10 Common Dog Health Problems

There are a number of reasons your dog can become sick. While the average, well-cared-for dog doesn't tend to get sick very often, there are still some health issues that can occur. Taking steps to keep your dog healthy can minimize the incidence of issues like these. In addition, seeing your vet for routine wellness exams can help you discover health problems before they get out of control. Always watch your dog for any signs of illness. There are many health issues that can affect dogs....MORE The following are among the most common.

  • 01 of 10
    puppy scratching behind his ear
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    Many dogs experience a variety of skin issues. Itching and scratching are typical signs of skin issues in dogs. The skin may also appear red, inflamed, flaky, scaly or otherwise abnormal. There are several reasons a dog may develop skin problems, including allergies, parasites and more. If your dog is constantly scratching or chewing, or if the skin appears abnormal, see your vet before your dog becomes downright miserable. There are ways you can help your dog.

  • 02 of 10
    dog ear
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    Ear infections often cause dogs to shake their heads and scratch their ears. Often, there is ear discharge or debris. Ear infections may be itchy or even painful. When left untreated, they can cause serious damage. If your dog is exhibiting signs of an ear infection for more than a day or two, go to your vet. Ear infections sometimes accompany skin issues. In addition, they may be related to allergies. At home, you can prevent ear infections by routinely cleaning your dog's ears.

  • 03 of 10
    dog pee accident
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    Urinary issues are common in dogs. It's so frustrating to deal with a dog who is peeing in the house. Many owners chalk it up to behavioral issues or lack of training. However, your dog may actually have a urinary tract infection. Signs of UTI include inappropriate urination, excessive urination, increased thirst and lethargy. If this sounds familiar, bring your dog to the vet so the urine can be checked for infection.

  • 04 of 10
    sad-dog-MartinRogers-getty.jpg
    Photo: Martin Rogers/Getty Images

    There are so many reasons a dog can develop vomiting. While you don't need to rush to the vet every time your dog throws up, it's also not something to ignore. Vomiting can be a sign of toxicity, gastrointestinal blockage or other serious diseases. However, the cause can also be as simple as dietary indiscretion. Don't try to guess. If your dog keeps vomiting, you should get your vet involved.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    dog-pooping-AnnCutting-getty.jpg
    Photo: Ann Cutting/Getty Images

    Diarrhea may accompany vomiting or simply occur on its own. The potential causes of diarrhea are similar to those of vomiting. While one or two episodes of diarrhea is no emergency, ongoing diarrhea can lead to dehydration. See your vet if diarrhea persists, or if it accompanies vomiting and/or lethargy.

  • 06 of 10
    Canine Hookworms - Ancylostoma caninum
    Adult hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum) attached to intestinal mucosa. Photo: Joel Mills/CDC/Wikimedia Commons

    Parasites are everywhere in your dog's world. They may be external parasites, like fleas and ticks, or internal parasites like heartworms and intestinal worms. Fortunately, there ways to prevent parasites from attacking your dog, usually with monthly preventive treatments. Educate yourself about canine parasites so you can protect your dog.

  • 07 of 10
    Photo © José Carlos Cortizo Pérez on flickr

    Dental disease, more accurately known as periodontal disease, is a serious and often overlooked health concern for dogs. Bad breath is not normal in dogs but is a sign of dental disease. Plaque and tartar in your dog's mouth harbor dangerous bacteria, causing damage to the teeth and gums. Even worse, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream, leading to other serious issues in the body, such as heart disease and kidney failure. The key to protecting your dog is prevention.

  • 08 of 10
    Pug Dog on Scale
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    Obesity is one of the fastest growing heath problems seen in dogs. It's also one of the most preventable. Obesity can lead to serious health issues like diabetes, heart disease and orthopedic problems. Fortunately, obesity can be prevented (and can usually be reversed) through proper diet and exercise.

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  • 09 of 10
    Canine Rehabilitation Physical Therapy Dog
    Canine rehabilitation/physical therapy. Photo © Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

    Arthritis is defined as inflammation of a joint or multiple joints in the body. In dogs, the most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, also called Degenerative Joint Disease. Osteoarthritis most often occurs in seniors, though it may also be an effect of old injuries. The good news is that it can typically be managed. If you suspect your dog has osteoarthritis, talk to your vet about the options.

  • 10 of 10
    Dog Toxins and Poisons - Photo of Chocolate Toxic to Dogs
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    Dogs are curious and often food-driven. So, it comes as no surprise that they are susceptible to poisoning or toxicity. Toxins come in many forms and are often (but not always) ingested. Plants, medications, household items and even some foods can poison your dog. Find out what dangers may exist in your dog's environment. Learn what to do if your dog does become poisoned.

Remember that these are not the only health problems that can affect your dog, just some of the more common ones. Don't ignore the signs if something seems "off" with your dog. When in doubt, call your veterinarian.