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Common Dog Health Problems and How to Prevent Them

* Allergies - Allergies can result from any number of sources. Dogs are allergic to foods, parasites, molds, pollens, and more. To avoid flea allergies, bathe and provide flea medication monthly.

If your dog develops food allergies, you'll need to see a vet to determine what the cause of the allergies is and to set them on a special diet to determine the cause.

* Bowel Obstructions - A bowel obstruction can occur whenever a dog eats something that cannot be digested. This can be anything larger than a dog's intestines - including bone fragments, balls, toys, large chunks of food, or other foreign objects.

Keep your floors clean and never leave your dog unattended with a toy or outside. If a dog has an obstruction, take them to the vet immediately as they may require surgery.

* Diabetes - Diabetes is caused often by obesity and poor diet, but can also be genetic. If your dog develops diabetes, you will need to feed them special foods and take care that they do not get table scraps or other food (especially cat food).

Insulin may also be required as a shot given daily to the dog. Diabetes in a dog can be controlled but requires very careful attention to their habits.

* Diarrhea - Diarrhea is caused by bacteria or virus or a possible change in diet. If your dog has had no sudden changes recently, have them tested for potential diseases that could be causing it.

* Ear Infections - Ear infections - either bacterial or yeast - are common and can be caused by food allergies, or improper cleaning of the ears. To avoid ear infections, check your dog's ears daily for redness, swelling or puss.

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Ear infections need to be treated with antibiotics. Most dogs are susceptible to infections, but long eared dogs like Dachshunds, Bloodhounds, or Beagles are even more likely to get them.

* Hot Spots - Hot spots are caused by secondary infections due to licking, scratching or biting of the skin. They can be caused by fleas, ticks, or food allergies and should be treated accordingly.

Hot spots are usually treated by removing the source of the hot spots and then providing a cream or steroid that will reduce swelling. Sometimes a neck cone may be necessary to keep the dog from licking.

* Obesity - Obesity is caused not only by overeating, but by eating the wrong foods. Learn how to deal with an obese dog by instating daily feeding times and a set amount of food. Also, cut out table scraps and make sure your dog gets regular exercise on a daily basis.

* Worms - Dog worms are a parasite that can infect a dog's intestines. The eggs for worms are often found in dirt, feces, or vomit that a dog might lick up while outside. Avoid letting your dog eat such things outside for this reason.

If your dog does get worms, they will need to have their feces checked by the vet, then given a deworming medication to remove the worms from their digestive track. If your dog has worms, you may want to be checked yourself as it can pass between dogs and humans.

This is only a short list of common dog ailments and what you can do to treat them. Make sure, if you see the symptoms of any possible illness in your dog, that you see a veterinarian immediately. Take special care to note symptoms, odd behaviours and possible causes.

For the Ultimate Dog Health Guide, see:

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