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Dog Health Questions

Dog Health Questions

Got yourself a canine companion for the first time? Well, here are some common dog health questions that are likely to haunt you sometime or the other. Be prepared with the answers as the information may save your beloved pooch a lot of unnecessary pain and discomfort.
Ishani Chatterjee Shukla
Once you've got yourself a dog, it's yours forever whether or not you realize it - at least from its point of view, you are the center of its universe around whom its life revolves from now on. The best way you can return such loyalty and unconditional devotion is by taking good care of your canine companion (s). Here are some frequently asked dog health questions that you may confront sometime or the other. Knowing the answers to these canine healthcare questions would equip you with the necessary information and knowledge about how to deal with your canine's ailments and what are the necessary steps that you should take to keep your dog fit and frolicking.

Common Questions About Dog Health Answered

Check out these questions and answers to know how to keep your dog healthy.

Q-1. My dog is constipated. Can I give him laxatives meant for human consumption?
A-1. No! Leave alone laxatives, no human medication should be administered to dogs WITHOUT CONSULTING A VET. This is because your dog and you share very different physiologies and what works on you may actually harm your dog! There could be a number of reasons why your dog is suffering from constipation including dehydration, ingestion of indigestible objects, dietary issues, stress, etc. The best way to treat dog constipation is to diagnose and treat the root cause of constipation. For short time relief, you may use home remedies like vegetable oil, sunflower oil or olive oil to ease bowel movement but avoid using castor oil. You can also try introducing more fiber in your dog's diet and make sure he/ she drinks a lot of water.

Q-2. My dog is passing loose stools for the last two weeks but otherwise he seems to be fine. He is eating and drinking properly and shows no other signs of physical or behavioral discomfort. Does he have diarrhea? Should I be concerned?
A-2. You should certainly be concerned! If he's eating and drinking properly and is not showing any sign dog illnesses, weakness or discomfort, he may not be having diarrhea but passing loose stools for such a long time calls for medical attention. Also, if loose stools persist for more than 3-4 days, your dog faces the risk of dehydration and other nutritional deficiencies. Most of the time, if your dog has changed homes frequently before you got him, chances are that he is still getting used to his new surroundings. This may cause him to pass loose stools and have other minor digestive issue but anything that lasts for more than 5 days should be taken seriously.

Q-3. What are the most common causes behind canine diarrhea and what steps should be taken to relieve the symptoms?
A-3. Most common causes of diarrhea in dogs are protozoan infections caused by micro organisms like giardia and coccidia. As a dog grows older, it may become immune to coccidia infection. Both parasitic protozoa nest inside the intestinal tract of the canine host. Protozoan infection can be contacted by consuming contaminated food or water or by frequenting insanitary locations. Once diarrhea is suspected, the dog should immediately be taken to a vet for further diagnosis and canine diarrhea treatment to avoid the ill-effects of this bowel disorder.

Q-4. Can dogs catch avian flu?
A-4. The answer is YES. Any mammal which comes in contact with infected birds or infected bird carcasses run a risk of contacting bird flu. However, since dogs don't usually chase birds, either playfully or to hunt them (other than, of course, dogs that are trained for hunting), the possibility of them contacting bird flu is lower than, say, humans who consume bird flesh or felines that have a habit of chasing birds and messing around with bird carcasses.

Q-5. How do I know if my dog has ringworm?
A-5. The most common signs that indicate towards a possibility of your dog having contacted ringworm is the appearance of reddish spots on the skin around the ribs, resembling plum-colored bruises. The discolored patches have a darker hue around the fringes and are lighter in color along the center. The center may be slightly raised. This is a fungal infection and not a worm infestation as understood by many.

Q-6. Is blood in urine a sign of urinary tract infection in dogs? What causes it and what are the symptoms?
A-6. Presence of blood in urine may indicate urinary tract infection. However, presence of blood cells in urine may be indicative of bladder or kidney infections as well. Besides blood, the presence of pus and crystals in urine accompanied by pain or discomfort along the lower back of the dog may also be indicative of infections of the bladder, kidney or urinary tract. Other causes behind your dog passing bloody urine may be bladder stone, Lyme disease and prostate disease. The most significant sign that your dog is suffering from UTI is frequent urination or difficulty in urinating.

Q-7. What causes incontinence in dogs?
A-7. Most common dog incontinence causes include infections or abnormalities of the urethra, bladder or disorders of the nerves that regulate bladder function. Female dogs that have been neutered may experience leakage during resting due to a condition known as Hormone Responsive Incontinence.

Q-8. What causes boils in dogs?
A-8. Boils in dogs are mostly caused by bacterial infiltration of the hair follicles. This can be treated at home by pressing out and cleaning the pus and wiping the site with sterilized cloth dipped in a warm water solution containing vet-prescribed anti bacterial agent. This would reduce the swelling as well as arrest the bacterial growth. Also, make sure your dog doesn't lick the wound frequently as it would hamper the healing process. You may consider getting your dog an Elizabethan collar to keep him from licking the site.

Q-9. What causes hair loss in dogs? What does it mean when hair loss is accompanied by darkening of the skin?
A-9. A dog may experience abnormal loss of hair due to various reasons, chief being skin diseases, dog mange and hormonal abnormalities such as hyperthyroidism and Growth Hormone Responsive Alopecia. If such hair loss is accompanied by darkening of the skin, it could be indicative of Cushing's disease, Black Skin Disease or a hereditary disorder. Whatever the case, a vet should be consulted immediately to diagnose and treat the condition as soon as possible.

Q-10. If a dog vomits worms, does that mean he is infested?
A-10. Like hell he is! If the dog is an adult and it vomits dog worms, the infestation could be quite severe. However, it is not unusual for pups to vomit worms even when the infestation is slight.

Those were some most frequently asked dog health questions. Doing some basic research on dog behavior and dog care always helps, when it comes to knowing the answers to some basic dog-health related questions. The bottom line is to take full responsibility of keeping your beloved pooch clean, healthy and happy so that both of you can share a lifetime of companionship and fun. Help your canine friend keep its woofs upbeat!