Three common dog health problems
There are three common dog health problems that occur time and again. As a dog owner, being aware of these health problems is essential. Three of the most common problems are itchy skin, digestive upsets, and stiff joints. So what can you, the pet owner, do to help?
Let’s look at the most common causes of these dog health problems and how they can be treated.
Itchy skin is a more common dog health problem than many people realise. Dogs don’t normally scratch more than once or twice a day so if your dog is always itchy, there may a problem that needs more investigation.
There are many different causes for itching:
- Fleas – the most common cause. Make sure you use a good quality flea preparation and if you find fleas, treat the house with a suitable insecticidal treatment. 95% of the flea problem is in the environment. Ask your vet which treatments are most suitable for your dog
- Other parasites e.g. mites. Mites are hard to detect and can often cause excessive itching. Harvest mites can be a particular problem during the late summer months. Speak to your vet about suitable treatment for mites.
- Allergy – after flea allergy, environmental allergy e.g. pollen, house dust mites etc is the next most common cause for persistent itching. Giving your dog a specific blend Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils such as those found in YUMEGA PLUS can help greatly by reducing skin itchiness and preventing the skin from drying out. Dry skin allows more allergens to get through and results in more itchiness. Your dog may need medication to control the itchiness (under the guidance of your vet).
- Infection – this is usually secondary to problems such as allergy, mites etc. Speak to your vet if you think your dog is itchy because of an infection
- Dietary allergy – an intolerance to certain foods (usually specific proteins) is an occasional cause for itchy skin. Speak to your vet for best dog nutrition tips and advice on which diet would be most suitable for your dog.
Diarrhoea in Dogs
‘Eating something they shouldn’t have’ or dietary indiscretion is by far the most common cause for diarrhoea in dogs. The problem may start with a bit of vomiting but usually ends up working its way through to the other end. In simple cases, a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice for a few days is usually sufficient to settle everything down. But more persistent or recurrent problems suggest an imbalance in the gut.
The colon (last part of the gut) is responsible for the final stage of digestion and the formation of faeces. There are good bacteria and bad bacteria in the gut that can be out of balance during a period of diarrhoea i.e. the good guys outweigh the bad guys. Restoring the balance of bacteria is key to resolving digestive issues:
- Keeping your dog on a more hypoallergenic diet can help greatly with restoring a normal balance in the gut. Your vet can suggest a diet that would be suitable for your dog.
- Giving dog-specific probiotics can help replace some of the good bacteria which compete with the bad bacteria. Supplements such as YUMPRO BioActiv which contains the probiotic Enterococcus faecium E1707 can help.
- Giving prebiotics (soluble fibre) provides a food source for the good bacteria as well as mopping up the bad bacteria. Supplements containing MOS, scFOS and Beta Glucans such as YUMPRO BioActiv can help.
- Giving insoluble fibre and certain clays help to absorb excess water in the faeces to make it more formed. Insoluble fibre can also be useful if your dog has anal gland problems. Bulking out the faeces empties the glands more frequently. Supplements such as YUMPRO BioActiv PLUS which contains Montmorillonite, a special kind of clay which binds toxins, can help.
- Deworming your dog regularly (every 3-4months) helps to minimise the number of parasites which can upset the gut.
If your dog has persistent health problems with diarrhoea then seek veterinary advice.
It is not uncommon to see older dogs slowing down and getting stiffer, especially after lying down. This is most commonly due to arthritis. Although the changes that occur in this dog health problem are irreversible, the discomfort that results can be controlled.
Anti-inflammatories prescribed by your vet will improve comfort levels but you can do your bit to help. Using a dog joint supplement such as Yumove which contains active ingredients to support joint function can be very useful. Green Lipped Mussel extract contains a specific Omega 3 called ETA which has been proven to improve joint discomfort in dogs. Glucosamine and Chondroitin help maintain the cartilage in your dog’s joints, helping to support the joint structure. Hyaluronic Acid, a major component of synovial fluid acts as a shock absorber for the joint, aiding mobility.
Joint pain in dogs should be assessed by your vet to ensure your dog is receiving the correct treatment. Click here to read our article on easing joint pain in dogs.
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