinations, but it doesn’t stop there. Maintaining the cycle of parasitic preventions (like those that will prevent fleas and ticks calling your pet home) are of utmost importance. With proper attention and care, your puppy will grow up and live their life to be healthy and happy and spend many years as your precious fur baby.