Four Common Canine Health Conditions

Dogs do not differ much from their owners in the variety of health conditions from which they can suffer throughout their lives. Depending on factors like their breed, how well they are taken care of, and what kind of diet they consume regularly, dogs can develop health problems that could cut their lives short without proper attention. Be an informed and proactive owner of your canine friend by knowing from what illnesses he or she could suffer and what steps you can take to keep your dog in the best of health.


Numerous breeds of dogs are at risk of developing arthritis as they near middle or old age. Some of the most at-risk canine breeds for this health issue include:

  • German Shepherds
  • Dachshunds
  • Golden and Labrador retrievers
  • Newfoundlands
  • Rottweilers
  • Mastiffs
  • Great Danes
  • Old English sheepdogs
  • Saint Bernards

These breeds have dimensions that put greater strain on their joints and eventually cause arthritis. You may be able to prolong the development of arthritis in your canine friend by making sure that your dog gets enough exercise. You also should avoid feeding your dog table scraps and foods that are not in line with your vet’s prescribed diet.


Allergies and Respiratory Issues

Dog with short snouts or noses are most at-risk of developing respiratory issues. Breeds like:

  • Shih-tzus
  • Boxers
  • Bulldogs
  • Pugs
  • Shar-peis

All have flat or short noses, making it more difficult for them to breathe deeply like other breeds of dogs like shepherds and retrievers. Their short snouts also put them at risk of developing sinus issues like chronic infections or congestion.

Additionally, some breeds of dogs are more prone to developing skin and respiratory allergies than others. Some of the most common breeds that suffer from acute or chronic allergies include:

  • Shih-tzus
  • Boston Terriers
  • Bull Terriers
  • Schnauzers
  • Boxers
  • Beagles

Owners of these breeds may need to give their dogs daily medications and buy special food to relieve or eliminate their pets’ allergies.

Liver Disease

All breeds of dogs can develop liver disease if they are not fed a proper diet or if they are allowed to become overweight or obese. Being fed a steady diet of table scraps, for example, can quickly accelerate the onset of liver disease in any dog. This condition progresses until the dog experiences symptoms like substantial pain, loss of appetite, vomiting, and eventually death.

Further, liver disease is expensive to treat and often requires invasive surgery. If you cannot afford to pay for your pet’s treatment, you may have no choice but to have your dog put to sleep.

Additionally, dogs that are allowed to become overweight or obese are at a greater risk for liver disease. Their sedentary lifestyle causes their liver function to become compromised.

You may be able to prevent liver disease in your canine by taking it for daily walks and by playing fetch or other games with your dog. Likewise, you should feed it a low-fat, high protein kibble or dog food that is recommended by your veterinarian.

Congestive Heart Failure

Unfortunately, some breeds of dogs are more prone to developing congestive heart failure than other canine breeds. CHF is a genetic flaw found in several canine breeds. However, it can also develop by itself as the result of poor diet or lack of exercise.

The most at-risk breeds for CHF include:

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
  • Miniature Poodles
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Irish Wolfhounds
  • Boxers

The symptoms of CHF typically present themselves as:

  • excessive panting
  • coughing
  • collapse
  • bloody sputum
  • intolerance to exercise
  • distended abdomen

Veterinarians have limited means to treat CHF in dogs. These options include oxygen therapy, diuretic medications, blood pressure medications, and surgical removal of fluid from the lungs and heart.

However, vets currently do not have a cure for canine CHF. The treatments are meant to improve or prolong a dog’s life rather than eliminate the disease itself. At some point, owners of dogs with CHF must decide when to humanely euthanize their pets.

You may be able to prolong or prevent the onset of CHF in your dog by making sure it eats a healthy diet prescribed by your vet. You also should ensure that your dog gets plenty of daily exercise.

Dogs can live long and healthy lives with proper care and attention. However, they may be prone to these diseases depending on their breed, diet, and other factors.


Guest blog written by Golden Meadow Retrievers.

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