Common Diseases in Dog

Common Diseases In Dogs

We compiled for you a partial list of the many common diseases in dogs. But be aware that you should always first consult your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and treatment options for each of diseases that will be covered in this article.

Firstly – Check Out The Infographic

Dog Diseases

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Allergic Dermatitis

Allergies do not  only affect people, your dog can also suffer from wide array of allergies. Allergens include everyday substances, even food, so you must be careful when you notice some of the symptoms.

Common Causes

  • Allergies to food or environmental factors such as mold, pollen, dust
  • Bacterial infection
  • External parasites such as fleas, mites, lice
  • Hormonal imbalances

Symptoms of Dog Allergic Dermatitis

  • Flaking skin, redness, signs of irritation
  • Too dry skin
  • Too oily skin
  • Hair loss (common is partial loss)


Skin conditions can be often be helped with the right nutrition even if the cause is not dietary. Here is the list of food that can reduce severe dermatitis reaction.

  • High quality protein such as venison or duck can also help reduce the reaction
  • Foods containing high levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids can help nourish and protect your dog’s skin
  • Vitamin E and other antioxidants help to maintain your dog’s immune system


Arthritis is the term used for abnormal changes in a joint that occur when cartilage is worn away faster than it can be replaced. Cartilage is a cushion that acts as a cushion to protect the bones. Joints become swollen and painful when it wears away.

Common Causes

  • Age - cartilage degenerates and many senior dogs suffer from arthritis to some degree
  • Breed - large breeds are more prone to arthritis
  • Excess weight puts extra stress on the joints
  • Accidents can cause stress or trauma to the joints
  • Infection - some infections can lead to the destruction of cartilage and joint tissue
Canine Arthritis

Symptoms of Dog Arthritis

  • Difficulty moving
  • Reluctance to walk, run, or jump
  • Flinching when the area is touched

Some symptoms of arthritis are similar to those of other serious conditions. Make sure you consult your veterinarian.

Management And Treatment

  • Weight management
  • Exercise
  • Massage and physical therapy
  • Elevate bowls for larger breeds
  • A variety of supplements and medicines

Brain Aging

The brain is affected by the aging process just like the rest of the body. Damage to the brain’s cells can lead to changes in your dog’s behavior and alertness.

Half of all dogs over 8 years old will have some signs of brain aging. Your dog may begin to act differently as he ages.

Common Causes

Many experts agree that brain aging in dogs is primarily caused by free radicals. Some free radicals may be caused by the environmental conditions, but many are produced by the body’s own metabolism.

  • The brain’s high lipid content, which is a prime target for free radicals
  • The brain’s high demand for oxygen
  • Nervous system tissue is especially vulnerable to attack by free radicals


Changes in brain function occur very slowly. You may notice small differences in behavior, or you may not notice them until they start to interfere with your dog’s everyday life.

  • Bathroom accidents in the house
  • Doesn’t greet family members
  • Doesn’t want attention/petting
  • Doesn’t recognize familiar places or people
  • Doesn’t respond to verbal cues
  • Sleeps less at night and more during the day
  • Seems lost or confused in the house or yard
  • Paces or wanders
  • Stares at walls or into space

You can’t stop free radicals from being produced in your dog’s body. Antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins may counteract the damage they cause.

As your dog ages, continue to feed him foods rich in essential nutrients antioxidants to keep him active and alert. Older dogs can continue to have a high quality of life if they receive the nutrition they need.


Dogs can develop cancer, just like people. One of the most common cancers in dogs is osteosarcoma or bone cancer. Also common are lymphoma, a tumor of the lymph nodes, skin cancers, breast cancer, soft tissue sarcomas, oral cancers.

Common Causes

  • Age - Dogs live longer than they used to
  • Breed - Certain cancers are more common in certain breeds.
  • Gender - Some cancers are more common in one sex than the other
  • Environment - Just like us, exposure to things like pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals in food may contribute to cancer


  • Abnormal swelling that grows or persists
  • Persistent sores
  • Major change in appetite
  • Extreme or rapid weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing or eating
  • Offensive odor
  • Bleeding or discharge from the mouth, nose, ears or anus
  • No interest in exercise
  • Loss of stamina
  • Persistent lameness or stiffness
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Difficulty going to the bathroom


Unfortunately as it turns out there is no universal cure for human cancer yet, same can apply to our pets. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy can ease up or in some cases eradicate cancer.


Nutrition can help extending life for dogs undergoing cancer treatment and improve their quality of life. Increasing fatty acids, protein, and fat helps meet a dog's additional energy requirements during recovery from treatment.

Dental Diseases In Dogs

Bad breath in your dog is not just annoying. It could be a sign of trouble such as gingivitis or periodontal disease. Plaque, a colorless film on your dog's teeth (and yours), causes gum disease and halitosis.

