vet giving a dog an exam

Most Common Dog Health Problems

Dogs are durable little creatures. But just like humans, they get banged up. They get sick. Get into garbage. Endure muscle strains, and deal with skin issues. And not to mention their bad breath.

Most dog owners worry about the same dog health issues. Luckily, most of them are temporary. And some of them go away with a simple change in your dog’s diet.

While no amount of internet advice should ever replace the judgement of a licensed veterinarian, we went ahead and compiled a list of some common canine health problems.

Rest assured. These issues clear up quick once diagnosed.

Skin and Coat Issues

If you own a dog, you know the sound. The incessant jingling of dog tags from Banjo trying to scratch an itch. It’s like (dog) nails on a chalkboard. And it’s also a classic sign of an allergic reaction that could be dietary in nature (more on this later). Here are a few common skin and coat issues to keep an eye out for:

Allergic Dermatitis

Dogs can be allergic to just about anything. Pollen, insects, grooming products, and certain foods are usually the likely culprits. Sensitivities or allergies to any of these can result in dermatitis

Is your dog itching up a storm? Ask your vet about changing food and identifying your dog’s allergies. In the meantime, treat any rashes topically with Corticosteroids or other topical rash creams.

Hair Loss

There’s a fine line between shedding and hair loss in dogs. A “Normal” amount of shedding is subjectively based on the breed and age of your pup. But full-blown hair loss is far from normal in otherwise healthy dogs.

If you notice your dog developing bald spots that steadily grow over the course of a week, contact your veterinarian. The cause could be anything from fungal to food-related.

Dry Flakey Skin

This is another pesky condition that’s often made worse by poor diet. Notice your dog developing dandruff?

During your next stop at the vet, ask them for a list of recommended high-quality dog foods that are known for improving your dog’s coat.

Hip & Joint Problems

Banjo used to run four miles with you every morning, but now he barely limps through two. What’s the deal? Nagging hip injuries are some of the most common musculoskeletal injuries that dogs suffer.

Hip Dysplasia

This is the most common joint issue in dogs and has a couple of underlying causes. Genes, nutrition, and exercise levels all factor in.

For example, certain breeds, like retrievers, German Shepherds, Border Collies, and Bulldogs are all genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia. Other than shopping around for a responsible breeder that screens breeding dogs for genetic issues, there isn’t much you can do about a dog’s genes. But you can keep your dog fit. Regular exercise and weight loss can lubricate and reduce stress on a dog’s hips.

Worried about how much pain your dog is in? Consult your veterinarian about drug-based pain management and exercise plans.

Dog Dental (Periodontal) Disease

Doggy breath is doggy breath. It’s never going to smell like spearmint. So don’t expect it to. However, if your dog’s breath is so bad that it makes you heave, it’s time to take action.

Try this: Put your nose next to your dog’s snout and take a whiff. Feel like gagging? Go visit your veterinarian. There could be a serious dental issue, like tooth root infection or gum disease, present.

Regardless, aim to brush your dog’s teeth three times a week at home, and start using specially formulated dental hygiene treats whenever you can.

Weight Management

You know what they say. Dogs and their owners tend to look alike. And that goes for more than just the hair. You can take yourself for a jog, but your dog can’t drive herself to the gym.

So if you aren’t getting exercise, your dog likely isn’t either. Aim for at least one daily walk and consult your veterinarian about changing your dog’s food, and the quantity she’s

Food Sensitivities

Odds are, you might be living with some food sensitivities or allergies. Whether dairy products tend to bother your stomach, or shellfish makes you itchy, you aren’t alone.

In fact, your dog might have the same problems. And while there is a difference between food sensitivity and full-blown allergy, both cause recognizable side effects.

Sensitivities usually result in diarrhea after eating and don’t spark an immune response in the form of rashes or hives. Allergies can, however. So if you notice any new rashes or skin issues in your pets (see above), start taking a critical look at the ingredients in your dog’s food. Either way, consult your veterinarian before making any drastic diet changes.

Got Questions?

Murdoch’s has the answers. We’re proud of our knowledgeable staff, and they’re always willing to help. So lean on them. And next time you’re near one of our stores, swing through and see if there’s anything you or your pet just can’t live without.