The Most Common Health Problems in Dogs

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Last Updated on October 29, 2020 by Aimee

Most Common Health Problems in Dogs: When you notice your dog is sick, the first thing you want to do is figure out how to get them better and quick.  Nobody likes to see their dog ill and in pain.  While sometimes you may be able to monitor your dog for a day to see if they get better, many times you will need to make a trip to the veterinarian’s office.  These are some of the most common health problems in dogs and what you can do to help them get better.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Diarrhea and vomiting are some of the main problems seen in dogs.  Many veterinarians treat dogs for digestive issues daily.  If your dog is vomiting or having diarrhea, sometimes a day without food will allow their GI system to reset.  If your dog continues to vomit or have diarrhea or gets worse, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Some of the common symptoms seen in dogs experiencing gastrointestinal disease are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Not eating
  • Bloody or mucus in their stool

If your dog has these signs, it does not mean that your dog has gastrointestinal issues.  These symptoms could mean that your dog has a different disease, not relating to the GI tract.  Some of the most common condition seen in dogs with gastrointestinal issues are:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Obstruction
  • Parasites
  • Dietary indiscretion
  • Organ failure

By seeing your veterinarian, they can make an accurate diagnosis of your dog’s problem and get the medication to help them return to normal.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is commonly seen in older dogs.  As your dog gets older, their hearts do not beat as they should.  This can lead to many different signs.  These signs will be different depending on what in the heart is not working.  Common symptoms associated with heart disease are:

  • Coughing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Collapsing episodes
  • Fluid in chest or abdomen

If you notice any of these signs in your dog, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. They can listen to your dog’s heart and lungs and help determine what is causing your dog’s problem. Your veterinarian may hear a murmur when they listen to the heart with their stethoscope.  This would indicate that there is a problem with your dog’s heart. There are other diagnostic tests that your veterinarian may want to run on your dog to help figure out what is wrong.  Common tests ran on your dog’s heart are:

  • Chest x rays,
  • Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart)

Your veterinarian will use these tests to see how progressed your dog’s heart disease is and get your dog started on medication.

Joint Problems

Dogs will commonly have problems getting up, limping, or not walking on one leg.  There are many reasons that your dog could be having trouble walking. Joint issues are commonly seen in older dogs or dogs that are overweight.  By keeping your dog at reasonable body weight, you can help reduce the amount of pain they have from joint problems.

If your pet limps around for more than a day, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to help figure out the cause of your dog’s signs.

Typical signs associated with arthritis and joint pain in dogs are:

  • Limping
  • Trouble walking
  • Difficulty standing, especially after laying down for a long time

Your veterinarian can prescribe your dog many different medications and supplements to decrease their pain and inflammation. Depending on what is causing the problem, there are surgical procedures to fix the problem.  By scheduling an appointment with your veterinarian, they can help determine the cause of your dog’s problem and prescribe your dog medication to help with the problem.

Dental disease

Sometime when you are snuggling with your dog, you will notice a horrible smell coming from their mouth.  When you look in their mouth, you may see terrible tartar build-up on their teeth. This is commonly seen in dogs with dental disease.  These are some other common signs that your dog has dental problems:

  • Bad smelling breath
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty eating
  • Swollen face right under the eye

If you look in your dog’s mouth and notice that there is excessive tartar build-up, mass, or other abnormality, make an appointment with your veterinarian.  They can examine your dog’s mouth and help you determine what is wrong.  Sometimes your dog may need to be sedated for a full dental exam.

How to Prevention dental disease

Most of the time, your dog will need a dental cleaning or need a mass removed from their mouth at the veterinarian office.  After this has been done, there are many things that you can do to help prevent dental disease.  These are:

  • Dental chews
  • Additives for their water
  • Brushing their teeth daily


Obesity is commonly seen in dogs.  As dog ages, their metabolism slows down.  When their metabolism slows down, most people do not decrease the amount of food that they are eating, and they become overweight.  Most dogs also do not have the sense to stop eating when they become full.  By putting on a few extra pounds, there are many other health problems that this can cause, such as:

  • Joint pain and arthritis
  • Heart issues
  • Liver and kidney issues
  • Difficulty breathing

Overweight pug dog sitting on a scale

There are many things that you can do to help your dog lose weight, such as increasing their exercise. You can throw a ball for them or take them on a walk every day and if you will decrease their food by about 1/4th, you will help them shed a few pounds.

How To Prevent The Most Common Health Problems in Dogs

By monitoring your dog, you can figure out when something is wrong before they start showing a lot of signs.  If your dog does not quickly improve, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to have them help you figure out what is going on with your dog.  The earlier you treat a problem, the quicker your dog will return to their healthy and happy self.

Edited by Aimee Stock.

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