Seven Common Dog Illnesses to Be Mindful Of

You love your dog, but it can be hard to tell when they’re not feeling well. Dogs are masters of hiding their symptoms and pretending like everything is fine. But if you know what to look for, you can catch illnesses early on before they become severe or even life-threatening. Here are some common dog illnesses that might require a trip to the vet:

Flea Infestation

Fleas are critical in dogs and can cause mild to severe health issues. Fleas are hardy insects that like to live on the animal’s skin and in its fur. They feed on their host’s blood, causing irritation and itching as they move around. 

A flea infestation occurs when too many fleas are in your dog’s habitat. These fleas don’t have to be visible. Just an abundance of eggs or larvae can signal a problem. They breed so easily and spread quickly through contact with other animals or people who have them. Flea medication is your best defense against these pests.

Many flea medications are available, including oral medicines like Credelio chewable tablets. Credelio chewable tablets for dogs effectively decimate the infestation within two days after dosing. These meds contain two active ingredients, spinosad and milbemycin oxime. Both compounds are anti-parasitic. 

The first attacks the adult stages, while the second goes after larvae/eggs to prevent future infestations. They show high efficacy within 48 hours, making them suitable for treating flea infestation immediately. 

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough, sometimes called canine infectious tracheobronchitis and canine croup is a highly contagious disease among dogs. Several viruses can cause it, but the most common culprits are parainfluenza virus (PI3) and canine adenovirus-1. The virus spreads quickly through the air when an infected dog coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include coughing, nasal discharge, and fever. Affected dogs may also have difficulty breathing because of inflammation in their trachea and bronchi. Kennel cough is treatable with antibiotics such as azithromycin or doxycycline. Vaccination can also help prevent infection by keeping your dog healthy overall.

Kennel cough is a life-threatening disease, and taking it seriously is crucial. It can progress to pneumonia. And you should never underestimate how quickly a cold can escalate into something more serious when dealing with pets. 

In 2022, dog owners and vets were warned on an urgent basis. This disease spreads quickly among dogs who socialize primarily in parks. Thanks to an Insta post responsible for spreading awareness and probably saving dogs from this deadly disease. 


One of the most common conditions that affect dogs is heartworm. A parasitic disease spread by mosquitoes causes heartworm, and it affects approximately 100,000 dogs every year in the United States alone. Heartworm symptoms are chronic coughing, throwing up, drastic weight reduction, tiredness, and dyspnea.

Though there are no specific treatments for heartworm disease itself, there are many things you can do to protect your dog from getting infected with this dangerous illness. Heartworm medications such as Nexgard or Revolution are available OTC at most pharma stores.

However, remember that these drugs only prevent infestation from occurring. They will not cure an existing case of heartworm disease. If your dog shows any signs of infection, immediately consult your vet about which method would work best for you and your pup!


Leptospirosis is a bacterial illness carried by diseased animals’ urine, such as cows, rats, or dogs. It can cause renal damage, liver failure, and meningitis. It’s dangerous for your dog if exposed to fresh water containing bacteria through swimming in lakes or ponds, drinking from puddles, or even playing in the mud.

Leptospirosis symptoms include fever, lethargy, and vomiting, which may accompany jaundice and red eyes. Left untreated, it can be fatal for dogs, with about a 34 percent mortality rate within two weeks of infection. Thankfully leptospirosis can be treated with antibiotics, so if you suspect your pup has been exposed, see your vet quickly.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by E. coli, transmitted to dogs via flea bites. The ticks must be attached for at least 24 hours before transmitting the disease so immediate removal can prevent infection. 

If a tick has bitten your dog, watch him closely for signs of Lyme disease; lethargy, lack of appetite, and fever may all be symptoms. Sadly, just 5 to 10% of infected dogs show signs making it hard for you to identify the problem before it’s too late. Treating the condition too late might result in significant health complications such as renal failure or cardiac difficulties. Hence, keep up with regular vet visits to avert risks.

Treatment for Lyme disease involves antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian. Vaccines are also available to prevent exposure to Lyme Disease. These should be given between eight weeks and 16 weeks old, along with a booster three months later and every year after that until adulthood.


Parvovirus is a highly infectious disease that can kill pups. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, dehydration, and loss of appetite. Contact with contagious feces or an afflicted dog’s surroundings, such as the ground, spreads the illness.

Parvo is often fatal in dogs who aren’t treated quickly with antibiotics. Treatment involves intensive hospitalization care to keep your dog hydrated while they recover from its illness. 

The survival rate for puppies diagnosed with parvo is 86 percent within ten days. However, this number drops significantly after three weeks pass without treatment.


It might be challenging to stay abreast of all the diseases that dogs are prone to. It’s even harder to know which ones your dog might have. The best way to protect your pet from illnesses is by staying on top of regular checkups with a veterinarian. If you notice any symptoms that don’t seem normal or worsen over time, please resist giving OTC or prescription meds without consulting your vet. 

This is because certain medications are said to have adverse effects on dogs, while others are not appropriate for certain canines, such as pregnant ones. So, see your veterinarian first for an urgent diagnosis and treatment.

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