The 10 Most Common Ailments in Dogs

February 13, 2017

By Linda Cole

As responsible pet owners, we try to provide our dogs with high quality pet food like CANIDAE, and make sure they have plenty of exercise. We socialize them, and teach them basic commands so they are well mannered. But no matter how attentive we are to their wellbeing, our canine friends can still develop some health issues. Here are the 10 most common ailments of dogs.


Located in the neck, the thyroid gland regulates metabolism by producing a hormone called thyroxine. When the thyroid doesn’t work properly, there is a shortage of thyroxine which results in hypothyroidism. It can be found in purebred dogs of any breed, but is more often seen in Dachshunds, Cocker Spaniels, Irish Setters, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers and Golden Retrievers. Symptoms include unexplained weight gain, weakness, slower than normal heart rate, ear and toenail infections, skin infections, lethargy, cold intolerance, hair loss, dull thin coat, excessive skin flaking, patches of black skin, excessive shedding and inadequate hair growth.

Bladder Infections

It’s possible for bacteria to enter the body by passing through the rectum or genital tract to the bladder. A bladder infection can affect any dog, but females are more at risk than males. The infection irritates the bladder walls which causes the dog to feel the urge to go even though the bladder contains a small amount of urine. Dogs with diabetes or those who take medications that depress the immune system have a higher risk of getting a bladder infection.

Symptoms include passing small amounts of urine with a hint of blood, repeated squatting with no results, straining to go and incontinence. This common ailment can cause bladder stones or crystals to form in the urine, which can block the flow of urine from the body. This can be life-threatening and is a medical emergency. Symptoms that indicate stones or crystals include repeated straining to go with very little or no elimination and a painful, swollen abdomen.


Osteoarthritis is a noninflammatory degenerative disease caused by joint trauma, birth defects, complications after orthopedic surgery, old age, obesity or poor nutrition. Symptoms include lameness, decreased activity, swollen joints and stiffness when walking that worsens after exercising. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack tissues around joints. Symptoms include mild to severe lameness that might shift from leg to leg, painful and swollen joints. Sometimes a dog is struck with sudden lameness accompanied by a fever and lack of appetite.

Eye Infections

Allergies, jaundice, conjunctivitis and fungal infections are common causes of eye infections. Symptoms include redness in the eye, discharge, swollen eyelids, rubbing or scratching at the affected eye. An infection in the eye can become severe and cause irreversible vision issues.

Upset Stomach

The underlying cause for an upset tummy could be irritable bowel syndrome, parasites, ingesting something a dog shouldn’t have, eating too fast or too much at one time, stress or an allergic reaction to something he ate. A dog with smelly breath, rumbling stomach, pain, bloating, fever, excessive vomiting or diarrhea that may contain blood should be seen by a vet immediately. Lack of appetite is also a symptom to pay attention to.


This is an inflammation in the small intestines caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, allergies, eating non-food items like socks or tinsel from a Christmas tree, as well as other potential causes. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, stomach issues, weight loss, fever and black, tarry looking feces.

Skin Allergies

If you notice your dog scratching and chewing all the time and he has hair loss or a thin coat in places, it’s possible he’s dealing with a skin allergy caused by fleas, food or other allergens in his environment.

Yeast Infection/Ear Mites

Excessive ear scratching or rubbing the ears against the carpet or chair, head shaking, redness and bleeding, pain around the ears, a waxy reddish-brown buildup around the ears and a foul odor are signs of a yeast infection. Head shaking, ear scratching, dried blood inside the ear and a buildup of what looks like coffee grounds are an indication of ear mites. Ear mites are also very contagious to other household pets. Both ear infections can damage the ear canal and eardrum resulting in a permanent loss of hearing, so they need to be taken care of as soon as possible.


A common ailment in dogs, pyoderma is a skin infection caused by a breakdown of the immune system that allows bacteria to grow on the skin unchecked. Symptoms can include itching, redness, rash, hair loss, foul odor, crusts or scales on the skin, pus-filled blisters or sores that ooze.


A sprain can be mild to severe. If your dog suddenly begins to limp around and has tenderness or pain around a leg or hip, he may have a sprain. Have your vet examine your dog to make sure it isn’t something more serious.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Share this: