Common Canine Health Problems
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Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.”– Orhan Pamuk
Although dogs are generally healthy, they still suffer from a number of predictable diseases and ailments.
The most common canine health problems, as well as their prevention are discussed here.
Even though Princess is staring at you with those big, adorable eyes and pudgy belly while you eat your dinner, avoid the temptation of providing your dog with extra large portion sizes, additional treats, or tastes of your meals.
Obesity is one of the leading health problems among dogs, and has been scientifically shown to reduce the lifespan in pets.
Many owners worry that their dogs will become angry or feel hurt and depressed if they do not receive extra food and treats, but in reality your pet’s health is far more important.
Please control your dog’s weight with proper portion sizes and regular exercise.
The incidence of diabetes has risen in dogs thanks to the obesity epidemic.
While it is unlikely that a dog will develop diabetes as a puppy, lifelong prevention is crucial by preventing obesity.
Breeds that are especially prone to this disorder include Australian terriers, Poodles, Keehonds, Dachshunds, and Samoyeds.
Juvenile diabetes can occur as well, and this genetic disease primarily targets Golden Retrievers and Keeshonds.
Another canine affliction that has occurred more frequently in recent years is allergies.
Dogs experience allergy symptoms differently than humans.
Whereas a human might have a localized reaction, such as a rash or watery eyes, dogs develop a more generalized reaction causing their entire body to itch.
Common allergens include food (particularly gluten, corn, and soy) and environmental triggers, such as grass and pollen.
Puppies may be especially sensitive, so purchasing a high quality, grain-free food may be necessary.
If your dog develops seasonal allergies, measures such as washing your pup’s paws every time she comes inside, frequent baths (we know of a good shampoo & conditioner…), and allergy medicines can help as well.
The leading cause of death in dogs is cancer, particularly among certain purebred breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Boxers, and Great Danes.
As I sit here now, I watch over my beautiful Ralph; a 16yr old Cocker Spaniel, CEO of UWDOGS and beloved family member. He is dying.
Ralph was diagnosed with Cancer (Lymphoma) some six weeks ago and my heart breaks, a little more each day, in many different ways as I watch this disease take him – slowly.
While the exact cause of cancer is unknown, the incidence of cancer among purebred dogs is higher than among mixed breeds, which suggests that genetics are largely to blame.
Our family Vet (who knows Ralph very well) says, ‘he doesn’t know he is sick.’
Too old for treatment, I am left to watch for signs of deterioration, and to be brave enough to make the call… when the time comes.
I am certain he will let me know.
If you have a purebred dog, inquire with your veterinarian about certain genetic testing that can be performed, and be sure to have routine exams, including blood work, in order to catch disease as early as possible.
Arthritis/ Hip Dysplasia
Another common issue, particularly among larger purebred dogs, is joint ailments.
Arthritis, hip/elbow dysplasia, and luxating patella all affect dogs to varying degrees.
Although the effects are not often experienced until later in life, in extreme cases adolescent animals may show symptoms of discomfort and limited mobility.
When purchasing a purebred puppy, ask to see the joint health certifications of the parent dogs, and do not purchase unless these can be produced.
To minimize the severity of joint issues, keep your dog at a healthy weight throughout its entire life and we suggest you look into collagen-supportive supplements if your pet is a breed prone to these problems.
Gastric dilation and volvulus torsion (aka bloat) is a disorder that can affect any breed of dog, primarily Great Danes, German Shepherds, German Shorthaired Pointers, Irish Wolfhounds, and any other breed that has a barrel chest and small waist.
Bloat occurs when the dog’s stomach fills with air, liquid, or food and then flips on its horizontal access, blocking blood supply to the stomach.
If not caught in time, bloat is fatal.
The symptoms of bloat are obvious pain and swelling of the stomach, vomiting attempts that produce nothing, restlessness, excessive drooling, and pale mucous membranes.
If you suspect your dog may have bloat, they need to be taken to the veterinarian immediately.
Preventative measures for this disorder include not feeding your pet within an hour of exercise, feeding numerous small meals per day instead of a single large one, and using a food bowl designed to slow down your pet during meal times.
Dogs are curious animals, and are known for eating items they shouldn’t.
In most cases, their strong digestive systems are able to pass the item or initiate vomiting (not so nice but effective).
However, occasionally an item will cause a problem, particularly if it is large or sharp.
Signs that your dog has eaten something she shouldn’t include refusal to eat, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and pain.
If your dog has ingested something toxic (i.e. raisins, grapes, onion, garlic, xylitol, etc.), symptoms often include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, rapid heart rate, excessive drooling, and seizures.
Try to understand better which foods your dog cannot consume, and keep other items, such as your socks, out of reach.
Although the likelihood of your dog developing a serious illness is rare, it is important to know the signs, symptoms, and preventative measures you can take to avoid your dog having a devastating issue later in life.
Pup Update – 2 Years Old!
Jerry is now Two, and I am just loving this journal process! Here we take a little look back to remind ourselves of the growing and maturing process. The little 8 week old puppy we bought home from Royoni Cocker Spaniel Kennels was the most darling wee fluff ball, so so soft and boy did he smell good. Like a new born baby, puppies have that very new, fresh and ‘fall in love with me’ aroma. You cannot but help bury your face in their fur, snuggle, never really wanting to let go. As Jerry grew from puppy to young male, his colouring deepened, nose grew, and the little freckles became so much more pronounced…as did his personality. There were definitely moments of having to remind Jerry who was in charge, training and re-training as he stretched the boundaries and worked out his place within our family. Jerry the two year old is truly ‘my man.’ He spends his time following me around, sitting within ‘protect’ distance at all times and loves to get out and about with me, adventurous and full of mischief (if he catches my off-guard). I wonder what the next few years will bring… but right now, I’d like to bottle my two year old Jerry. Perfection!
Ash Sukhwani a.k.a. Mother of Jerry
Jerry – Born ‘Royoni Naughty-on-Arrival’ June 17, 2017
Follow Jerry’s adventures on Instagram @jerrythecockerspan
Next we’ll be discussing some of the more common behavioural problems you might be dealing with. For with all dogs and puppies, there can be some pretty tricky moments to manoeuvre.
Watch this space – Chapter Twenty-Nine – Coming Soon
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Photo Credits: Bronte @bronte_the_rescue_pup, Kobe, Mimi, Rascals @my_3_poodle_rascals, Ollie & Sandy, Frank @paddington_frank, Coco @coco_the_companion, Mimi, Jerry @jerrythecockerspan, Otis C/- Jade Fitzgerald