A Complete Guide to Puppy & Dog Health Problems...

Early diagnosis means early treatment

At dog health problems online we have provided a complete guide to pretty much every illness that is ever likely to affect your beloved pooch. We have also provided information on the causes of each condition and the possible symptoms that your best friend may exhibit with each individual health problem.

It is important to mention that the owners of dog health problems online are not trained vets so it is very important that if you have any concerns regarding your dog's health that you take him or her straight to the vets so you can get an accurate diagnosis. Anyway please take a browse of our site, tell your friends and soak up all the information!

It is important to mention that although we are not Vets, each condition throughout this site has been researched thoroughly and in-depth to make sure that a full and deep understanding of each illness is portrayed on each page of our site. To get some insight into the need for owners to have just a basic understanding of puppy and dog health problems (even just a rudimentary understanding) we need to know how many dogs are owned throughout the World.

It is currently estimated by the Humane Society (2011) that over 78 million families in the United States own dogs with at least 60% of families owning one dog and 28% owning two dogs. However, on a wider scale it is currently estimated by the WSPA that there are currently over 500 million dogs in the World (of course not all of these animals have loving owners to take care of them and have them treated if they become unwell) and a large proportion (estimated at 75%) are strays.

A picture of a vet examining a Beagle

In an ideal World all dogs (and all pets) would be born healthy with no predisposition to a particular illness or disease. Unfortunately this is just not the case and although most puppies are nice and healthy when they first rear their head it is more than likely that at some point they are going to experience some kind of health problem. Of course most dogs lead a relatively healthy life with the odd minor illness or accident occurring.Unfortunately, many dogs are not so lucky and may be the victim of a life threatening illness or health condition that needs emergency and possibly long-term treatment.

New treatments developed in the last twenty years have given newborn puppies a better chance of avoiding serious health problems such as Rabies, Hepatitis or Distemper.

However, with the introduction of effective vaccines a young puppy now has a far greater chance of not only getting older but having a prolonged and healthy life. Of course it would be great if these vaccines could protect against the ravishes of old age but unfortunately this is just not possible (I mean if we could keep dogs healthy into old age we would be able to do the same for humans too)!

Older dogs are more prone to developing Arthritis

So as your beloved pooch gets older it leaves him or her more prone to developing age related health problems such as arthritis, hearing problems, kidney, heart and liver disease and although these problems can often be effectively managed they are unlikely to be either prevented or completely cured.

The reason for this increased likelihood for older dogs to more inclined to developing health problems is due to their immune system being less effective, which then leaves the organs unable to work as efficiently as they once did. Of course if the health problems become so serious and your dog's life is no longer enjoyable then sometimes having your pet put to sleep is the kindest option. This is often a heart wrenching decision that is not reached over a couple of days but through numerous discussions with the vet. We are often asked when the right time is for your best friend to go to the big kennel in the sky and it is impossible to give a definitive answer.

We have owned many dogs (in fact we currently have four including Gertie, Tinker and Molly) and in the past when we have had to make the decision to have our pooch put to sleep we just knew and had the gut instinct that it was the kindest thing to do for our best friend. If after you have explored all options through your vet and your pooch is either in constant pain or his life is no longer an enjoyable experience due to the chronic health problem euthanasia may be the kindest option.

Of course although most puppy and dog health problems can be treated at home with the odd intermittent visit to the vets, some health issues should be treated as a medical emergency. The list below is only a guide but it should give you some idea as to what should be considered a medical emergency...

Early diagnosis is very important...

Medical emergencies...

Bleeding or hemorrhaging...If your dog is bleeding from any part of the body and the bleeding is fairly profuse in nature then you should take your pooch straight to the vet. If your dog is bleeding from the outside then he may also be bleeding internally (common with car accidents).

Any bleeding from the nasal area is a serious condition and can be life threatening. Try and stem the bleeding as best as you can and get your dog to the vet as soon as possible. If there is any sign of blood in the urine, vomit or feces then this should be treated as a medical emergency.

Burns...If your dog has been burned whether it is through boiling water or by fire you should take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

Cardiovascular arrhythmia...This condition occurs when the heart starts to beat on an irregular basis, it can increase in speed (tachycardia) or it can slow down (bradycardia). Due to the affected dog's heart not pumping blood properly the mucous membranes may be white in color and the dog's mouth may also appear pale. This is a serious condition and may leave your pooch weak and close to collapse. Get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

Congestive heart failure...This is one of those health problems that tends to affect older dogs. The symptoms may have started with a cough before the affected dog's health rapidly deteriorates. Other symptoms of this condition can include deep, rapid breathing where the dog looks as though he or she is really struggling to get enough oxygen into the body (due to the lungs filling with water). If your dog experiences this condition you should keep him stress free (any extra stress could trigger a cardiac arrest) and get him to the vet immediately. Another sign of this condition is Cyanosis (this is when the mucous membranes appear various shades of blue and purple due a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream).

Drug ingestion... If your dog has ingested (swallowed) any type of medication, poison, medication or drug (including recreational drugs) this is a medical emergency and you should take your pooch to the vet as soon as possible.

