Your dog may live a long and healthy life, and never experience any health problems. However, it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with the more common canine health concerns so that if he should develop a problem, you will know what to do. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common complaints your dog may face, and what you can do about them.
Allergies: Dogs can be allergic to a variety of things including grass, flea bites and, less commonly, food. Allergies in dogs usually cause skin problems – although food allergies can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. If you see your dog scratching, licking, and biting himself, take him to your vet to diagnose the problem. Your vet can recommend treatment products and procedures, and you may also need to keep your dog away from allergy-causing substances.
Diarrhoea: There are two types of diarrhoea that dogs experience: acute and chronic. Acute diarrhoea strikes suddenly and doesn’t last long. It is often caused by food allergies, infection, or if your dog eats food from the garbage can. Acute diarrhoea can be managed without too much trouble. However, with diarrhoea, there is always a risk of dehydration, so you will have to ensure that your dog takes in enough water, even if he’s not eating. A day of fasting, followed by a special, bland diet should restore his health. Call your vet if the diarrhoea continues, or if your dog has a fever, abdominal pain, starts vomiting or seems depressed.
Chronic diarrhoea is a longer-term problem that is often caused by an illness such as Colitis or pancreatic problems. Your vet will need to diagnose the problem and direct the treatment.
Ear problems: Ear mites are parasites that live in the ear canals of dogs and they can cause a bacterial infection or inflammation. If your dog has ear mites, he may excessively shake or tilt his head. Your vet can easily diagnose ear mites – they leave behind a distinctive brown discharge – and prescribe anti-mite eardrops. You will have to administer the drops at home for four-to-six weeks. It takes some persistence to get rid of these parasites.
Ear infections are also common in dogs, especially dogs with floppy ears. If your dog has an ear infection, he may scratch his ears or shake his head. Treatment consists of a visit to your vet, who will clean out his ears with a special solution, and may prescribe antibiotics.
Fleas: Fleas can cause a range of health problems in both dogs and humans. They are difficult to spot and are usually diagnosed by the presence of flea dirt – black flakes or specks. Your dog may scratch and bite himself if he has fleas. However, even if he doesn’t scratch, the presence of fleas should still be of concern. To rid your dog of fleas, treatment will consist of a flea control program that includes treating his environment -your vet can recommend the appropriate flea control program.
Obesity: Excess weight creates a high risk for medical problems and can shorten a dog’s life. Obesity is probably the most common nutritional disease among adult dogs. It is estimated that 40% are overweight. A quick way to tell if your dog is overweight is to feel his ribs with the flat of your hand. If you can only feel the ribs with difficulty, your dog probably needs to lose weight.
Occasionally, underlying dog health problems can make a dog overweight. But overfeeding and under exercising are much more common causes of excess weight. If your dog is overweight, take him to the vet to rule out any medical problems. Your vet will set a target weight for your dog and select a proper diet. You will also need to give your dog regular exercise.
Worms: They are a common problem for dogs health and must be controlled for his safety and yours. The most common worms are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Although they may not seem to cause your dog problems, worms can stress his immune system, cause diarrhoea and vomiting, and, in rare cases, spread to people. A preventive program of regular worming should be a part of your dog’s health routine.
The good news is that there are more ways than ever to eliminate worms and other internal parasites, and your vet is your best resource for treatment. A thorough worming program includes flea control because fleas may carry tapeworm eggs. Some heartworm medications also prevent intestinal parasites.
The road to health Don’t be overwhelmed by all of this information on common health concerns in dogs. Your dog may never experience any of these conditions – and he certainly won’t experience them all at once. However, if you are prepared, you will be better able to give your dog the care and attention he will need. After all, he deserves your help in achieving the best health possible because of all the warmth and companionship he brings to your life. And if your dog is healthier and happier, both of you will have more time together – and that makes it all worthwhile!
Is salt really bad for dogs?
It is assumed that salt products are bad for dogs, causing problems such as high blood pressure or kidney failure or even skin diseases and hair fall. But, is salt really bad for dogs?
