Four of the Most Common Health Issues for Dogs

Your dog deserves the same high-quality health care you would give to any other member of your family. Understanding the most common health issues in the canine world can help you to identify these ailments and address them quickly to ensure the safety and health of your beloved pet.

Worms

Dogs are vulnerable to a wide range of worm infestations, including the following:

  • Tapeworm infestations occur when dogs accidentally ingest fleas or lice that serve as hosts for the eggs of this parasite. Dogs with tapeworms may exhibit scooting behaviors and may not derive full nutritional value from the food they consume.
  • Roundworms are usually not dangerous to adult dogs. Young puppies, however, can sometimes suffer serious malnutrition or chronic diarrhea due to the presence of these worms in their digestive tract.
  • Hookworms can cause lifelong problems for affected dogs and may result in weight loss, bloody stools and other serious side effects.

Prevention is the most effective tactic for dealing with these parasitic infestations. Eliminating lice and fleas from your pet’s environment and administering preventive medications can help to keep your dog safe from the damaging effects of worms.

Ear Infections

Often caused by ear mites or allergies, ear infections can be painful for your dog and can potentially have serious implications for balance, hearing and overall health. Some of the most common signs of ear infection include the following:

  • Vigorous head shaking
  • Head tilting
  • Swelling or redness of the inner ear
  • Brownish or yellowish discharge from the ear
  • Scratching of the ears, sometimes to the point of bleeding

Cleaning and applying antibiotics and other medications can usually provide quick relief for most ear infections.

Gastrointestinal Upsets

Most dogs occasionally experience stomach upsets that can result in vomiting or diarrhea. If these issues become a chronic problem, however, a trip to the veterinary office is recommended to determine the cause of these gastrointestinal difficulties. Chronic or severe vomiting and diarrhea can be caused by a number of serious and minor ailments:

  • Parvo virus infections
  • Pancreatitis
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Mild or serious food poisoning
  • Stress
  • Heat stroke

If your dog runs a fever, refuses to eat or becomes dehydrated after an episode of diarrhea or vomiting, seek veterinary help immediately to rule out poisoning and to start treatment for the cause of these symptoms.

Arthritis

Older dogs frequently develop arthritis in hips and other joints. This can prove painful and may reduce mobility for some animals. Vitamin and mineral supplements can often provide some relief from these symptoms. Your veterinarian can often suggest safe and effective treatments for arthritis symptoms that can help to restore mobility and reduce the symptoms of canine arthritis.

Your veterinarian can provide you with added insights into your dog’s health and can allow you to make the right choices regarding diet, exercise and preventive treatments. By working together to provide your dog with the right veterinary care and vitamin supplements, you and your vet can ensure a longer and happier life for your beloved pet.

Five Critical Elements of Responsible Pet Care

Ensuring the health and longevity of your pet can ensure a happier life for both of you. Many pet owners, however, neglect some of the basic necessities of pet care through a fundamental lack of understanding of the needs of their dog or cat. Here are five often-overlooked but necessary elements in responsible pet care.

Dental Care

Regular veterinary visits are a must for any dog or cat. Most areas require annual rabies shots to protect pets and other animals from the spread of this deadly disease. Other annual shots are designed to provide protection against various illnesses and to minimize the effects of fleas, ticks and other parasites on pets who routinely go outside. Dental care, however, may be overlooked in the regular round of veterinary care. Both dogs and cats can suffer from cavities, infections, gum disease and other dental issues that require immediate attention by a trained veterinary professional. Incorporating dental examinations into your regular routine can help protect your pets against serious issues throughout their lives.

Vitamin Supplements

While most of the nutrition pets receive comes from their daily diet of specially formulated food, dogs and cats may require added help during various stages of their lives. Vitamin and mineral supplements can provide added energy, healthier fur and teeth and increased bone and joint health for dogs and cats of all ages. Many supplements are available over-the-counter and can provide added nutrients for pets on an as-needed or regular basis.

Exercise

Even if you have a fenced yard, your dog should be walked regularly to ensure that he or she stays active and fit. In areas where outdoor walks may be unsafe or impractical, running on a treadmill or playing ball in the backyard can provide healthy exercise for dogs of all sizes and breeds. Interactive toys can provide the same benefits for housebound cats and can create a closer bond between pets and their people.

Neutering or Spaying

As you probably already know, spaying or neutering your pet can prevent unwanted animals from entering the world and the adoption marketplace. These procedures can also have significant benefits for you and your pet in terms of health and socialization. Intact animals have a greater tendency toward aggression toward other pets and may try to escape your home or yard due to hormonal influences. Neutered and spayed pets are less likely to spray and often live longer, healthier lives thanks to this simple procedure.

Down Time

Providing pets with a safe area to which they can retreat when the noise and intensity becomes too much can ensure a safer environment for people and pets alike. For dogs, an indoor kennel or enclosure can serve as a safe haven from smaller children and unfamiliar guests. Cats often prefer to have an elevated shelf or area from which they can observe family activities at a safe remove. Making a space for pet down time can ensure that these domestic animals feel secure in the home environment and can engage fully with their human companions.

By adding these to your current pet care regimen, you can ensure the health of your dogs and cats and can enjoy many years of companionship together.