Fractures... This is one of those puppy and dog health problems that can occur at anytime. The obvious sign of bone fractures is extreme pain and discomfort.

Bloat... This condition which is also known as Gastric dilatation is a very serious condition and normally affects larger breeds. Common symptoms of this condition will include repeated attempts to throw up and nausea. Due to gas building up in the stomach it starts to swell which puts pressure on other internal organs. This is a potentially life threatening condition and can be fatal if not treated quickly.

If your dog experiences an eye injury it is very important that your dog is treated quickly

Eye trauma... Any trauma to the eye needs to be treated quickly mainly because if left untreated the eye may not be able to be salvaged. Some breeds are more prone to eye problems (mainly those that have protruding eyes such as Boston Terriers & Pugs). If the eyeball is protruding from the socket, it needs to be put back in place by a vet otherwise the cornea can dry out and the dog's eyesight could be lost.

There are also various health problems associated with whelping, including Dystocia and Eclampsia.

Distocia... This is a serious health issue and occurs when the pregnant female is able to pass (give birth) to her puppy. Of course she may have already passed several puppies and then becomes weak and stops pushing. It may just be normal labour signs but any sign of weakness is a concern. Any long period in-between the female giving birth to her puppies may be a sign of Distocia and if left untreated the puppy and even the mother may die.

Eclampsia... This condition occurs in females normally when they have been nursing for long periods. Eclampsia develops when the blood calcium levels drop. Common signs of the condition can include panting, shaking and fever. The female may also become so unwell that she collapses. This is a potentially life threatening condition which can be fatal.

We love Jack Russells!

Heat exposure... This is another of those puppy and dog health problems that is normally caused by humans. The common cause of this condition is when dogs or puppies are left in cars. Dogs are not able to sweat and although they may attempt to cool themselves by panting this will not be sufficient in reducing their temperature.This is medical emergency.

Hypoglycemia... This health condition is caused by low blood sugar and can occur in puppies (when they don't eat properly) and in older dogs as a result of Diabetes. Common symptoms of this condition includes confusion, weakness and can even lead to collapse.

Respiratory problems... This is another one of the more serious puppy and dog health problems. If your pooch at any point starts to have difficulty in breathing you should take him straight to the vet as it can be a sign of underlying health problems such as congestive heart failure, Pneumonia or something else.

Problems urinating... If your dog ever experiences any problems urinating this should always be considered a medical emergency. If a dog is suffering from Cystitis this can leave the dog feeling as if he needs to empty his bladder (even if it has recently been emptied of urine). The affected dog may keep attempting to push urine out of the bladder with little success, this is because the bladder is often empty. Problems with urinating can also be due to urinary tract infections and even blockages. This is one of those puppy and dog health problems that can develop quickly and if the affected dog is unable to pass urine it can lead to an emergency situation.

Pyometra... This condition only affects females and occurs when unspayed female dogs develop an infection in the uterus. The symptoms of this condition can include appetite loss, diarrhea and vomiting.

Seizures... This health problem can often develop suddenly and may involve the affected dog having a momentary loss of consciousness or a full and violent seizure that involves the dog rolling over on his side and paddling ferociously with his legs. Seizures can last for as little as fifteen seconds up to a few minutes with a short stage (known as the postictal stage) following the actual seizure. This is when the dog stays in the same position, is very quiet and may pant rapidly until gradually returning to normal.

First aid for dogs and puppies...

It is very important that all puppy and dog health problems (however mild) are treated by a vet rather than the owner at home. Of course some health issues are acute and appear suddenly. For this reason it is always wise for dog owners to keep a first aid kit close to hand so that if their pooch has an accident it can be used in a medical emergency.

Below is a list of some of the items that a dog owner should have in their first aid kit. First aid kits can be purchased from any good pet store or they can be made by purchasing items on an individual basis and added to a container.

It is important that your first aid kit is labeled and kept in the same place so it is easily located. It is also important that the container is water-proof (you don't want the contents to get wet or damaged). If your first aid box also contains certain drugs of medications you should check the exact dose with your vet.

Adhesive tape is great for keeping bandages in place. It can also be used to keep a splint in the correct position.

Alcohol wipes are also an essential 'must have' for any first aid kit. They are great for sterilizing the skin or instruments.

Benadryl can be used in small doses (make sure this has been checked by the vet). A useful treatment for insect bites or wasp stings.

Cold packs are a fairly new invention. They work by bending the pack in half where a chemical reaction makes them nice and cold and ready to place over any injury.

Gauze bandages are commonly used to place over an injury.

Hibatine soap can be purchased from most pet stores or from your vet's. It is a fairly mild antibacterial soap often used for cleaning wounds.

Latex gloves are a necessity as they keep your hands clean and protected. They help to avoid any germs passing on the injured area.

Razor blades and Scissors are a must have as they will be needed for cutting tape and bandages.

Safety pins are great for attaching bandages together.

Saline solution (sterile) is great for cleaning any injuries.

Sterile cotton swabs are also useful for a wide range of puppy and dog health problems.

Sticky bandages are also great for stretching over bandages and any gauze and keeping them in place.

Styptic pen (or powder) is fantastic at stemming any bleeding.

