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Common Dog Ailments and Remedies You Can Use to Solve Them
If you’re a dog owner, the last thing you want to think about is your canine companion getting sick or injured somehow. Unfortunately, you already undoubtedly know that things happen from time to time. No matter how much you take care of your pooch and practice preventative health and wellness, you can’t always prevent certain illnesses, bug bites, injuries, or other seemingly “random” ailments.
While some situations call for medical attention and a trip to the vet, that isn’t always the case. Some of the more common ailments your dog might face can be treated at home. Other problems might need immediate attention before you can even make it to your dog’s veterinarian.
So, what are some of the most common dog ailments? What can you do, as a pet owner, to make sure your dog stays healthy and happy even if they’re not feeling great?
Eating Something They Shouldn’t
One of the most common problems dogs face is poisoning from eating something they shouldn’t. That doesn’t always mean they’re getting into actual poison. Rather, it usually means they’ve eaten something that can seriously disrupt their systems, even if it doesn’t seem harmful. Some of the most common culprits within the home include:
- Poisonous plants
- Household cleaners
- Heavy metals
Even if your dog digs around in the trash and eats certain fruits and vegetables, they could get incredibly sick. Dogs digest things differently than humans. So, according to the American Kennel Club, things like avocado, cherries, and even grapes are considered toxic to dogs.
So, what can you do if your dog does get into something they shouldn’t?
First, it’s important to recognize any major warning signs that your dog is sick. One of the most obvious signs is stomach troubles. If they are vomiting or have diarrhea, it could be because they ate something that is disagreeing with them. Having extra poop bags on hand can be useful if you have extra “messes” to clean up! Symptoms like a fever or even neurological issues like seizures and stumbling could be signs of poisoning.
In these cases, calling your dog’s vet should be the first thing you do. But, depending on what they ate and how severely it could harm them, you need to have a plan of action in place to take care of them right away.
First, put your pup in a safe space where they can’t ingest anything else, and they are away from your other animals. You might think the best thing to do is to cause your pet to throw up, but that isn’t always the case. Some items could cause damage to your dog’s esophagus. Wait to get confirmation from the vet before inducing vomiting. Additionally, try to keep your dog from licking or grooming itself, since the substance may have gotten on its fur or paws.
Even if your pet doesn’t ingest something poisonous, they could still have problems later on from eating anything from tennis balls to old socks. Some items can get lodged in the intestines and may need surgery.
Keeping your dog comfortable and secure at home is the best option until you get more advice from your vet.
Cuts, Bites, and Sores
Cuts, bites, and sores are just as common for dogs as they are for humans. Thankfully, in many cases, you can treat them the same way. If your dog gets cut, one of the easiest ways to help them is to use a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to clean the affected area. It’s very easy for a cut on your dog to get infected, so cleaning it several times a day is usually necessary.
Additionally, you might want to rub a water-based lubricant around the cut itself to “seal” it in case your dog tries to lick it. Gently clipping the fur around your dog’s wound can also help to keep the area clean and reduce the risk of infection.
If your dog’s wound is more than superficial or it looks as though it’s getting infected, contact their veterinarian immediately.
Bug bites are a bit different. Most of the time, you probably won’t see a bug biting your dog. But, you’ll notice a mark from it later. Or, maybe your dog is experiencing signs of irritation or pain. If your dog does experience a bite or sting, try these tips to keep them comfortable:
- Look for any stingers left behind by bees or wasps. They can be removed safely with a credit card.
- Use an ice pack wrapped in a towel to reduce swelling around the affected area.
- Try a hydrocortisone cream specifically meant for dogs to soothe any itching or inflammation.
In most cases, if you take proper care of a cut or bug bite, you may not need to take your dog to the vet. However, you should immediately get them medical attention if you notice any sudden changes in their health or behavior. The situation becomes an emergency if your dog starts vomiting, trembling, or has trouble breathing.
For Dogs with Pre-Existing Conditions …
If you find that your dog keeps getting sick or just isn’t themselves, it could be time to seek medical help. Unfortunately, not all home remedies work on every breed of dog. NSAIDs might work for larger breeds, but smaller breeds like beagles may benefit from gentler relief like Just like people, dog breeds are all different and respond to treatments in their own ways. So, if your dog already has a condition, they may not respond as well to some of these tips. Or, they might be dealing with something more serious that requires the attention of a veterinarian.
If you do find that your dog has an underlying condition, try to research different things you can do to make their lives easier and healthier. Pre-existing conditions include things like:
While they might need medical help for these conditions, things like walking them every day can help with everything from their mood and happiness to balancing their blood sugar — it can also help you. You might also look into putting them on a special diet that can help to regularly manage their condition and keep them healthier.
You want the best care for your dogs, and that’s completely understandable. They’re a part of the family! While staying in close contact with a vet you trust is important for any pet owner, make sure you always have a plan in place at home for common ailments that might affect your dog. When you can jump into action quickly, your dog has a better chance of getting back on their feet faster.