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  • 5 Common Dog Health Problems And What to Do

    by David Comiskey

    People love their pets. All pet owners will agree that our-legged pooches are part of the family. It’s understandable therefore that when our pet hurts, we hurt too. Seeing our dog or any dog sick or in pain can be very difficult and fills us with a lot of worries. It’s therefore important to be aware of some of the most common dog health problems.

    A husky puppy. It's important to be aware of common dog health problems before you first get your puppy.

    It’s hard enough to see our pets suffer but it’s even harder when those costly vet bills stack up. Being aware of common canine-related health issues can help keep these medical costs down and keep us and our dogs happy and worry-free. 

    While there are potential risks of certain illnesses in dogs, a lot of these health risks are preventable or at least manageable if they do show up. Here are the five most common dog problems and what you can do to help manage or prevent them. 

    Intestinal Worms

    Intestinal worms are a common nuisance to both dogs and cats. Dogs are prone to different types of worms including tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms. Your dog may have been born with these worms, picked them up from their environment (for example, heartworms can be spread by mosquitoes) or ingested via fleas. 

    It’s vital that you maintain regular worming, as infections such as heartworm disease can be life-threatening. Many people make the mistake of neglecting heartworm treatment. But not only can heartworm be fatal, but it is also very expensiveto treat once contracted. Treatment averages around $1,00-$1,500, whereas monthly worming prevention costs around $35-$250 per year. 

    Ear Infections

    Ear infections are among the most common dog health problems. Most dogs encounter ear infections in their lifetime. The unique structure of a dog’s ear makes it easy for water and debris to become trapped in the ear canal and can cause infections.

    There are three main types of ear infection in dogs; ear mites, bacterial infection, and yeast infection. According to Totally Goldens, the best way to prevent ear infections in dogs is to dry your dog’s ear thoroughly with a towel or cotton balls after swimming and be careful when trimming your long-haired canine’s ears. 

    Paw Injuries

    Paw problems in dogs range from inflammation caused by allergies, bacterial and fungal infections, toenail injuries and injuries caused by heat or snow. 

    A puppy with a tennis ball on the beach.

    Since dogs’ paws aren’t completely protected by hair, they become vulnerable to injury. If your dog has one of these common paw injuries, they will often show signs by either chewing, licking or gnawing at the affected area. You may even see physical signs of bleeding, welting, blisters or bruising. 

    Prevent paw injuries by avoiding walks on hot or freezing sidewalks, (there’s some great parks we recommend here), and by inspecting your pet’s paw after playtime for any lodged-in dirt, grass seeds, or stones. 


    Obesity is a serious health problem for dogs. While many owners overfeed their dogs out of love, doing so can predispose them to a range of diseases and problems. 

    Obesity in dogs can lead to heart disease, liver, and urinary tract infection, arthritis, diabetes, and reduced lifespan & quality of life. When it comes to obese dogs, prevention is key. Just like humans, obese dogs need a weight management plan and a strict diet to get them back to a healthy weight range. 

    Skin Issues

    Dogs commonly experience skin issues that cause them pain, discomfort, and constant itchiness. Atopic dermatitis is a common disease in dogs and is often the leading cause of itchiness. Other common causes of skin issues in dogs include mites and fleas, allergies, and underlying illness.

    Prevent skin conditions by providing your dog with high-quality, balanced dog food and by treating them with flea and tick prevention. If your dog is prone to allergies, avoid walking them in long grass and visit your vet for allergy testing if you’re concerned. 

    In Summary

    While these are common dog health problems, without prevention or proper management your dog may become sick and require expensive treatment. The easiest way to keep your dog healthy and vet costs down is by taking good care of them. This includes providing them with a balanced and healthy diet, regularly washing them, inspecting their paws and skin for any signs of inflammation, and keeping on top of regular worming and tick & flea prevention medication. If you would like to broaden your knowledge so that you can take better care of your dog, click here for more health related information.

    A little know-how can help us prevent these common problems and keep our dogs happy and healthy. Be sure to become aware of the signs and spot them quickly to avoid these issues becoming something more serious. 

    Do you love dogs? Would you like to become a Barkly Pets Dog Walker? Simply enter your zip code hereto learn about Barkly’s dog walking jobs near you.

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