Sunscreen is a must have addition to any first aid kit as dog's are prone to getting burnt when in the sun for long periods.

Syringe. This can be used for administering saline to injured eyes or open wounds.

Thermometer. A rectal thermometer should be in every first aid kit.

Thread and needle. This can be used to stitch wounds (but you need to know what you are doing and should only be attempted if you are unable to get veterinary help after a substantial period of time (a few hours) and the wound is life threatening.

Torch. You never know where you might be if your pooch becomes unwell and it could be in the middle of the night when you are out for a walk.

Tweezers can be used for a variety of puppy and dog health problems including removing foreign objects.

Vaseline is great at preventing bandages from getting becoming stuck to any open wounds.

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Enjoy the site...!

Anyway all of us at Dog Health Problems Online hope you enjoy our site and tell your friends and loved ones. We have worked awfully hard at bringing all this great information to you and hope our passion for dogs shines through in our writing.

Below is a list of some of the more common health problems to affect dogs and puppies...

Worms, ticks and fleas...

A picture of a Tick crawling on a rock

Some of the most common health related issus in dogs and puppies is caused by these nasty little parasites. But what are they, and how do they affect your pooch?

Fleas are probably one of the most common parasites that owners encounter when caring for their dog. The most common type Ctenocephalides felis will spend most of it's life living on the host (your dog) where it will suck it's blood, mate and lay as many as 2000 eggs.

The Cat Flea is one of  the most common Fleas to affect dogs

Worms...There are many different varieties of worms with each type causing different symptoms ranging from diarrhea, sickness and vomiting to more serious conditions such as heart problems, bleeding, anemia and even death.

A picture of some Worms

Ticks are another common parasite to affect dogs and puppies. There are in fact many different types of ticks with each type capable of causing secondary health problems including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and a very serious condition known as Lyme Disease. This parasite goes through four stages in it's life from egg, larva to a nymph and then finally to an adult.

A picture of a Tick engorged in a dog

Scabies (Sarcoptic mange)

A picture of two dogs with Scabies

Another picture of a dog suffering from Scabies

Scabies is another debilitating condition that can affect dogs and puppies (look at the picture below)...

A picture of a group of puppies suffering from Scabies

This condition is fairly common in strays (like the dogs in the pictures above) and as you can see it causes devastating symptoms. This skin disease comes in separate forms including Sarcoptic mange and Cheyletiella mange. Sarcoptic mange is caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite (a highly infectious and contagious mite) that burrows into the affected dogs skin laying eggs as it digs. Frantic itching and secondary skin problems are often associated with this health problem.

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How do I know if my dog is ill?

You are often the first person to notice if your dog has become unwell. There are often classic signs of illness such as a change in behavior, a poor appearance, lack of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea but sometimes the symptoms are so mild that they are hardly noticeable. All owners should have their dog checked by a vet on a regular basis so their eyes, ears, weight and overall appearance can be checked. The bottom line is if you have any concerns at all about your dog you should take him straight to the vet.

Below is a short list of common puppy health problems...

There are are many dangerous health problems that seem to affect puppies and although the list below does not cover them all it does provide a guide to a few of the more common issues...

Toxic milk syndrome... This condition is very serious and is caused by an incompatability to the mothers milk. Common symptoms can include a red swollen anus, greenish diarrhea and a bloated appearance.

Herpes... This condition is also known as fading puppy syndrome and affects puppies from the age of 1-3 weeks of age. The affected puppy may cry, refuse to nurse and will become very ill.

Umbilical cord infection... This condition is caused when the puppy contracts an infection from the umbilical cord. It can be life threatening.

Hypoglycemia... This is caused by low blood sugar and can lead to muscle weakness, twitching and even collapse.

Parvo... This is a deadly condition that comes in two forms (intestinal and cardiac). It is highly infectious leading to loss of appetite, dehydration, diarrhea and even death.

Mange... Many young puppies are very susceptible to mites which can cause Demodectic or Sarcoptic mange.

Kennel cough... Some young puppies may develop a mild cough. Kennel cough is rarely serious and puppies will recover through veterinary treatment.

Of course many young puppies may experience bouts of diarrhea, vomiting and even consitipation but you should always get any health problem affecting your puppy checked over by your vet as it may be a sign of a more serious condition.


My puppy is sick...!

A neonatal puppy has three common things that they need to contend with before they even reach adulthood. The term 'neonatal' simply means 'newborn'. Below is a short list of the three most common problems to affect very young puppies.

Dehydration...is a very serious condition that can affect any newborn puppy (this is because the vast majority of a neonatal puppy's body is made up of water). If you little pooch does not receive enough water, is exposed to excessive heat, humidity of is kept in cold conditions this can lead to dehydration.

Hypothermia...is a common problem to affect newborn puppies mainly because a very young puppy is dependent on the radiant heat from the mother. If the newborn is separated from the mother this can cause the puppy to become cold which increases the respiritory rate and can lead to a coma and even death.

Diarrhea...it is very common for young puppies (under the age of three weeks) to have soft stools. However, diarrhea can be a sign of a more serious condition and can lead to dehydration and even death if left untreated.