The Top 20 Dog Health Problems, Solutions and Preventative Measures

Listed here are The Top 20 Dog Health Problems, Solutions and Preventative Measures.

This list may help you keep your best friend healthy as a healthy dog is a happy dog and your pet relies on you, his owner, to know what is wrong with him.


Are caused by organisms, i.e. Viruses, Fungi, Bacteria, or Parasites, being present then spread from animal to animal. Highly dangerous to both animal and humans.

  1. Rabies: A serious viral infection, can be deadly to both animal and human if bitten by a rabid dog. Transmitted via the exchange of saliva or blood from an infected animal.

    Symptoms: Seizures, fever, dropped jaw with excessive salivation, paralysis, aggression,

    Prevention: Part of the Core Injection puppies receive at 6 to 8 weeks from a vet.

  2. Parvovirus (Parvo): This virus is the most common killer of dogs which spreads like wildfire. Puppies with weak immune systems are not strong enough to fend of this virus, and are particularly at risk if exposed before their first vaccination.

    A healthy adult may dog may survive this deadly virus with a strong immune system.

    Symptoms: Listlessness, doggie off his food and drink, no energy.

    Prevention:  Part of the Core Injection puppies receive at 6 to 8 weeks from a vet.

  1. Distemper(Tick Fever): A parasitic disease that needs a vector,   a tick, to infect an animal. All dogs are prone to distemper if bitten by a tick and particularly puppies before their first vaccination.

    Symptoms: Inflammation of joints causing lameness, lack of appetite, depression, damage to kidneys.

    Prevention: Part of the Core Injection puppies receive at 6 to 8 weeks from a vet.

  2. Hepatitis: A virus transmitted via direct contact with infected saliva, urine, or faeces, either by a dog’s mouth or nose.

    Initial parts infected: tonsils and lymph nodes and incubation is four to nine days. The virus then enters the bloodstream.

    Symptoms (Mild): fever, listlessness, slight loss of appetite but your dog can recover on its own in about two days.

    Symptoms (Severe): Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, pale nose, tongue and gums, swelling of tonsils, head and neck, seizures and jaundice.

    Prevention:  Part of the Core Injection puppies receive at 6 to 8 weeks from a vet.

  3. HerpervirusCan live in the dog’s respiratory tract, the reproductive system of females, and in the semen of male dogs. It is sexually transmitted and the major killer of pups up to three weeks old.  Adult dogs live for years with no symptoms and remain infected, while the puppies die in the uterus, or are be exposed during birth inhaling the airborne germs of the mother. A highly infectious disease, severely infected pups can die within 48 hours.

    Symptoms: puppies stop nursing, cry, faeces are soft yellow/green, enlarged liver, painful stomachs.

    Prevention: Test for this virus early.

  4. Influenza Virus: Highly contagious, this virus infects the dog’s respiratory system. The two types of syndromes are mild and severe:

    Symptoms (Mild): A moist, sometimes dry cough, sneezing and nasal discharge lasting between ten and thirty days. This clears up by itself.

    Symptoms (Severe): high fever over 104 degrees F, leading to hemorrhagic pneumonia, eyes are red and runny, coughing up blood, trouble with breathing.

    Prevention: Keep away from dogs whom you suspect may have the virus. Have your vet check him regularly.



  1. Gastric Torsion: (Bloat) the dog has enlarged abdomen, wolfs his food. Bloat is serious if the stomach turns preventing air and fluids being expelled by the dog trying to vomit or burp. Affects mainly larger breeds of dogs.

    Symptoms: vomit with nothing coming up, restlessness, salivating, an enlarged stomach.

    Prevention:  Feed your dog his food where he has to find it in small doses hidden in his toys, where he has to hunt for it which lets him eat slowly. Have a vet ascertain if this is a case of bloat first.

  2. Kidney Disease (Renal Failure): Can be a result of distemper. Keeping your dog’s teeth clean and healthy can prevent chronic kidney disease as bacteria enters the bloodstream and can affect your dog’s vital organs.  Brush his teeth weekly.  Allow him to chew on hard toys. This helps to remove plaque build- up.  Acute kidney disease can be caused by poisoning, infection, or medicinal complications.

    Symptoms:Vomiting, fever, not drinking his water, not eating, not urinating.

    Prevention: Keep all poisonous substances away from your dog.

  3. Dental DiseasePlaque accumulates on your dog’s teeth creating tartar, leading to gingervitis and to periodontitis, a gum disease which is the cause of tooth loss in dogs.

    Symptoms:  Loss of teeth, smell doggy breath, loss of appetite.

    Prevention: Feeding a proper diet.

  4. Cancer: Dogs over 10 years may develop some form of cancer.  Most common and easily treatable cancer being Lymphoma, a lump forming under the skin. Just like humans, dogs can get many types of cancer. Manufactured junk dog food is thought to be one of the biggest causes of cancer in dogs.

    Symptoms: The signs of cancer can include change in his appetite, lumps under the skin, lethargy, unusual odours and weight loss.

