4 Common Illnesses in Dogs and How to Treat Them

(Last Updated On: February 18, 2021)

Like humans, dogs are under the threat of bacteria, fungi, parasites, protozoa, and viruses every day, all of which can cause disease and infection. We are responsible for our pets’ happiness and health, so it is useful to know a bit about the medical conditions that can affect them and what warning signs to look out for. Here are four common illnesses in dogs and how to treat them.

4 Common Illnesses in Dogs:

Ear infections

Ear disease is common in dogs and can be very painful. Allergies trigger 70% of infections. The remaining percentage by foreign bodies such as sand, hair, soil, and grass seed lodging in the ear canal, parasites such as mites or lice, hormonal disease such as under-active thyroid, and diseases of the immune system.

You can tell if your dog has an ear infection because they will shake their head a lot, paw their ears and get agitated. Their ears may swell and become hot and red.

A vet will generally prescribe medicated ear drops or wipes to treat the problem, depending on what caused the ear infection. If your dog has had ear infections in the past, it could mean that the ear’s self-cleaning mechanism has been damaged and that you should clean your dog’s ear with appropriate wipes on a regular basis.

Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis in dogs is a condition that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines). It will often cause diarrhea either with or without vomiting. As dogs are known to pick up anything from the ground and eat it. Ingesting something harmful is usually the cause of this illness. However, some inflammatory illnesses in dogs cases are caused by parasites, ulcers, cancers, viruses, bacteria, liver, and kidney disease.

Gastroenteritis symptoms include vomiting of white foam or yellow liquid, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of appetite, gagging, and stomach pain.

The treatment will depend on the suspected or diagnosed underlying cause of the gastroenteritis. A bland diet will often be advised, such as boiled chicken and rice or dog food that is specifically developed to be gentle on the gastrointestinal tract. Veterinary medication may be prescribed, such as anti-sickness or anti-inflammatories.

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections or UTIs are common in dogs – around 14% of dogs will get one in their lifetime. Infection can be caused when bacteria such as Ecoli enter the urethra and adheres to the urinary tract walls.

You will know your dog has a urinary tract infection if they look like they are in pain during urination. They will also lick their genitals frequently, their urine is cloudy and strong-smelling, or they are lethargic and have excessive thirst. If your dog typically urinates outside, they may start to go to the toilet in random places inside the home.

UTI infections are usually treated with antibiotics. It is also beneficial to encourage your pet to drink plenty of fresh water. Also, you should ensure their food and water bowls are cleaned daily. You can encourage your dog to drink by giving him lots of energetic activities that will make him thirsty.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease whereby pain and stiffness develop due to wear and tear to the joints involved. Any joint can be affected by arthritis, but your dog’s hips, knees, and elbows are the most susceptible joints.

Any dog can get arthritis, and it can occur at any age. Although arthritis in young dogs is usually caused by injury or is inherited. If your dog looks like they are in pain or discomfort, limp, or find it difficult to move freely, they may have the condition.

You can help an arthritic dog by giving them a warm and comfortable bed. Also, you should keep their weight down to relieve the stress on their joints. You can provide them with a diet rich in raw vegetables and lean meat. Although exercise will be painful for your dog, they must move around to keep their joints mobile. If joints stiffen, the pain of arthritis will increase.

Swimming is beneficial to dogs. It provides an exercise activity that is non-weight bearing, therefore avoiding the impact, stress, and strain of normal exercise. You can strengthen the animal’s muscles without putting pressure on the injury. Older dogs can also get relief from stiff or arthritic joints by exercising in the warm, comfortable conditions that the hydrotherapy pool provides.

When your vet diagnoses your dog with arthritis, they will probably prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. It will help keep the dog comfortable by reducing joint inflammation and stiffness.