Dogs are such a gift — during the good times, and especially the bad. They love us unconditionally and provide us with the kind of acceptance some of us search for our entire lives. It’s important to remember our dogs need us as much as we need them. After all, we are what they live for.
Annual exams are necessary if you want to keep your canine companion healthy and happy, but there are common health issues you should always be aware of. Read on to learn about four common health issues in dogs.
Vomiting or Diarrhea
Vomiting, diarrhea or both usually mean something is wrong with your dog, especially if either continues for a prolonged period. Think about what your dog has ingested in the past 24 hours and determine if it’s possible your pet could have gotten into the trash, cupboard or something else.
If your dog only has a short bout of vomiting or diarrhea, it could mean they ate something that’s upset their stomach, and they are just trying to expel it. These symptoms could also mean poor diet, a food allergy or that your dog just ate too fast.
Longer bouts of vomiting and diarrhea could be a sign of something more dangerous, like a gastrointestinal blockage, dehydration, toxicity or another serious disease. If this is the case, bring your pet to the vet immediately to have them checked out.
Toxicity and Poisoning
There are many things out there that are considered dangerous to your dog’s health and even their lives, so do your research and understand what these things are. It’s also a general rule of thumb that dogs should not eat people food, so stay on the safe side and avoid the gamble.
Both vomiting and diarrhea are good indications that your dog has been poisoned, as well as lethargy. So if you notice these symptoms and think it’s possible your dog has ingested something, get them to the vet for blood work and other testings. If you notice your dog has trouble breathing or has gone into cardiac arrest, get to an emergency clinic as soon as possible. It’s always a good idea to know where the nearest 24-hour vet is located in case.
Dogs experience a wide variety of skin issues, and itching and scratching are usually the first signs of one. Other signs include flaky or scaly skin, red sores called hot spots and hair loss.
If a dog chews or licks one area of their skin causing a hot spot, it’s likely they have a food, environmental or flea allergy. A simple change in the weather could cause dry irritated skin in your pet and further lead to dog dandruff, which is much like human dandruff and can be treated with similar products made for dogs.
Hair loss could indicate parasites or canine scabies, but it could also be the cause of over-scratching. You should also be aware of dog mange, which is caused by mites and is extremely contagious, so get to your vet immediately if you spot this condition.
There are many precautions you can take when it comes to caring for your pet’s skin and coat. Give your dog a monthly flea/tick medication to keep away unwanted parasites, and apply a medicated topical solution to hot spots to calm your dog’s itching and scratching. If your pet is suffering from a common skin condition, bathe them in a warm oatmeal bath to soothe them and apply coconut oil through their coat before you rinse them.
During your pet’s annual exams, your vet should give you an update on the health of their teeth. It’s always a good idea to take their advice on teeth cleaning even though it’s expensive because if you don’t take the proper measures, your dog could get periodontal disease and become very sick. Be aware of the common signs of dental disease like bad breath, plaque and tartar and any other discoloration around your dog’s gum lines.
It’s best to bring your pet in as soon as you notice these symptoms because lack of treatment could cause bacteria to enter your dog’s bloodstream, and that could cause serious health issues like heart disease and kidney failure.
To avoid a dental emergency, practice good oral health at home — give your dog chew toys, brush their teeth and swipe coconut oil onto their gums. If you keep up with these things, your dog will likely have fewer issues in the future.
Our dogs depend on us as much as we depend on them for their unconditional love and support. So remember your dog’s health is important — bring them to their annual exams, take the necessary precautions and learn how to spot common health problems so you can keep your pet around for a long time to come.
By Emily Folk / Twitter @EmilySFolk