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Dog Health Information

Accurate, reliable dog health information will help you keep Fido fit and happy... and that will make you happy too.

Lots of things play a role in your pet's health (or lack of it).

These include:

  • Genetics
  • Diet
  • Environment
  • Level of veterinary care 

When you know how to recognize, treat and prevent common dog health problems you're able to give Fido the best possible chance of living a long, happy and healthy life.

Happy Border Collie and owner after muddy walk

Keeping your four legged friend healthy is a big responsibility, and it's much easier to do when you have someone you trust in your corner, and that's why choosing the right veterinarian is so important.

If you're new to the area,  your current veterinarian retired or moved on, or you just aren't comfortable with the care your pets are getting, there's nothing wrong with looking around for a new vet. After all, your dog is depending on you to get him the best care possible.

You can check out this article for loads of tips and advice on choosing a veterinarian, and how to make sure he/she is a good fit for you AND Fido.

This page talks about lots of common health issues and problems, I also have two other pages which discuss puppy health and senior dog health. If your dog is on either end of the aging scale you'll find extra, age-appropriate dog health info. there.

Parasites in Dogs

Parasites can be external or internal, and range from being a nuisance to being life-threatening.

Veterinarian applying flea prevention topical to adult Golden Retriever

Fleas and ticks are one of the most external common dog parasites.

One or two fleas aren't imminently dangerous, BUT they multiply fast  and left untreated a flea infestation can cause serious health problems for your pooch.

Ticks can cause serious health problems too, as well as carrying and transmitting all sorts of diseases including Lyme Disease and Ehrlichoisis.

Skin Mites are a third type of external dog parasite. They are extremely tiny and either live on, or burrow into, your dog's skin. They cause various types of Mange.

Canine worms are internal parasites found in puppies and dogs.

Intestinal worms affect the digestive system and although very common a worm infestation can have serious consequences.

Heartworms affect the heart, and untreated will be fatal.

Tiny single cell parasites can affect your dog's digestive system and cause diseases such as Coccidiosis and Giardia

Dog Illnesses, Diseases & Conditions

There are a whole range of dog illnesses and diseases that you need to know about.

Veterinarian holding, and looking at, small brown puppy

Many of the most common diseases that affect dogs have the potential to make your dog seriously ill. Most of them are highly contagious, several are vaccine-preventable. 

Parvovirus is perhaps the most prevalent, deadly canine disease that's seen today. Usually a death sentence to unvaccinated puppies.

Other common (and potentially serious) dog illnesses include Distemper, Coronavirus and Kennel Cough.

Ringworm is a fungal disease which affects your dog's skin and coat.

Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza and Rabies are other serious, contagious dog illnesses.

Most purebred dogs have some breed-specific health issues, and large breed dogs are also at risk of some specific health problems, including Dog Bloat which can kill very quickly.

Dog eye problems (including Cherry Eye),  dog ear problems and dog paw problems are all fairly common and come in a wide variety of forms.

Dental problems and gum disease can cause inflammation elsewhere in your dog's body.

Canine allergies are on the rise and can be a result of food (ie dog food allergies), environmental or contact allergies.

Bladder infections and bladder stones are not rare in dogs, and although females are more prone to these than males they can happen to any dog regardless of age, size, breed or sex. 

Dog incontinence can happen at any age, and for a lot of different reasons.

Hypoglycemia in dogs happens when blood sugar levels drop too low, or too quickly. It's most often seen in tiny/toy breeds.

Puppy Strangles (aka Puppy Pyoderma or Juvenile Cellulitis) is an autoimmune condition which mostly affects puppies four months or under. 

Many owners have never heard of it, and don't realize how serious (potentially fatal) it can be.

Swollen lymph nodes under the chin and around the face are the first, and most recognizable symptom of Puppy Strangles. If you see this, get your pup to your vet right away.

Panosteitis also affects puppies, in this case more often the large or giant breed pups.

Lameness and limping are the most common symptoms and these are sometimes referred to as 'growing pains'. 

In hot weather Dog Heat Stroke is a real danger and it's vitally important to make sure your dog doesn't get too hot because heat stroke can kill.

Dogs can suffer from emotional problems just the way humans do. Separation Anxiety and Canine Depression are fairly common. 

Pregnancy in dogs is not an illness, but it is a condition which needs to be monitored and the expectant mom well taken care of.

If your dog is a senior (approx. 10 years and older) he may be experiencing, or at risk of, some specific age-related conditions. Visit my Senior Dog Health page for tips and advice to help keep your older dog happy and healthy.

Prevention & Safety Issues

Sometimes Fido will get sick, or injured, and there was nothing you could have done to prevent it, but that's not always the case.

There are ways that you can protect your dog from some dangers or diseases. These include:

Puppy proofing your home.... and this isn't just for puppies either! Older/adult dogs can be inclined to 'get into' stuff they shouldn't and making sure that your home is a safe environment is important throughout their lifetime.

