What Are the 6 Most Common Illnesses in Dogs?

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
fast facts

At any age, dogs can suffer from canine ailments. Here are the six most common illnesses in dogs and the symptoms to look out for.

Dogs get sick just like humans, though they are affected by an entirely different group of diseases. While each breed has its own list of potential health problems, there are certain illnesses that are more common in others. Learning about the six most common health problems in dogs will help you to identify the symptoms so you can seek treatment right away, increasing your dog’s chances for making a full recovery. Here is an overview of the six most common illnesses in dogs:

  1. Arthritis

As many as 1 in 5 dogs suffer from arthritis as they get older, though large-breed dogs seem to have a higher risk for musculoskeletal issues like arthritis. There are different forms of arthritis but osteoarthritis is the most common in dogs. Unfortunately, many dogs hide their pain so you may not know your dog has this condition until it becomes fairly advanced.

Related: What Supplements Help Relieve Arthritis In Dogs?

  1. Cataracts

There are many eye problems which are known to affect dogs but cataracts are one of the most common, especially in older dogs. A cataract is simply an opacity that forms in the lens of the dog’s eye, causing blurry vision. Cataracts are not painful but they can impact his vision and, left untreated, can contribute to another eye problem called glaucoma.

  1. Ear Infections

Any dog can develop an ear infection under the right conditions but dogs with long, floppy ears have a higher risk. When a dog’s ear gets wet, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria that can lead to infection. This is why it is important to keep your dog’s ears clean and dry – you should also check them at least once a week for signs of infection.

Related: 6 Ways To Properly Clean Dog Ears

  1. Parasites

Dogs are affected by many different parasites including fleas, ticks, and worms. In addition to the risk for anemia due to blood loss, flea and tick infestations can also lead to the transmission of dangerous diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Heartworm is another very dangerous parasite infection common in dogs. Fortunately, all of these parasite infections can be prevented with a monthly pill or topical treatment.

  1. Obesity

Though you may not think of obesity as an illness, it is definitely a health problem that can become very serious. For many dogs, a gain of just a few pounds can be significant and it could put your dog at risk for other serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. It is important to feed your dog a high-quality diet that is rich in protein, moderate in fat, and limited in carbohydrates with all of the vitamins and minerals he needs for balanced nutrition.

  1. Cancer

Many dogs develop cancer as they get older and there are many different types. Some of the most common cancers known to affect dogs include melanoma, lymphoma, and breast cancer. There are many treatment options for cancer including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery but they can be very harsh and may not actually add much time to the dog’s life. Early detection and treatment is key.

If you notice your dog developing any of the symptoms discussed above, your first move should be to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Make note of all of your dog’s symptoms, including the onset and severity, so your vet has the information he needs to make an accurate diagnosis and to recommend a course of treatment.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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