Getting Healthy diets and keeping your dog healthy is one of the foremost responsibility of dog ownership.It also helps to know if there are any hereditary conditions or diseases that your breed of dog may be more susceptible to developing. Knowing what to look for can help you get medical help as necessary.
The following is a list of popular breeds and conditions to guard against:
- Basset Hounds – Eye and ear problems and tendency to catch bacterial, viral and parasitic infections.
- Boxers – Heart and thyroid problems, skin allergies.
- Chihuahuas – May suffer from overcrowded teeth, kneecap injuries and hyperthermia from overexertion.
- Dalmatian – The risk of bladder and kidney stones can be reduced with a special diet.
- German Shepherds – Chronic eczema and eye infections.
- Irish Setters – Ear mite infestations are common.
- Labrador Retrievers – Without adequate exercise, these dogs become obese and suffer cardiovascular problems.
- Lhasa Apso – Constant tearing can result in eye infections.
- Pugs – That cute, flat nose can cause breathing problems. There is also a tendency towards obesity.
- Spaniels – Easily develop ear and eye infections. Tangled coats require frequent grooming.
Parasites, both internal and external can also become a serious problem for your dog. Internal critters such as hookworms, tapeworms and roundworms are transmitted during their life cycle through contaminated animal feces. Untreated heartworm can kill your pet.
External parasites tend to be more annoying for you and your pet than they are life-threatening. However, fleas and ticks can carry Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. If they bite you, they can transmit these diseases. There are several options for controlling these pests. Both commercial products and natural remedies are readily available. Mite infestations can cause discomfort for your pet and a skin condition called mange.
Of the fungal diseases to which dogs are most susceptible, ringworm tops the list, and yes, you can catch it from your pet. Symptoms include losing hair and having scaling skin in the affected area. Because ringworm is self-limiting, expensive medical treatment may not be necessary.
Other skin conditions are often related to allergies. Atopy is the most common, affecting as much as 10 percent of the dog population. Other conditions include hot spots and pyoderma. Food allergies or medical conditions related to the consumption of human food can also be a problem. In general, human food is not good for your pet, but some products can also cause severe health problems.
What NEVER to feed your dog:
- Beer – Malignant hypothermia.
- Chocolate – Tastes wonderful to your pet but can cause internal bleeding, heart attacks and death.
- Fruit pits, if chewed – Cyanide poisoning.
- Green tomatoes – Ingredient tomatine is toxic for dogs.
- Onions – Anemia.
- Raisins and grapes – Kidney failure.
Pinning down the cause of an allergy can be challenging. Not just food or parasites but pollens, grooming products, mold or dust particulates could be the source of your dog’s itching and scratching.
Trial and error is often the only way to single out the culprit. There are specially designed skin products that you can use to relieve some of your dog’s discomfort. A visit to the vet may also shed some light on this frustrating problem.
Dogs are susceptible to eye diseases similar to those that bother us humans. Age may bring on cataracts, canine glaucoma and entropian. Excessive activity and aging can also affect the joints and cause bone fractures and torn ligaments.
Keeping your dog’s environment safe and free from potential hazards can help prevent such injuries. With good health care habits and immediate medical attention when necessary, your pet will be around to offer you years of treasured companionship.