Watch out for these health issues that could affect your dog

Like humans, animals are susceptible to several ailments, and if you have a dog as a pet at home, their well-being is something of which you need to take utmost care.

A dog’s health can depend on several factors, be it the food they eat or the love, or lack of it, at their owner’s home. They can have health-related problems during their early years, senior years, or any age in-between. While most owners make sure their dogs are healthy and happy at all times, it is imperative to know the most common ailments that dogs are prone to so one can comprehend the symptoms and reach out for treatment on time.

According to Dr Dilip Sonune, Director, Veterinary Services, Wiggles.in, the most common health issues that dogs face are dental or those that affect their ears, skin or stomach.

Dental disease

Most gum/dental diseases in dogs are caused by bacteria accumulation, commonly known as plaque. It usually happens due to improper/lack of oral hygiene and halitosis (bad breath), which can be a sign of periodontal disease due to the build-up of plaque and tartar.

Ear infections

“When it comes to their ears, Otitis Externa is the most common problem. This disorder affects the ear canal in dogs. The common symptoms are vigorous and continuous head followed by scratching, foul odor, redness or swelling and scaly ear skin. factors that cause this ailment are parasites, allergies, foreign objects, and perpetuating bacterial and yeast infection,” Dr Sonune told DH.

Skin diseases

Skin infections usually start with hair loss and itching, and if not identified early, they can quickly turn into bacterial and fungal infections. In summers, the spread of diseases in dogs is usually due to allergies that arise due to itching and scratching.

Gastrointestinal issues

Last but not least, problems concerning their stomach, like diarrhoea, are pretty common. They are usually caused by a delay in deworming, wrong dosage of deworming, lack of probiotics in the diet or simply a sudden change in the diet. Apart from stress/anxiety, an upset stomach in dogs can also be due to bacteria, yeast proliferation in the food bowl (during summers) or keeping food out for too long.

Be alert for symptoms

So how do dog owners recognise the first symptoms of any ailments? “When it comes to ear and skin infections, the symptoms will start from itching or excessive itching followed and will be by hair loss depending on the condition. Redness and head shaking can be considered as the first signs of ear infections,” said Dr Sonune .

For dental problems, one may notice plaque development and a foul smell. An upset stomach can be indicated by a change in the stool’s color or consistency.

Dog ailments also change their behavior patterns towards humans, not just physical symptoms. They could get irritable, just like us humans when we are unwell. They could snap at you if you touch their ear during an ear infection or have pain in their gums; They may refuse to eat their food even though they are hungry. So as dog owners, one must be patient with them through it all.

Take them to a vet

Apart from showering them with love and care, it is always good to consult a vet for any symptoms. Sometimes, treating them at home with medication can worsen the condition.

“When it comes to medicines, a vet needs to consider a lot of factors like dosage of the medicine, the pet’s body weight and identification of a disease. It is not always necessary that when the symptoms look the same, the cause of the disease Mostly, with dogs, if a disease is not treated at the earliest, other factors come into play, and hence the previously used medicines will not work.”

For early treatment, over-the-counter medications, like hemp seed oil for minor skin issues, probiotics (natural and commercial) for a happy stomach, and antibacterial and antifungal ointment for their skin, can also be considered.

(Gurpreet Kaur is a journalist who writes on lifestyle, entertainment and culture)

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