Plaque causes a buildup of tartar and then you have:

​Common Dental Problems In Dogs

  • Gingivitis - swelling, redness, and inflammation of the gums, which can lead to:
  • Periodontal Disease - destroys the gums and tissue that support his teeth


  • Your dog’s vet will give her an oral checkup on each visit. You can schedule regular dental cleanings with your dog’s vet. You can buy special treats to help clean her teeth.
  • The best solution is to prevent dental problems by learning to brush her teeth weekly when she is a puppy.
Yorkshire Brushing Teeth

Developmental Growth Disorders In Puppies

These disorders can be a result of genetic, environmental, or nutritional factors. You can greatly reduce your puppy’s chances of developing a growth disorder if you start him out with good nutrition and give him veterinary care from the beginning.

Growth Disorders

  • Abnormal posture
  • Bowed legs
  • Severe obesity
  • Painful joints
  • Muscle wasting
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Difficulty walking

Risk Factors For Growth Disorders

If your puppy grows too fast, he may develop some of those symptoms. Some are more common with certain breeds.

Large or giant breeds are at greatest risk for growth disorders. Some of the breeds that are prone to this conditions are:

Example of Large Dog Breeds
  • German Shepherd
  • Rottweiler
  • ​Golden Retriever
  • ​English Mastiff
  • ​American Akita
  • ​Dalmatian
  • Irish Setter


Feeding him the right food in the right way is essential to your puppy’s healthy development.

  • Dividing the daily food amount into three servings until 6 months
  • Feed on a schedule

Growth disorders are easier to prevent than to treat. For large and giant breeds, veterinarians often recommend food with lower calcium and energy. Small and medium breeds do well with a properly balanced growth formula.

Diabetes Mellitus

Just like in humans, diabetes in dogs is serious, but manageable.

Risk Factors

  • Obesity
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Sex - females are twice as likely to develop diabetes
  • Poor nutrition
  • Hormonal abnormalities
  • Stress

Causes And Symptoms Of Dog Diabetes

Diabetes is usually caused by damage to the pancreas whereby it does not produce the proper amount of insulin to control your dog’s sugar levels.

Diabetes in Dogs


  • Weakness
  • Thirstiness
  • Frequent urination
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Depression
  • Abdominal pain


There is no cure for diabetes mellitus, but it can be managed with insulin, exercise, and proper nutrition. Fiber is important. Moderate to high levels of fiber lower blood glucose levels and insulin requirements, and fiber makes the body more responsive to insulin.

Consistency with feeding and food is essential.


Fleas are not a disease but they are a common problem for dogs and disease carrier.

They can cause anemia in puppies, which can be life-threatening. Dogs can become allergic to the saliva of fleas and then just one bite can cause a reaction. The sores from scratching can lead to skin infections.

Fleas Can Cause Numerous Diseases

Fleas also spread parasites such as tapeworms that can easily cause mess in your dog stomach and colons.

Symptoms Of Fleas

  • Flea dirt in the dogs coat
  • Flea eggs in the dog’s environment
  • Excessive scratching, licking
  • Hair loss
  • Scabs
  • Tapeworms

Treatment And Prevention

There are many very easy to use flea treatments now and your vet can recommend the best one for your dog.

Another way of protecting your dog is to prevent fleas and ticks by treating common grounds. For example you can treat your backyard and living room ​with one of remedies.

Merial Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control

  • Perfect for Large Breeds
  • 20 Years of tradition
  • Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Fleas can get immune to it
  • Take caution with smaller breeds

K9 Advantix II Flea and Tick Control Treatment 

Solution for Fleas and Ticks
  • Kills adult fleas and ticks
  • Perfect for Lyme disease prevention
  • Not so good for long haired dogs

Vet's Best - Flea & Tick Home Spray

Home Spray for Flea and Tick Treatment
  • Great for Small homes and aparments
  • Non-staining formula
  • Natural ingredients
  • Not so good for larger spaces

Food Allergies And Food Intolerance

Food reactions are usually associated with protein sources – probably the meat in your dog's food. As we said earlier dog can be allergic to some foods.

It may take months or years for your dog to develop an allergic response to a particular food. Once he's allergic, though, he will almost always have a bad reaction to that food.

Dog Allergies

The most common allergens are beef, dairy, wheat, egg, chicken, lamb, soy, pork, rabbit, and fish. And, most dogs are usually allergic to more than one thing.


  • Frequent vomiting
  • Irritated skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Poor coat condition
  • Hair loss


  • Try a food with a different protein source.
  • Take dog food elimination test
  • Take your dog to nearby veterinarian

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases and disorders affect your dog's intestines and stomach causing pain and other problems.