Having pet health insurance can help make sure  you can afford to treat any unexpected, or expensive, health problems whenever they might arise. This can be a life saver. Literally.

Routine dog vaccination is recommended by the veterinary world, and the annual Rabies shot is required by law for the vast majority of dogs.

Regular preventative treatment for canine worms is also an important part of your pet parenting responsibilities. This includes giving a monthly heartworm preventative.

Neutering or spaying your dog can reduce the risk of certain reproductive disorders (as well as eliminating the chance of unwanted puppies).

Dog Poisoning happens more often than you might think, and knowing what to do in an emergency is crucial.

Dog emergency symptoms aren't always clear cut, so it's vital to know what to be on the lookout for.

Knowing how to keep your dog cool when the temperatures rise, how to recognize and treat dog heatstroke and how to protect him in cold weather too.

These items are toxic to our pets (includes food, drink, plants, cleaning products, candies, vitamins or medications and more).

There are some human medications which are also safe for dogs, knowing which are safe and which aren't is very important and could prevent a tragedy.

Dog medication dosage is generally calculated per lb of your dog's body weight. Check out this page to make sure you get this right Dog Medications Dosage

Having a first aid kit for your dog close at hand in an emergency.

Knowing what to do if your dog is bitten/injured by another dog is also very important information.

Every puppy/dog needs a veterinarian for routine, proactive care as well as for injuries, illness or accidents. 

When you're choosing a veterinarian for Fido, it pays to put in a little thought and research so that you find the right fit. It's going to be a long relationship so get it right and life will be easier.

Symptoms of Dog Illnesses

When it comes to useful dog health information, being able to recognize the signs of health problems means that it's easier to get your dog the veterinary help he needs quickly.

Sad little pup on checkered blanket

Some symptoms of dog illness or disease are very common, and can be seen in a wide variety of conditions - some serious, some not.

Other symptoms are rare or vague, but are still very important.

Some of the most common signs of illness in puppies and dogs include:

These are often among the very first signs of trouble and should always be taken seriously.

Repeated diarrhea and/or vomiting can cause to dehydration which could lead to organ failure or other serious problems... even if the original cause of the stomach upset is not serious.

Symptoms of illness in dogs can be physical - such as excessive urination or difficulty urinating, shaking, eye redness or discharge, hair loss, skin problems and more.

Symptoms of dog illness can also be behavioral and any sudden change in your dog's behavior should be investigated. Unusual aggression or fears, hiding, disinterest in toys/treats, unwillingness to do things that are a normal part of his day.

It pays to be observant and have Fido seen by a veterinarian if you notice this type of behavior. Check this page for help if you think your puppy could be showing signs of illness.

Knowing when an immediate veterinary visit is essential could save your dog's life.

Check out this page to learn how to recognize the symptoms which may mean something is seriously wrong...... Dog Emergency Symptoms

Treating Your Dog's Health Problems

The very first thing you should do if you are worried that Fido is sick, or has been hurt, is to get him to your veterinarian (or to a 24 hour pet clinic if things are serious and it's after normal clinic hours).

Your vet is the professional who will be able to make a diagnosis and recommend treatment options.

Veterinarian and terrier dog giving high fives

Did you know that the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) is the only organization to offer accreditation to veterinary practices in the USA and Canada?

An non-accredited practice isn't necessarily an inferior one at all, BUT if you choose a veterinary clinic who is AAHA Accredited you can be sure that it has passed some pretty stringent tests and is committed to excellence in all areas.

Learn more about AAHA accreditation here... AAHA - The League of Champions

For minor issues or routine care natural remedies or over-the-counter products MAY be helpful.

BUT.. if your dog has any pre-existing health conditions or is taking other medications, always consult your vet before giving him anything else (natural, homeopathic or OTC).

The treatment is often the same whether Fido is a puppy or adult dog.

These articles have puppy and dog health information, advice and product suggestions which can help in some situations:

Pain Relief for Dogs

If your dog gets hurt, or is suffering from certain conditions or issues, there are times when he needs a little something to help with the pain.

BUT you can't just go giving Fido the ibuprofen you have in your cupboard Certain human medications are very dangerous for dogs.

Find out what's safe, and what isn't, here... Pain Medications For Dogs

Aspirin may be given to dogs in some situations as long as you're very careful about dosage.

Because veterinary care costs have risen so fast over the past decade, and are continuing to go up, it can be difficult and stressful to deal with a major illness or accident if it should happen.

You can guard against having to empty your savings account or go into debt to pay Fido's vet's bills by making sure he has a dog health insurance policy.

It can give you peace of mind, and be a real life-saver in an emergency.

Dog Care Made Easy!

You can find a complete guide to all aspects of dog care (including health, diet, training and more) check out this page........... 
Your Complete Dog Care Guide

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