Pet Food

A Guide to Managing Common Dog Health Issues

    Dog Health

    Just like humans, our four-legged friends can suffer from various health conditions over their lifetime. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to understand some of the most common doggy ailments and how to properly manage them. With the right care and treatments, many issues are preventable or can be kept under control.

    Skin Problems 

    Itchy, irritated skin is one of the biggest complaints veterinarians hear from dog owners. Environmental allergies, parasites, infections, and hormonal imbalances can all cause significant discomfort.

    For mild, seasonal skin irritation, regular bathing with a gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo may provide relief. More severe or chronic conditions like allergic dermatitis may require prescription medication, immunotherapy injections or frequent medicated baths.

    Keeping your dog’s living area clean and avoiding known triggers like certain plants, cleaning products, or fabrics can minimize flare-ups too. Probiotics and fish oil supplements also provide relief for some pups.

    Digestive Upsets

    Vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and other tummy troubles are common doggy issues as well, often stemming from dietary indiscretions or underlying conditions like:

    • Food allergies/intolerances – Proteins like beef, chicken or dairy products are common culprits. The experts at Nextrition say that finding the best dog food for sensitive stomach with limited, novel protein sources is key.
    • Parasites – Roundworms, hookworms and other internal parasites wreak havoc on the GI tract and should be treated promptly.
    • Pancreatitis – This painful inflammation of the pancreas often arises from obesity or diets too high in fat.

    In mild cases, temporarily giving bland foods like boiled chicken and rice allows the system to reset. But see your vet if symptoms persist beyond a day or two. Dehydration from vomiting/diarrhea can become dangerous.

    Urinary Issues

    Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and stones/crystals are common in dogs, especially in females and certain breeds. Symptoms to watch for include:

    • Frequent urination or straining.
    • Blood in urine.
    • Excessive licking of genitals.
    • Strong urine odor.

    Without treatment, UTIs can develop into life-threatening kidney infections. Most need antibiotics to fully clear up. Prescription diet changes to manage pH levels can also dissolve stones and prevent recurrences.

    Dental Woes

    By age three, most dogs start developing plaque, tartar, and gingivitis if teeth aren’t brushed regularly. This bacterial buildup leads to gum recession, tooth decay and infections over time.

    Left untreated, dental disease can permanently damage teeth and jawbones. It also allows bacteria to enter the bloodstream, potentially causing problems with major organs over time.

    Professional cleanings under anesthesia, daily brushing with enzymatic doggy toothpaste, and dental chews/treats all promote good oral hygiene. Watch for signs of mouth pain, like reluctance to eat or play with toys.

    Joint Problems

    Large breed and overweight dogs are prone to arthritis, hip/elbow dysplasia, and other degenerative joint issues as they age. Symptoms include:

    • Limping or stiffness after rest.
    • Trouble getting up or using stairs.
    • Reluctance to go for walks.
    • “Bunny hopping” gait.

    Weight loss, joint supplements like glucosamine/chondroitin, and prescription pain medications can all help manage arthritis. More severe cases may require surgery. But staying mobile through low-impact exercise is key for joint health.

    Catching Problems Early

    Annual wellness exams allow your vet to catch emerging issues before they become bigger problems. This involves hands-on physical examination plus diagnostics like bloodwork, urinalysis and imaging scans if needed.

    At home, keep an eye out for any changes in your dog’s appetite, energy levels, breathing, potty habits, mobility, or behavior that could signal an underlying health issue. Promptly addressing concerns gets your pup on the path to effective treatment and recovery sooner.


    With some preventative care, quick response to problems, and help from your trusted veterinarian, you can keep your canine companion feeling their happiest and healthiest for years to come.

    Jacqueline Lowery
    Jacqueline Lowery, the founder of thepitsky. She loves pet too much and always research Pet life to make your pet happier and more comfortable.

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