Dog is man’s best friend. Our furry friends are always by our side to cheer us up when we’re down — and especially when we’re feeling a bit under the weather. Be sure to return the favor of being there for your special canine when they get sick.

Of course, they won’t outwardly tell you what’s ailing them, so be sure to find out below what the five most common canine illnesses are, how to identify them, and what to do for treatment.

  1. Ear Infections
    This is probably the most common illness across all breeds. Many of the causes include allergies, ear mites, bacterial buildup, or even excessive hair growth within the ear canal.Symptoms include:
    -Constant scratching
    -Visible redness in the ear canal
    -Swelling
    -Head shaking
    -Discharge that may be brown, yellow, or bloody

    If you suspect an ear infection, take your dog to the vet. They will usually prescribe routine ear cleaning and topical medication.

  2. Worms
    These are common parasites that reside within your dog’s gut — usually the small or large intestine — and should not be taken lightly. Tapeworms, roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms all fall under this category.Symptoms:
    -Rugged or rough overall appearance
    -Change in appetite
    -Weight loss
    -Dragging their bottom on the ground

    Unfortunately the only way to truly determine if your dog has a worm or not, they must be taken to a vet. Depending on the type of worm will depend on the type of treatment, but it will usually include oral medication.

  3. Fleas
    Although a very common ailment for dogs, a flea problem is thankfully easy to treat — just be sure to catch the signs early so your dog isn’t uncomfortable for too long!Symptoms
    -Skin rashes, such as dermatitis
    -Hot spots
    -Bald patches or hair loss
    -Constant scratching, biting, or licking of the skin/fur
    -Tapeworms (yes, they’re carried by fleas!)

    Make sure to get your dog to the vet as soon as you see signs develop, as this is one of the most uncomfortable illnesses and may cause infections due to constant biting and scratching. You can get away with over-the-counter flea medication or collars, but talk to your vet about oral medicine or shampoos.

  4. Vomiting
    Any dog owner will know that vomiting is just going to happen sometimes. Many instances will be a one-and-done deal, but repetitive vomiting could be a sign of pancreatitis, poisoning, kidney failure, or heatstroke.Symptoms:
    -Heaving
    -Lethargy
    -Continued vomiting
    -Dehydration
    -Nausea

    Before taking a trip to the vet, call ahead for an initial consultation, as you may be able to alleviate the issue without making the drive. If you must go in for an appointment, they may administer fluid therapy, medication to control vomiting, or recommend homemade meals or dry food.

  5. Diarrhea
    Just like vomiting, this illness could just be a one-time occurrence due to something they ate. However some other causes for repeat offences could be parasites, food allergies, stress, or the parvo virus.Symptoms:
    -Dehydration
    -Loose, watery stool
    -Bloody stool

    Start off by giving your dog plenty of water to make sure they stay hydrated. If symptoms persist for more than a day, try switching to a dry-food diet. Take your canine friend to the vet as soon as possible if they have a fever, are vomiting, or have bloody stools.

Make sure to talk to your vet about ways to prevent these common ailments so that you and your furry friend can spend more time doing the things you love — such as going to a dog training class or taking a long hike — and not worrying about potential sicknesses.

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