As a pet owner, ensuring the safety and good health of our furry friends is always on our minds. This can be especially challenging if you are a first time owner of a dog with no prior experience. Thankfully, most common dog ailments are quite easy to medicate and take care of. In today’s article, we have a look at how first-time pet owners can treat common dog ailments, so read on to find out more!
- Common Worms
Chances are, your dog will encounter common worms at least once in its lifetime. Some of these common worms include tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms and whipworms. Left untreated, these worms can cause an array of symptoms that include low energy, diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss and a pot-bellied appearance. Thankfully, getting rid of worms is as simple as purchasing some dog worming tablets at your local vet or pet store. These pills are designed to kill common worms and restore your pet’s health within a matter of days.
Obesity in dogs may not seem like a common illness but is something that can be quite detrimental for your pet in the long run. In order to check if your dog is overweight, you can choose to either weigh it or run your hands over its ribcage. If you can’t feel its ribs, that may be an indication of excess weight on your dog. The best way to reverse this is to walk your dog more often, ensure that it engages in regular physical activity and provide a high quality, calorie-controlled diet instead of cheap supermarket pet food options.
- Fleas and Ticks
Everyone dreads finding a flea or tick on their dog. In fact, the presence of fleas or ticks can be as stressful for humans as it is for your furry friend. If you think your dog might have fleas, the best way to check is to use a flea comb or have your dog stand on a piece of white paper. Whilst your dog is standing on the paper, comb its coat and check if there are any black droppings that fall out of it. This is a sign of flea dirt and almost a certain guarantee that your dog has fleas.
Your dog may also scratch excessively and experience a low mood if it is infested with fleas. The easiest way to rid your dog’s coat of fleas and ticks is to give it a bath with flea shampoo, followed by applying a topical flea treatment which you can purchase at pet stores and vet clinics. Don’t forget to give your house a good clean as fleas may reside on furniture or even remain dormant for months.
Arthritis can prove to be an issue if you have adopted a senior dog. Almost 1 in 5 older dogs will experience arthritis at some point in their lives. Signs of arthritis include slowed movement and a significant reduction in physical activity. You can help your dog by giving it regular exercise, controlling its weight and administering anti-arthritic drugs which your local vet will be able to prescribe to you. Most dogs don’t look visibly affected by arthritis but do remember that it can be an incredibly painful experience for your furry friend.
- Itchy Skin
Most dogs scratch on occasion, but if you notice that your dog has been scratching excessively and there are no signs of fleas or ticks, chances are it may be suffering from a food allergy. The most common dog food allergies include corn, wheat, and soy that is found in many commercial pet foods. The best way to treat your dog’s food allergy is to go back to basics and feed it high-quality pet food that is free from the above-mentioned ingredients. You could even prepare your own dog food with low allergen options such as lamb and rice. If this doesn’t rid your dog of its pesky itch, a visit to the vet should be in order as this may be a sign of a bacterial or yeast infection.
- Kennel Cough
Lastly, let’s look at kennel cough. This is the dog equivalent of the flu and is commonly seen amongst dogs who have been at shelters, pet stores or pet hotels. Unfortunately, it is something that is hard to avoid and the best way to take care of your pet is to give them rest and plenty of good food and water. If your dog doesn’t seem to be getting better, a visit to the vet for some antibiotics is highly recommended.
Experiencing a pet that is unwell can often be a scary time for new pet owners. However, with a little insight and experience, you will find that handling common dog ailments isn’t too much of a stressful experience. As always, if you are unsure about anything, we highly recommend visiting your local vet just to be safe. All the best!