Dogs are susceptible to diseases and illnesses just as we are especially this time of year due to the fact that they spend so much time out of doors. This makes it easy for them to fall pray to ticks, worms and other nasties. Of course, there are other diseases that can affect a dog – whether it’s that any time outdoors. Here are dog health tips regardin four of the most common things that can affect your dog …
It’s fairly easy for worms to affect your dog and it’s important to know the different types so that if your dog does develop worms, you’ll know how to treat them. For example, roundworms are usually spaghetti-shaped, 2 to 4 inches long and have tapered ends. They can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and an all-around unhealthy appearance. Dogs with roundworms may vomit or pass an entire worm in its stool.
A second type of worm that can infect a dog is hookworm. They are blood sucking intestinal parasites that can cause your dog to suffer anemia or even death. Unfortunately, about the only way that these worms can be diagnosed is by a veterinarian.
A third type of intestinal parasite is a tapeworm. Tapeworm segments are ¼ – ½ inches long, white, and can usually be seen moving in the dog’s fur or stool. Finally, there are whipworms. Like hookworms, a whipworm will bury its head into your dog’s intestines and suck its blood. Whipworms can cause severe infections that lead to diarrhea, weight loss, and blood loss.
Your dog’s eyes and ears
If your dog shows excessive discharge from the eye(s), whether clear or yellowish in color, you need to get it to a vet. The most common causes for “runny eyes” are infection (viral or bacterial), allergies and trauma.
Your dog’s eyes may develop a sort of “cloudy” appearance as it ages. Don’t be alarmed. This is a natural part of the dog’s aging process. However, if it’s eyes develop white spots, if they seem to bulge out or if its cornea appears “pitted,” you should have a vet examine the dog as quickly as possible.
If you have a cocker spaniel or some other type of dog with big, floppy ears, it can be prone to ear problems. The symptoms of an ear problem include redness or discharge of any type and black, dry matter. While dogs naturally have brown “ear wax”, this should never be copious or smell bad. And a yellow. pus-like discharge is just about a sure sign of infection.
Fleas or ticks
Whenever you take your dog for a walk, a romp in the backyard or a trip to the dog park, you’re putting it at risk as a walking target for ticks, fleas and mosquitoes. This means you should have a complete pest management system. Most vets recommend a heartworm preventative such as Hartz® UltraGuard Pro® once a month, topical drop treatments or flea and tick collars because these products contain active ingredients that focus on breaking the life stages of fleas and ticks. Plus, topical drops kill mosquitoes. You might also shampoo the dog and use a spray or powder if it seems to need immediate relief.
Just as with humans, there is a strong link between a dog’s periodontal condition and its overall health. What causes a dog to develop periodontal disease is about the same as it is in us humans. It begins with bacteria on the surface of the dog’ teeth and surrounding tissues. This will eventually build up and be mineralized into tartar.
Dog periodontal disease does not develop overnight. It happens very gradually so we tend to become accustomed to its symptoms. These include bleeding gums, bad breath, loss of appetite, dropping of food while eating and even loose teeth.
Daily chewing can help in maintaining a dog’s oral health. You might also give it a rawhide or other dental chews or special biscuits or dental treats. These can help reduce plaque and tartar between the dental cleanings you should have your vet do periodically.