by Susan Wright
There are several health conditions in dogs that have serious consequences, but can be avoided with a little effort on the part of their owner. Here are some of the most common ones.
85% of dogs over 3 years of age have some degree of dental disease. This can cause gum inflammation and infection, and the loss of teeth. It will hurt to eat, and your dog may lose weight and feel quite unwell.
Once dental disease is present, there is nothing you can do to resolve it. Your dog will need his teeth professionally cleaned and polished under a general anesthetic.
You can prevent dental disease by brushing your dog’s teeth daily from puppy hood. If his teeth have just been cleaned by your vet, then start brushing straight away to prevent any further gum disease. It’s not difficult, it just takes a little time out of your day, but it will save your dog from suffering with a sore mouth.
Heart worm Disease
Heart worm is a parasite that is spread by mosquitoes. Adults are found in your dog’s heart and the arteries leading to his lungs. The worms cause inflammation and blockage of these arteries and ultimately lead to heart failure.
Heart worm can be treated, but this is costly and sometimes the damage is already done and can’t be reversed. It’s better to prevent this disease in the first place.
Fortunately, this is easy and inexpensive. You can give your dog a monthly treatment to prevent adult heart worm developing, or your vet can administer an injection that will protect him for 6 months.
Pyometron and Breast Cancer
These conditions relate specifically to female dogs. Pyometron is an infected uterus which can not only make your dog very sick, it can kill her. This can be prevented by spaying your dog – if the uterus isn’t there, it can’t get infected.
Breast cancer is another preventable disease in female dogs. If you spay your dog before her first heat period, you reduce the risk of this disease to almost zero.
Unless you are a registered breeder, there is no reason to keep your female dog entire. Spay her and you are not only protecting her health, but you are preventing any accidental pregnancy.
The latest studies show that over 40% of American dogs are overweight. Obese dogs are at greater risk of diseases such as diabetes, arthritis and skin fold infections.
Because you control what goes into your dog’s mouth, you can control his weight. Ideally, don’t let your dog get overweight in the first place. Control his meal size, don’t leave food out for him all the time, and cut out between-meal snacks.
If your dog is already a bit big around his middle, it’s not too late. He can start a diet, and although it is hard, he will benefit greatly from the loss of a few pounds.
When it comes to your dog’s health, prevention is definitely better than cure. It can not only save your budget, but it may just save your dog’s life.
Susan Wright, DMV is a practicing veterinarian with more than a decade of experience. Susan’s heart goes into providing quality care to family pets. Dr. Wright is a writer and expert on dog bark collars.