Most diseases are characterised by less noticeable symptoms before fully developing. Among humans, we can express when our stomachs ache or our temperature is high. Dogs can’t, which often makes it difficult to tell early on when something is amiss.
But when it comes to health problems, prevention is better than cure – especially if a vet bill is involved. That’s why it pays to be aware of the common dog diseases and their risk factors. In doing so, you can eliminate the chances of your dog experiencing them altogether.
Remember that keeping your dog healthy isn’t all too different from maintaining your own health. A proper diet, sufficient exercise, and plenty of love and attention make the foundation for your pup’s overall wellbeing. Keep those factors in order and you’ll have far less to worry about from the get-go.
With that said, here are 5 common and preventable dog diseases.
Kidney Disease (Renal Failure)
Let’s start with acute kidney disease, which can be caused by anything from an infection to interactions with certain medicines. Symptoms are sudden and include irregular appetite, fever, and vomiting.
Acute kidney disease can be avoided by preventing your dog from being able to access the medicine cabinet. It’s also a good idea to stop them from getting hold of any antifreeze.
Chronic kidney disease is largely less avoidable as it develops over a dog’s lifetime. This is especially true for breeds that are genetically predisposed to it. Fortunately, one of the causes is preventable, which is dental disease – it contributes to kidney disease in its advanced stages.
That’s why it’s important to keep your pup’s teeth clean. This can be done by giving them chew toys that remove plaque, feeding them the right food and getting their teeth cleaned at the vet.
Gastric Torsion (Bloat)
If your pooch has a habit of wolfing down their meals as fast as possible, they may be at risk of gastric torsion, which is essentially an oversized stomach. Bloat makes it difficult for air and fluids to exit the digestive system, preventing the dog from being able to vomit.
Fortunately, the symptoms are more noticeable here. They include:
- Retching and belching
- Enlarged stomach
- Agitated and uneasy behaviour
- Increased salivation
Large-breed dogs such as German shepherds, bloodhounds, and Labradors are particularly susceptible to bloating, as are dogs with long chests like dachshunds. Helping your dog to eat slowly will reduce their risk of gastric torsion. This can be done by using a bowl with a timer or toy ball that needs to be knocked to release food.
Pancreatitis in dogs is an increasingly common problem that we have a relatively limited understanding of. As the name suggests, it occurs in the pancreas, a small organ containing enzymes that are essential to the digestive system. Pancreatitis is an inflammatory condition that can be acute or chronic. Symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Breathing difficulties
One of the main known causes of pancreatitis is processed foods, which dogs are not adapted to eat. The carb-heavy food puts stress on the pancreas that is only worsened by the rancid fats and grains that kibbles so often contain. One of the most effective ways to prevent pancreatitis is to avoid commercial food and feed your dog a raw diet.
This involves only natural foods that dogs have eaten throughout their evolution. You can read more on pancreatitis in dogs on Bella&Duke. There you can identify how to prevent this disease and check out the company’s raw dog food range at the same time.
The most common tick-related illness, Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that comes from ticks. It only occurs if the tick has been attached to the dog for 18 hours or more. The most noticeable symptom is slowness or stiffness in the limbs. Decreased appetite is another symptom.
The best you can do is to keep your dog away from areas where there are ticks. Checking their skin after heading out is also a good idea. Topical medicines, pills and tick-prevention collars can help.
Canine Parvovirus (Parvo)
Most puppies get a specialised vaccine to prevent parvo from being a problem. However, those raised in shelters and breeding facilities are still at risk as they can contract the disease from an infected dog’s waste. Canine parvovirus is characterised by the following symptoms:
- Sudden weight loss
The only way to prevent parvo is to ensure that your dog is vaccinated, although they can survive with swift medical treatment.
Each of these diseases can sound scary on their own, but they’re almost always preventable and treatable. Paying close attention to the behaviour of your dog will help you identify if something is wrong at an early stage. From there, it’s all about promptly taking the necessary measures.