Aside from being great companions, dogs can also provide countless health benefits to their owners. They can keep you fit and active, help you lose weight, improve your social life, and reduce stress. Dogs can also add purpose to your life, as well as prevent you from feeling isolated, especially when you age.  

Dogs can improve the quality of your life, but for you to continually enjoy this benefit, it’s important that you regularly look after their health. Dogs are like human beings, and they can also suffer from health problems that can make them weak and even cause their deaths. As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to keep your dog happy and healthy all the time.  

sick dog

For you to enjoy the companionship of a dog for years, learn more about the following common health problems faced by canines, and seek medical treatment if you notice your dog is starting to show any symptoms: 

 

 

  • Constipation 

 

Constipation is a common health problem among canines and is often caused by having too little or too much fiber in their diet, lack of exercise, or enlarged prostate gland. Some cases of dog constipation are also triggered because of matted hair around the anus, trauma to the pelvis, and dehydration issues from other illnesses.  

Regardless, constipation is a serious health problem that should be consulted to a vet immediately. Leaving this problem unaddressed can result in a buildup of fecal matter that can get stuck in your dog’s colon and cause megacolon. Megacolon is not a disease, but experiencing its symptoms can become the reason why your dog can no longer defecate.  

The most common symptoms of constipation among dogs include having a tense abdomen, hard, dry, or small stools, hunched posture, and lack of appetite.  

 

 

  • Fleas And Ticks 

 

Since dogs don’t know how to communicate using words, it’s important for pet owners like you to decode their body language. Observing how your dog behaves can help you determine whether your dog is healthy or not. And, if you do notice that they start to scratch excessively to the point where they develop skin redness and irritation, be wary because this is a common symptom of fleas and ticks.  

Almost all dogs will experience fleas and ticks at some point in their lives. Aside from scratching, your dog probably has fleas and ticks when they have a full body rash, fever, and show symptoms of weakness and nausea.  

Fortunately, fleas and ticks can be curable using the right medication. Depending on the age and size of your dog, your vet might recommend medication in the form of oral tablets, topical flea solutions, collars, flea sprays, or flea shampoos.  

 

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  • Arthritis 

 

Your dog’s body will start to weaken as they age. Regardless of how healthy their diet is, there will come a time when their bones will become weak and become more susceptible to arthritis. Arthritis is another common health condition among senior dogs wherein the causes are already out of the owner’s control.  

The main causes of arthritis are immune-mediated diseases targeting the joint, infections within the joint, and traumatic injuries to the joint. If your dog has been diagnosed with any of these conditions in the past, they’ll likely suffer from arthritis when they age.  

If you notice that your dog suddenly begins to limp, become wary when you touch certain joints of their bodies, or groan when they lay down or back up, it’s best if you take them to their vet immediately. These are common symptoms of arthritis and, when left untreated, can result in permanent loss of joint movement.  

  

 

  • Ear Infections 

 

For your pet to stay healthy, you shouldn’t only pay attention to their coat and behavior. You should also be wary of other body parts to determine if your dog is currently experiencing any other health conditions. Your dog’s ear is something that you should regularly inspect because its condition can speak volumes about the status of your dog’s health.  

Ear infections are common in canines, especially in dogs that are fond of spending time outdoors or in the water. Some cases of ear infections are also caused by autoimmune diseases, foreign bodies, injuries to the ear canal, and wax buildup.  

Excessive head shaking and scratching at the affected ear is a common symptom of ear infections in dogs. As the infection worsens, you can expect more visible symptoms, such as dark discharge and foul odor coming from your dog’s ear. Redness and swelling of the ear canal, along with crusting and scabs in the ear, can also occur.  

When you notice any signs associated with an ear infection, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Ear infections can complicate over time and cause deafness in the affected area. Fortunately, most dogs respond to treatment for ear infections once diagnosed early.  

dog in cone

  

 

  • Obesity 

 

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Nutrition is important in dogs, but overfeeding them can also take a toll on their health. One of the most important responsibilities you have as a pet owner is feeding your dog with the right amount and quality of foods. Giving them too much food during meals and neglecting their need to exercise will only increase their risk of developing obesity.  

You can determine whether your dog is obese by feeling their ribs, spine, or waistline. If you can’t feel any bones in these parts, your dog might be obese. Other symptoms to look out for in your dog are abnormal sagging, a rounder face, and reluctance to go for walks.  

If you think your dog is obese, schedule an appointment with your vet immediately. Obesity can make your dog susceptible to other serious health conditions, such as cancer, hypertension, and heart disease. Being obese can also put a lot of pressure on your dog’s joints and can become the reason why they’ll eventually suffer from osteoarthritis.  

 

Time Is Of The Essence  

Once you notice changes in your dog’s behavior, take them to your vet right away. Don’t wait for another symptom to show up to confirm your suspicion because once this happens, your dog might already be in critical condition, and treatment is no longer an option. The sooner you take your dog to the vet, the easier it’ll be for them to survive and stay healthy again!