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Being a dog parent can be very rewarding. We have always heard the saying a dog is a mans best friend. When you have a best friend, you want to make sure that they are well. Dogs are good at letting you know when they want a treat or when then want to go outside. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when your canine is having health problems. There are six common health problems that dogs have. Knowing what those are can help you take better care of your dog.

1. Fleas

Fleas are one of the biggest common health problems your dog can have. It only takes three weeks for a flea bite to turn into many infestations. Dog’s are prone to getting fleas, but they are easy to treat. Knowing what signs to look for when your dog has fleas can help your dog not have any infections or allergic reactions. As a professional dog walker and pet sitter, we make sure to pay attention and watch out for signs of fleas. Here some signs that your dog may have fleas:

  • Hair loss
  • Scratching or biting the skin
  • Tapeworms
  • Flea dirt
  • Hot spots
  • Skin allergies

2. Heartworms

Heartworms are a serious disease that damages the dog’s heart and arteries. Heartworms can come about through mosquito bites and if you are a pet sitter and you do not check the bite the larvae can develop into worms. Treatments for heartworms consist of medication or in extreme cases surgery, but heartworms can be easily prevented. Some symptoms of heartworms are:

  • Collapsing
  • Depression (moping)
  • Coughing
  • Lethargy

3. Ear Infections

Ear infections are a common and painful infection in dogs. Ear infections in canines can be caused by ear mites, bacteria, yeast and hair growth in the ear canal. Most people have ear infections from time to time, and they know how to treat it, but dogs cannot tell you that their ear is hurting so during dog walks or pet sitting sessions, we look out for:

  • Ear odor
  • Head shaking
  • Head tilting
  • Unusual eye movements
  • Brown, bloody or yellow discharge
  • Lack of balance
  • Red ear canals

When you see some of these signs of an ear infection, make sure you take your dog to the veterinarian. They can give your dog the proper treatment that he needs.

4. Obesity

Just like adults, canines can become obese which can cause a lot of health problems. When your dog is overweight, it can cause liver disease and diabetes. To tell if your dog is at its best weight, you should be able to feel his rib and backbones without pressing too hard. Make an effort to reduce snacks and take your dog for a walk or to the playground to prevent obesity.

5. Broken Bones

Broken bones otherwise known as fractures are very common in dogs. Dogs can get broken bones from jumping out of windows or playing rough. When a dog is limping or not moving the dog most likely has a broken bone. It is one of our responsibilities as pet sitters to inform a dog parent immediately if their pup has been injured.

6. Cancer

Believe it or not, dogs can get cancer. One common form of cancer that dogs can have is skin cancer. Having white patches on the tip of the nose and the tip of the ears can be a sign of skin cancer. Other signs of cancer in dogs are:

  • Lumps
  • Sores
  • Swelling
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Urinating frequently
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lack of energy
  • Dark-colored stools

Going to the vet regularly can help prevent these common health problems in dogs. Knowing how to recognize these signs can prevent your dog from getting worse when these health problems arise.