As a pet owner, it is important to familiarise yourself with some of the most common ailments that your pet can suffer from and know how it can be treated.
It can be a very distressing experience to see your dog suffer, but being armed with the right knowledge and recognising the signs and symptoms of illness can help to prevent it from growing worse.
In this guide, we take you through some of the typical diseases dogs can suffer from.
There are five main types of worms that can affect dogs. These are: whipworms, roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and heartworms.
Roundworms are often characterised with a swollen belly, weight loss, a dull coat and diarrhea. Vets will usually administer an oral medication.
They will usually be given something known as a 'dewormer', with regular check-ups and screening taking place after that.
Whipworms often cause anemia, weight loss, diarrhea, flatulence, and a general malaise and lack of energy.
Again - these can be treated with medication - most notably - fenbendazole or febantel. These treatments will usually need to be repeated and your vet can advise you of this.
Hookworms - The symptoms of this are very similar to that of whipworms. However, they can also be characterised by pale gums, and irritation. These can potentially kill a dog, so it is best to take action as soon as possible. These will often be treated with a dewormer - in much the same way as roundworms.
Tapeworms - This usually causes stomach pain in dogs, agitation, itching around the anus and vomiting.
Fleas are another common problem in dogs. They can cause severe discomfort and can be present even in the tidiest home.
Symptoms can include scratching and you may also see tiny dark specks in its fur, or small browny-black insects on its coat.
Pet owners may also notice unexplained bite marks on their own skin, which could be another indication of fleas on your dog.
Fleas can be prevented by checking your dog on a regular basis and using a flea collar to ward them off. You can also a comb soaked in water and freshly lemon, which will also deter if used regularly.
If your dog already has fleas, then there are a variety of ways in which you can treat them.
If left untreated, they can cause an allergic reaction in some pets, which may also be fatal.
Fleas also have the potential to make animals weak and anemic as they feed on blood. In addition, they can also lead to other problems and complications, because their larvae can become infected with tapeworm eggs.
If your pet subsequently consumes or ingests the flea in any way - they can then end up with tapeworms.
In addition, it is also possible for dogs to get other diseases from infected fleas. If you want the best advice on how to eradicate them, then it is advisable to consult a vet who can administer treatment.
To prevent re-infection, bedding, furniture, floors and skirting boards will need to be cleaned on a regular basis.
Allergies are another common problem in dogs. These can be caused by a range of different factors, including flea bites, reactions to food, and environmental factors.
A number of different foods can cause reactions in a dog, and these vary depending on the type that you have.
Food allergies show in a variety of ways and may include symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, discomfort, inflamed ears and irritated eyes, among others.
Pet owners should therefore familiarise themselves with the types of foods that can cause harm in a dog and avoid those. For example, grapes, chocolates and foods with caffeine in them are known to be highly toxic to dogs.
It is also important to be observant over any negative reactions your dog may have.
Environmental allergies could be caused by anything from seasonal changes smoking, chemicals in the home and other irritants.
Once the source of your dog's allergies are identified, you should then take steps to remove them from the home.
Furthermore, you should never be tempted to over vaccinate or medicate your dog as this can also weaken its immune system, and be the source of future allergies.
Written by: Declan Weed