Diet for the moms-to-be and new moms
Diet during pregnancy…
The average duration of pregnancy in the she-dog is 63 days, but her energy requirements do not increase appreciably until the last third of gestation when most foetal weight gain occurs. It is important, therefore, to avoid overfeeding in early pregnancy, since this will lead to the deposition of unwanted fat and may predispose her to problems at whelping. A gradual increase in food allowance over the second half of gestation is all that is required and a satisfactory regimen would be to increase the amount of food by 15 percent of the dog’s maintenance ration each week from the fifth week onwards. At the time of whelping, she will be eating 60 percent more than when she was mated.
Caring for the pearly whites
Just like people, dogs need to have their teeth brushed and cleaned. But the fact is, probably the number one health problem for dogs, apart from being overweight, is periodontal disease. Regular veterinary dental cleaning along with specially designed pet toothbrushes and toothpaste and chew snacks designed to eliminate plaque, can help reduce build-up.
Unquestionable benefits of neutering
Changes in sexual behaviour – About twice a year, when females come on heat, males and females are strongly attracted to each other and show great ingenuity in finding ways to get together and mate. This behaviour is highly likely to lead to an unwanted pregnancy. Figures also show increased risks of straying and car traffic accidents at this time. Neutering a female dog stops her having seasons and so rules out the risk of her having a litter. Remember that some can have over 10 puppies! As for castrated males, they will no longer be attracted by surrounding on-heat females and will tend to display less territorial urine marking.
Common signs of aging
Your eight-year-old Toy Poodle is still hyper, fit, and happy, while your six-year-old St. Bernard is beginning to lag. Why? A dog’s breed and many other lifestyle factors affect whether or not your dog is actually a senior.
There are common signs of aging to look for, to determine whether your dog is a senior:
Moving more slowly: Like humans, dogs can develop orthopaedic problems, like arthritis, that are more common in older pets. If your dog is taking longer to get up or has problems with stairs, take him to the vet to determine the cause and talk about medications that can make him more comfortable.
Your dog is thinner or fatter: A dog’s metabolism will naturally slow down as he ages, and he may be exercising less now. Dental problems can cause weight loss if it’s painful for your dog to eat. In either case, see your vet to rule out serious problems and to find out how to adjust his diet and exercise schedule to something more age-appropriate.
Obesity in the Dog
What is obesity?
Obesity is an excessive accumulation of fat at the adipose storage areas of the body leading to increased body weight above the optimal physiological weight. Dogs weighing 15-20% or more than his optimal physiological weight are overweight; over 30% they are obese. Unfortunately, one dog in four is overweight and obesity is a rapidly growing phenomenon.
We have to be particularly careful with neutered dogs whose energetic need reduce by 30% as soon as the day after the surgery. We also need to be careful with very sedentary dogs and with some breeds known for their tendency to put on weight, like the Labrador Retriever for instance.
Taking Care of your Dog’s Ears..
Dogs have great ears. Your dog can hear sounds over a wider range of frequencies and at a greater distance than you. Unfortunately, dogs pay a price for their superior hearing abilities. A dog’s ear design contributes both to his advanced hearing and to many ear problems he may experience. Ear mites, infections and aural hematoma are the most common conditions. Read on to discover the symptoms of ear disorders in dogs and how to prevent and treat them.
Also called ear mange, ear mites (otodectes cynotis) are tiny crab-like parasites that live in the ear canals, and sometimes on the body of dogs. They feed on earwax and other secretions in the ear canal. Ear mites do not usually bite, but they can cause a bacterial infection or severe inflammation in your dog’s ears.
Symptoms: If your dog is suffering from ear mites, you may find he excessively shakes or tilts his head; or rubs and scratches his ears. You may also notice hair loss around his ears or odor emanating from within his ear canal. To check for ear mites, look inside your dog’s ears for a thick, dark brown substance. Mites can sometimes be seen as small, white moving dots.