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Common health concerns for dogs

While most dogs are usually fit and healthy, they cannot always tell you when something is wrong, so the onus is on you for keeping an eye on your pet and identifying minor ailments before they can become more severe. At the first sign of any health issue consult a veterinary specialist for a professional prognosis as many conditions can be linked to a more serious, underlying problem.

Here are a few common dog ailments which can lead to more severe conditions.

High cholesterol

No-one would ever choose high cholesterol in dogs, but it does happen and is more common than you might imagine. Dogs can suffer from increased fat in their blood in the form of triglycerides and cholesterol – a condition normally referred to as hyperlipidemia. Improvements in a dog’s diet can significantly reduce high cholesterol.

Dental problems

Dental disease is extremely common in dogs and is typically caused by a build-up of bacteria-laden plaque and tartar in your dog’s mouth. If overlooked, it can lead to serious discomfort and damage to the teeth and gums. In serious cases, untreated dental disease can result in the bacteria entering the bloodstream, causing other, more dangerous problems such as heart disease or kidney failure. The key is spotting the condition early and watching for tell-tale signs like bad breath.


Obesity in all pets is a growing problem, yet it’s one of the simplest to avoid. All animals need exercise to maintain fitness levels and prevent putting on weight. In almost all cases, there is a direct correlation between the amount of exercise a dog gets, the amount it eats and the subsequent weight gain of the animal. If left untreated, obesity can lead to other problems like diabetes, orthopedic conditions or heart disease. Unless there are underlying problems, obesity can be treated with a sensible approach to diet and increased exercise.


Just like humans, dogs can suffer various kinds of localized cancer (specific to one area, like a tumor) or generalized cancer (spread throughout the body) and the risks increase with age. Cancer in dogs can manifest itself in many ways including lumps, swelling, sores, discharge, unexplained weight loss or difficulty breathing etc. If your dog is showing any of these conditions or other abnormal signs, you must seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.

Kennel cough

Kennel cough is a respiratory infection and a form of bronchitis, similar to a chesty cough in humans. It is caused by inflammation in a dog’s voice box and windpipe. As the name might suggest, kennel cough is often contracted from spending time around other dogs in an enclosed space, e.g. a kennel or animal shelter. In most cases, kennel cough will reduce over time; however, it’s still best to seek advice from your vet.

Early identification of health problems in dogs is key to a healthy, happy pet. Taking your dog to the vet for a regular check-up will help spot any problems in advance, reducing the chance of more complex problems developing later.

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