Common Canine Health Problems

Dog owners have to worry about a number of dog health issues: disease, parasites, injury and more. Vaccinating your dog against common diseases and dangerous diseases can help, but being knowledgeable about common canine health problems can also be helpful.

One of the most important things you can do for your dog’s health is to see a veterinarian regularly. Yearly check-ups are important for good dog health. Check-ups are also a great time to make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and parasite protection.

Core Vaccinations for Dogs

Core vaccines are vaccines that are recommended for almost all dogs. These are the most important vaccinations. Core vaccines for dogs include:

  • canine adenovirus-2 (hepatitis and respiratory disease)
  • canine parvovirus-2
  • canine rabies
  • distemper.

Fleas and Ticks

Parasites like fleas and ticks are common health problems for dogs. As dogs are often outdoors and can come into contact with other dogs, exposure to fleas and ticks is extremely likely.

These insects can cause dogs a great deal of pain. However, they can easily be protected against. Medications like Frontline or Advantage can be given to dogs monthly to protect them against these parasites. Medication is generally in a liquid form that the dog owner administers against the skin. It causes the dog no pain and is easy to administer.


While many owners are not concerned with canine obesity, it can cause many health problems for your dog. Energy levels can decrease and more strain is put on the joints when dogs are obese. This can lead to arthritis and other problems later in the dog’s life.

If your dog is overweight, ask your vet for recommendations on getting your dog to lose weight. More exercise may be needed for your dog and a new feeding schedule could be beneficial. In some cases, veterinarians will recommend a new type of dog food. Many companies produce dog food formulas that are specifically designed for dog weight loss or dog weight control.


Dog allergies can be a big problem for some dogs. Dog allergies usually concern one of the following:

  • contact with a certain substance
  • fleas
  • food
  • inhaling a certain substance.

When a dog is having an allergic reaction, he may have irritated or itchy skin, or in some cases can vomit or have excessive diarrhea. Your veterinarian can recommend treatment for allergies that can significantly improve a dog’s symptoms. In cases where food is to blame for the allergy, new dietary recommendations can be made.

Ear Infections

Many dogs get ear infections, but these are easily treated. A veterinarian can prescribe medication that usually clears up an ear infection quickly.

Ear infection symptoms include:

  • a smell coming from the ears
  • frequent shaking of the head
  • scratching at the ears.

If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Dog Health Problems: Older Dogs

Older dogs are still susceptible to the same health problems as younger dogs, but they are also susceptible to other afflictions. In old age, some dog senses become dull. In some dogs, blindness and deafness can occur. While there may not be anything you can do to prevent blindness and deafness, your veterinarian can make recommendations for helping your dog deal with these limitations.

Older dogs are also prone to arthritis. This may come on slowly for your dog, so it’s important to look carefully for signs that your dog is in pain. His mobility may be affected and he may not jump or climb as much as usual. If you suspect your dog has arthritis, see your veterinarian. Medications and other remedies may be able to help reduce your dog’s pain and increase his mobility.