No one wants to think about their precious pooch getting sick. In the light of that, as pet parents, we try to do our best to keep our furbabies healthy, but their inability to speak means that they sometimes suffer in silence. The good news is that many common pet ailments are totally preventable. Check out our list of 5 preventable dog health issues and what you can do to keep your pup feeling his or her best.
Vaccine-Preventable Dog Health Issues – Parvovirus
If you’re a dog owner, you’ve probably heard of parvo. It’s a deadly disease that causes several symptoms and has a poor prognosis. It attacks the liver and the heart. Luckily, parvo is one of preventable dog health issues. In fact, the parvo vaccine is one of the core vaccines for puppies, so most dogs should never get this horrible disease.
Parvo is typically spread when a dog comes in contact with the feces of an infected dog. This contact may occur directly or indirectly, and the disease is most prevalent in shelters and breeding facilities. Make sure you have your puppy vaccinated as early as possible. If you adopt a shelter dog, ask for vaccination records to ensure that he is up-to-date on his shots.
Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that causes symptoms ranging from lameness and stiffness in limbs to a decrease in appetite. When not treated, it may also lead to bigger problems such as kidney failure. Caused by a type of bacteria that is transmitted by deer ticks, it is one of the most common tick-related illnesses.
Fortunately, it’s one of highly preventable dog health issues. Use topical medications, pills or collars designed to repel and kill ticks. Also, it’s a good idea to avoid areas that are heavily infested with these little bloodsuckers. Always check your dog for ticks after returning home from a walk through wooded or grassy areas.
Life-Threatening Preventable Dog Health Issues – Heartworm
A single bite from an infected mosquito is all it takes for your dog to get heartworm. Pets suffering from heartworms show several symptoms, including coughing, fatigue, decreased appetite and weight loss. In time, the parasites can cause heart failure, severe lung disease, and organ damage.
Treatment for heartworms is painful and expensive. Preventing heartworm, however, is simple and affordable. Preventative medicine is available in the form of pills, injections or topical creams. Talk to your vet to determine which option is best for your pet.
Bloat a.k.a. Gastric Torsion
If your dog gobbles down his food in the blink of an eye, he may be at risk of developing bloat, or an enlarged stomach. When the stomach turns and air and fluids are unable to escape, the situation becomes severe. While any dog may experience bloat, larger breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, and German Shepherds are most susceptible.
Bloat is one of potentially severe yet easily preventable dog health issues. Because of this, there are several products on the market that are designed to slow down fast eaters. Time-release food bowls, bowls designed to make dogs eat at a slower pace and toys that they need to know around to get food to release are all viable options.
Preventable Dog Health Issues – Dental Disease
Dental disease is the most common ailment in dogs. It affects more than 78% of dogs over the age of 3 and can lead to liver, heart and kidney complications. On the positive note, it’s also very preventable. Just like humans, dogs should have their teeth examined by a veterinarian regularly.
In addition, you need to brush your dog’s teeth at least twice each week and schedule an annual cleaning with your veterinarian. Also, look for dental chews designed to help prevent tartar buildup.
Your dog is your best friend. Therefore, don’t you owe it to him to make sure he doesn’t fall victim to a preventable disease like the ones listed above? Talk to your vet about what you can do to keep your pet healthier and happier.