    Prevention: Avoid using dog food that include these: BHT, BHA, and ethoxyquin listed on dog food ingredients label. Have your ageing dog checked regularly.

  5. Heartworm Disease:Bacterial- a disease caused by infected mosquitoes. Can also be transmitted to cats with deadly consequences. The treatment for this disease in dogs is painful as it involves many intramuscular injections which are arsenic based.

    Symptoms: Doggie rubs his backside along the ground, turns in circles and cries trying to bite his rear.

    Prevention: Have your dog de-wormed regularly.

  6. Chocolate PoisoningChocolate contains theobromine which dogs are unable to metabolize. Dark and baking chocolate are the culprits here, even a tiny piece of milk chocolate can make a small dog very ill. Four ounces of chocolate can kill a large breed dog.

    Symptoms: Runny stomach, panting, pacing, the shakes.  Seizures, uneven heart-beat, heart attack. Some symptoms can last for up to seventy two hours.

    Prevention: Use hydrogen peroxide to safely induce vomiting and get your dog to a vet immediately if you suspect he has eaten chocolate. Carob, a chocolate substitute is harmless to dogs.

    NB: Other foods poisonous to dogs are:  Grapes and Raisons, Onions, Macadamia Nuts, Hops, Yeast and Xylitol.

    NB: Household and garage products toxic to dogs:  Antifreeze.

  7. Fungal Diseases: Transmitted by airborne spores, living in contaminate and, can be deadly to a dog inhaling this. Some fungi affect only the skin.  Dogs are ten times more susceptible to germs in the environment than humans are. The following three fungal diseases are deadly to dogs and can affect the internal organs, mainly the liver, brain and lungs.
  8. BlastomycosisCan affect dogs in Eastern USA river basin areas and in the Great Lakes area as the fungi resides in swampy soil that gets little sunlight, along riverbeds, riverbanks and swamps. Dogs affected are large male breeds living within close proximity to these areas.

    Symptoms: No appetite, draining skin lesions, cough, fever, blindness, lameness, respiratory problems, enlarged lymph nodes.

  9. Valley Fever: The most deadly of the fungal diseases  affecting  dogs  and is found in the dry hot and dusty desert areas of the USA,  mainly Arizona, California and Texas.

    Symptoms: Respiratory problems after being in the above areas.

  10. Histoplasmosis: Found in bird and bat droppings in the Ohio river area and in Mississippi is not restricted to the USA, and can affects dogs worldwide.

    Symptoms: Weight loss, cough, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and gastrointestinal problems.

    Prevention: If your dog shows any of above symptoms, get him to your vet.

  11. Hookworm Disease: The canum hookworm infects by a parasitic bloodsucking roundworm and lives in the small intestine of the host, dog, cat or human. It sucks blood from the intestinal walls. Smaller than roundworm they cause enormous damage to a dog, cat or the humans system. The loss of iron and protein lead to severe anaemia, anorexia, and heart failure.

    Symptoms: Iron deficiency, anaemia, coughing, wheezing, fever, gastric pain, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea.

    Prevention:  Have a vet look at your dog if this is suspected.


  1. OBESITY – Incorrectly fed and overfed dogs can be obese. If this is not the problem and the dog is still obese, especially older dogs, have your dog tested for Cushing’s disease.

    Symptoms: Weight gain, increased appetite, lethargy.

    Prevention: Correct diet, exercise, and checked out by your vet.

  2. Diabetes Mellitus:Dogs also develop diabetes, which can be caused by damaged pancreas. More prevalent in females and could be genetic.

    Symptoms: Obesity, stress, thirst, weak, sudden weight loss, abdominal pain.

    Prevention:   Proper diet, exercise and vet care.

  3. Demodex: A mite all dogs are exposed to at birth. For a dog with a compromised immune system either genetic or following treatments, this mite causes a skin infestation known as demodicosis (mange) or the more severe demodectic (red mange) as the mites proliferate.

    Symptoms: Mange: thick dry skin lesions leading to dry alopecia (hair loss) or more severe red mange: a secondary infection showing as lots of red pustules with wrinkling of the skin.

    Prevention: Keep your dog’s immune system healthy, as this condition can reappear even after treatment.

  4. Arthritis: –applies to joint pains in your aged dog, especially large breeds. Cartilage, acts to cushion the bone and wears away, resulting in swollen painful joints. Obesity, stress/trauma from an old injury can all add to this condition.

    Symptoms: Limping, does not allow touching of the painful limb and yelps when has to use the paw.

    Prevention: Watch diet and weight, get a vets advice for treatment.

  5. Hemangiosarcoma: A form of cancer causing anemia, with a low platelet count and is a serious blood disorder which is often fatal. Treatment requires the full chemotherapy treatment, but this only prolongs life for weeks or months at most.

    Symptoms: Tumours on vital organs, loss of appetite, listlessness.

    Prevention: Have your dog diagnosed by your vet if you suspect this.

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