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10 Common Dog Health Problems

There are a number of reasons for dogs to become sick. Even though taking really good care of your dog can lower the risks of health problems, they can still occur. Regular vet visits can help catch any issues or problems before they get out of control. Know your dog and keep an eye out for any signs of illness. Just like humans, there are many health issues that can affect dogs. Here are the 10 most common health problems:


Skin Problems

There are a variety of skin issues a dog can experience. Itching and scratching are obvious signs of a sking problem. You may also see rashes, redness, dry skin, inflammation, lumps, bumps, skin sores, dandruff, flaky or scaly skin, and hair loss.

There are several reasons a dog may develop skin problems, including allergies, parasites, skin infections, and more. If your dog is constantly scratching or chewing, or if its skin appears abnormal, see your vet before your dog becomes downright miserable.

Ear Diseases

Ear infections often cause dogs to shake their heads and scratch their ears. Approximately 20 percent of dogs suffer from ear infections. It’s particularly common in breeds with floppy ears like cocker spaniels and basset hounds. It’s common to see wax buildup or debris in their ear canal and there can be a bad odor. Others may experience pain, itchiness, redness, swelling, and crusting in the ears. If left untreated, it can cause serious damage. If your dog is exhibiting signs of an ear infection for more than a day or two, go to your vet. Ear infections sometimes accompany skin issues. In addition, they may be related to allergies.

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary issues are common in dogs. Simply known as UTI, this condition can make it uncomfortable for your beloved companion to pass urine. Signs of UTI include inappropriate urination, frequent urination, increased thirst, bloody urine, and lethargy.

It's frustrating to deal with a dog who is peeing in the house. Many owners chalk it up to behavioral issues or lack of training. However, your dog may have a urinary tract infection, especially if it is a puppy or has other underlying medical conditions. These symptoms can also be associated with other medical conditions, such as kidney disease and diabetes, so if this sounds familiar, bring your dog to the vet so the urine can be checked.


There are many reasons for a dog to throw up. It is not necessary to rush your dog to the vet each time, but at the same time, it is not something you should ignore. If your pup keeps vomiting or if there are other symptoms such as diarrhea, lack of appetite, or lethargy you should see the vet right away. It could be a sign of toxicity, gastrointestinal blockage, or other serious diseases.


The potential causes of diarrhea are similar to those of vomiting. Diarrhea may occur on its own or be accompanied by vomiting. One or two episodes of diarrhea may not be a pet emergency, however, recurring diarrhea can lead to dehydration. See your vet if diarrhea persists, appears black or bloody, or if it accompanies vomiting and/or lethargy.



It is inevitable that your dog will have to deal with some sort of parasite. They may be external parasites, like fleas and ticks, or internal parasites like heartworms and intestinal worms. Symptoms of parasites generally vary, depending on a few factors. These include the kind of parasite that has plagued your pet, where it lives, and how severe its infestation is. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent parasites from attacking your dog, usually with monthly preventive treatments. Educate yourself about canine parasites so you can protect your dog.

Dental Issues


Similar to humans, dogs can develop canine dental disease due to high levels of plaque buildup. This is a serious and often overlooked health concern for dogs.

Several signs indicate that your pet may have dental disease. These include difficulty eating, bleeding of the gums or teeth, loose teeth, and bad breath. Plaque and tartar in your dog's mouth harbor dangerous bacteria, causing damage to the teeth and gums.


Even worse, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream, potentially leading to damage to the heart and kidneys.6 The key to protecting your dog is prevention.


Obesity is a common health problem seen in dogs. It's also one of the most preventable.

There are several contributing factors: age, genetic predisposition, lack of exercise, and overfeeding.

Obesity can lead to serious health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and orthopedic problems. Again, obesity can be prevented (and can usually be reversed) through proper diet and exercise.


Arthritis is defined as inflammation of a joint or multiple joints in the body. This joint problem can restrict your dog’s mobility. In dogs, the most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, also called Degenerative Joint Disease.  Osteoarthritis most often occurs in seniors, though it may also be an effect of old injuries or congenital disorders like hip dysplasia. The good news is that it can typically be managed. If you see your dog slow down or limp before and after walks bring them to the vet to get checked out. Other signs include licking or chewing on tender areas and behavioral changes.


Dogs are curious and food-driven. They tend to get into a lot of things that they shouldn't! Toxins come in many different forms and are often (but not always) ingested. Plants, medications, household items, cleaning products, and even some foods can poison your dog.  Some of the most common poisonous human foods are chocolates, grapes, raisins, onions, and caffeine. Signs of poisoning vary widely and depend on the type of toxin your pet was exposed to.

The signs can range from vomiting to drooling, breathing difficulties, seizures, or worse, coma.  


Find out what dangers may exist in your dog's environment.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately!

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