The 6 Most Common Dog Illness Symptoms

All pet owners should be aware of the signs and symptoms of a dog illness. If spotted and treated quickly, most problems can be managed, minimized or cured.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Every dog has occasional bouts with digestive upset. Usually this condition will resolve itself in a few day. Withhold food for twenty-four hours and watch her closely (unless she vomited yellow bile, which is usually a result of being hungry for too long). If she is experiencing very watery diarrhea or if there is blood present in either the vomit or feces, it could be a more serious situation.

Canine parvovirus attacks the lining of the digestive tract. It is highly contagious and puppies are very vulnerable. Most puppies are vaccinated against this dangerous dog virus, but the only way to be sure of a diagnosis if through a diagnostic test administered by a veterinarian. Parvo is treatable, but it is a serious illness.

Vomiting can also be caused by intestinal worms and parasites. Be sure your dog is protected from worms by administering an appropriate deworming program. There are over-the-counter vermicides available, but prescription dewormers are more targeted and effective.

Bad Breath

Bad dog breath is usually a sign of gingivitis or periodontal disease. Maintain your dog's teeth by feeding crunchy treats and brushing the teeth with special canine toothpaste.

Itchy Skin and Ear Infections

Itchy skin and chronic ear infections are usually a sign of a food allergy. Switch to a low-allergen food such as lamb and rice. Corn, wheat and soy are the most common food allergies in dogs.

Stiffness and Pain

Many dogs over the age of six start to show the signs of arthritis. Difficulty climbing stairs and pain when rising are typical symptoms. There are prescription medications available to treat the pain and inflammation. Keep your dog at a healthy weight and consider a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement to keep joints healthy.

Urinary Problems

Urinary tract infections plague many dogs. Acidifying the urine with a Vitamin C or cranberry supplement can help. If there is blood in the urine, it could be a sign of urinary stones. This condition can often be controlled by diet.


Our pets are suffering from the nationwide obesity epidemic, too. Run your hands over your dog's rib cage. If you can't feel any ribs, your dog may be overweight.

Provide a high-quality diet for your dog; immune system strength and overall vitality will improve and it will help keep your dog healthy and active.