What type of reaction would you anticipate if you showed your dog one of those charts that shows different facial expressions to represent different degrees of pain? It most likely wouldn't disclose anything. Perhaps your dog would just look at you with a puzzled face on it, like, “Can I have a treat now?”
Dogs may not always express their sorrow or suffering, since it is in their nature to want to see their owners happy. On the other hand, it may be more difficult and expensive to treat certain issues down the road if you put off getting veterinarian assistance until a health condition becomes worse.
Since animals are unable to express their distress, it is helpful for pet owners to learn about the most common health problems that affect dogs.
What signs can point to the need for expert help for your dog?
Warning signs that your dog may need to see a veterinarian
There are many indicators that may indicate that a cat requires medical treatment. Given that cats and other domesticated animals exhibit comparable signals, it is interesting that these markers have certain characteristics.
Fresh pimples or moles
rubbing or scratching their ears, buttocks, or body.
Changes in their energy level
stumbling or moving at a different pace
leaking or pooping in unsuitable locations.
Drinking more or less water than one would normally.
Eating things they shouldn't be (see our page on foods that may be harmful to cats and dogs).
Problems with the skin or hair loss
diarrhea or vomiting
Bad breath, also known as halitosis (see our earlier article on pet dental health),
making weird noises or breathing in an unusual way.
Changes in body composition or weight relate to adjustments in the physical appearance of the body or the weight on the scale.
It is essential to get in touch with your dog's veterinarian care team if you notice any of these symptoms. They will let you know whether it can wait until your dog's next routine checkup, or if it is a major problem that has to be addressed right away.
Dogs often encounter 10 common health conditions.
These days, a lot of people use the internet to ask questions about their own or their dogs' health. This makes great sense since it offers a handy and educational starting place, particularly in light of the availability of beneficial websites like Pet MD.
Obtaining a license to diagnose and treat health problems in pets requires substantial training for veterinarians. While it is feasible to do internet research on pet health issues, self-diagnosing and treating them is not advised. It might be difficult to distinguish symptoms of a health issue in your dog, since they often coexist with other problems. To identify the issue and suggest the best course of action for your dog's treatment, it is advisable to have your veterinarian do a comprehensive checkup and run several tests.
The most common health problems that affect dogs are listed here.
Ear infections, to start. Your dog may have an ear infection if they are scratching their ears, tilting their head, shaking their head, or having trouble walking. You should also be aware of any redness, swelling, or discharge coming from your ears.
2. Insects. When dogs come into touch with other animals' excrement when they're outdoors, they often get tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. Dogs may experience pain from these worms, and pups may even die from them. Watch for signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, decreased appetite, fur changes, or dragging their butts on the ground. At times, tapeworm segments that resemble rice grains may even be seen in their excrement. It's crucial to speak with your veterinarian since these symptoms possibly be connected to other problems.
3. Heartworm infections. If you are a dog owner, you've probably seen advertising or spoken with your veterinarian about the significance of heartworm prevention. These are worms that live in the dog's heart and enlarge with time. They are spread by mosquito bites. Severe heart disease or even death may come from this. I have seen some very disgusting pictures of dogs' hearts being full of worms, which makes sense of why these creatures die so tragically. The best and most economical method of guarding your dog against this parasite is to give them the medicine that your veterinarian has recommended. An excellent benefit of many of these medicines is that they also aid in the prevention of other parasites. It's important to remember that mosquitoes exist all year round, even in the winter. The best course of action is to give your dog a parasite prevention medicine on a regular basis throughout the year.
4. Ticks. An infestation of fleas may easily spiral out of hand. You should look for fleas if your dog is biting, itching, licking, or losing hair. Flea droppings show up on the skin or fur as tiny black dots. A severe allergy to fleas may cause anemia in some dogs. The best defense against infestation is to use flea preventatives, but if you forgot to do so, you need to see your veterinarian very once. There are many ways to get rid of fleas, and because they only bite dogs to feed on blood before laying eggs, you must treat the places where your dog sleeps or hangs around. After hatching into larvae, these eggs ultimately develop into adult fleas. The whole home might be involved in this struggle! Your pet's veterinarian experts can effectively diagnose if fleas are the cause of the problem, even if you are unable to see fleas on them.
5. Skin allergies, especially in sensitive and heat-inflamed regions. Your dog may have a food allergy or an allergy to anything they come into touch with if they are often licking or chewing on their hair. If they are persistently worrying a hairless, pink or reddish area of fur, they may have acute wet dermatitis or hot spots, which are bacterial infections. Fleas or ear issues might sometimes be the source of these hot places. For hot areas, veterinarians offer a variety of therapies. While many people support certain brands of over-the-counter medications as less expensive options, your veterinarian will prescribe a course of therapy based on their assessment and any further testing required to identify the problem's underlying cause. Any alternative therapy might be more harmful than beneficial if not used under expert supervision.
6. Throwing up. Dogs may throw up to get rid of anything unpleasant they ate, but they may also throw up as a sign of more serious conditions including poisoning, pancreatitis, renal failure, heatstroke, or intestinal obstruction. Dogs who vomit often run the risk of becoming dangerously dehydrated. It is best to get advice from a veterinarian who can diagnose, treat, and determine the underlying source of the problem.
7. Watery stools. Numerous things, including food allergies, parasites, stress, and diseases like arbovirus, may result in diarrhea. It might be dangerous for your dog since, like vomiting, dehydration could result. As a result, make sure they have a plentiful supply of fresh, clean water. Make an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible if the diarrhea is severe or accompanied by other symptoms including poor energy, vomiting, fever, or blood in the stool.
8. Arthritis. Joint problems may also affect dogs, especially in their early years. Although hip dysplasia or other conditions might potentially be the cause, arthritis may be the reason if you see your dog limping or moving more slowly than normal. Many of the tests and treatments utilized for these illnesses, such physical therapy, x-rays, and medications to decrease inflammation and relieve pain, are also used for human patients. Your veterinarian may recommend surgery in more severe cases; it is a very efficient way to relieve pain, but it may be quite costly.
9. Being overweight. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reports that more than half of dogs in the US are either overweight or obese. Their weight may also be attributed to other causes, such as hormones, heredity, and lifestyle, so it is not only overeating. Therefore, it's important to talk to your veterinarian about feeding your pet a healthy diet, and it's good for the dog and the owner to make sure the pet gets adequate exercise.
10. Dental disease. When dogs reach the age of two, a sizable fraction show signs of dental illness. It's best to learn about dental disease prevention, since ignoring this problem might lead to expensive cleanings and perhaps surgery to fix it.
11. Growths or tumors. Fatty lipomas, which are benign growths, are common in elderly dogs. Unless these lumps cause pain or impair your dog's movement, they do not constitute a hazard. However, it's best to get your dog inspected by a veterinarian if you see a lump or bump on them. Cancer is another condition that may strike dogs and spread quickly. Dogs may experience discomfort and restricted mobility as a result of tumor growth. As a result, it's critical to notify a veterinarian of any lumps or bumps as soon as you discover them.
Living Well with Dogs
In addition to keeping an eye out for the aforementioned signs, trust your instincts and don't be afraid to ask an expert for advice if you have any questions. When seeking professional advice, veterinarians are the most trustworthy. It's not always the case that those who seem more informed are really more knowledgeable.
In general, dogs are in excellent health, and just like people, they benefit from eating a diet rich in nutrients and getting frequent exercise outside in the fresh air.
You can ensure that your dog has a long and healthy life together by making sure he or she gets regular checkups, receives up-to-date immunizations, and is protected from parasites.