Symptoms Of Gastrointestinal Disorders

  • Weakness
  • Regurgitation
  • Vomiting
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Types Of GI Disorders

  • Colitis - An acute or chronic inflammation of the membrane that lines the colon. Most frequently caused by a change in food, allergies including food allergies, tumors or polyps, whipworms (a parasite), swallowed foreign objects, and some other diseases.
  • Constipation - Usually caused by aging; eating hair, bones or other foreign objects; insufficient fiber and water intake; trauma or fractures, tumors; prostate disease; large bowel nervous disorders; spinal cord disease; metabolic or endocrine disorders; and debilitation.
  • Diarrhea - Caused by stress, eating food from the garbage, infections, internal parasites, a food change, table scraps or bad snacks, or body organ dysfunction.
  • Gastroenteritis – Infection or inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, primarily the intestines and stomach. Causes may include stress, swallowing foreign objects, eating toxic plants, eating rancid or spoiled food, internal parasites, food allergies, and disease.
  • Pancreatitis - An inflammation or infection of the pancreas. Cause is frequently unknown. Potential causes are foods high in fat, people food scraps, infections, disease, or trauma.


Your dog's food can have a major impact on her GI tract health. Highly digestible food can prevent irritation to sensitive intestines and stomachs.

Lots of fiber combined with moderate fat levels in your dog's food helps to support proper intestinal function for your dog. Long-term nutritional management of the disorder may be required.

As last resort antibiotics may help if the cause is an infection.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is a manageable condition. Treatment can’t reverse heart disease but your dog can live a relatively normal life.


Aging is the primary cause of heart conditions in dogs. Other factors such as heartworm can also lead to heart disease.

Heart Diseases in Dogs

Worth mentioning is that some larger breeds are prone to heart conditions.​


If your dog has any of the following symptoms, take him to his vet for an accurate diagnosis. These symptoms are common in other diseases so you need an expert to pinpoint exact one.

  • A low-pitched cough that sometimes leads to gagging
  • Noticeable weight gain or loss
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Breathing difficulties that include shortness of breath
  • Swelling in the abdomen


As with people, a low-sodium food that will help reduce fluid build-up and make it easier for the heart to work effectively is recommended.


Dogs can contract many infections from viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, internal and external parasites. A few of them are listed below.


Heartworm, or dog heartworm (dirofilaria immitis) is a parasitic roundworm that is spread from host to host through mosquito bites. It is a small thread-like worm that travels through the dog’s bloodstream and lives in the heart and the lung arteries as an adult.

Heartworm infection may result in serious disease, and death is typically a result of congestive heart failure.

Symptoms rarely appear until six months after infection. Some dogs will never show signs of infection. Those that do may cough, especially during exercise, and tire easily during exercise.

Treatment is complex and your dog’s condition needs to be stabilized before that can begin.

In cases where adult worms have built up in the heart without treatment, there will be severe weight loss, fainting, coughing up blood and, finally, death.

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is an infectious respiratory disease caused by the bacteria bordetella bronchiseptica or by one of several viruses.

Common Kennel Cough Symptoms

It most commonly occurs in dogs in close confinement and is spread by sneezing or coughing. It can lead to more serious conditions such as pneumonia.

Symptoms include sneezing, a harsh dry cough, snorting, retching, gagging, vomiting, fever. Treatment includes antibiotics as well as medicines to treat the symptoms. Any dog going to a high-risk environment should be vaccinated.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted by the bite of ticks and only causes symptoms in a small percentage of affected dogs.

When infection leads to disease in dogs, the dominant symptom is recurrent joint warmness and pain, lameness due to inflammation of the joints, possibly “shifting-leg lameness.” The dog may also be depressed and have a poor appetite.

Other symptoms are a stiff walk with an arched back, sensitivity to touch, difficulty breathing, fever.

Diagnosis is difficult because many of the symptoms are common with other problems.

Treatment for less severe cases includes antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. 

Serious complications include kidney damage and (rarely) heart or nervous system disease.

Instances of Lyme-related kidney disease appears to be more prevalent in Golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, Bernese Mountain dogs, and Shetland sheepdogs.

Here is map of Lyme Diseases Cases in states from CDC.​

CDC Lyme Disease Map


There are two types of mange in dogs. Demodectic mange is caused by a parasitic mite called demodex that lives in a dog’s hair follicles. Symptoms of this mange include redness, hair loss, and scaling. It is not contagious to humans.

Sarcoptic mange is caused by sarcoptes scabiei canis, a parasitic mite that burrows into the skins and causes scabies. Symptoms include intense itching and scaling, and is contagious to humans.

Treatment includes scabicidal shampoos and dips. The dog should be quarantined from humans and other pets for the duration.

Canine Parvovirus

Parvo, or canine parvovirus, is a gastrointestinal infection caused by a virus and mainly affects puppies. If untreated, fatality can be as high as 91%.

Parvo is highly contagious and is spread from dog to dog by contact with feces.

Vaccines can prevent this infection. Dogs should be vaccinated at early age, it can be costly but your dog will be safe from parvovirus for rest of his life.

Parvovirus in Canines

Signs of the disease may include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea (usually bloody), and fever. Diarrhea and vomiting result in dehydration, and secondary infections can occur as a result of the weakened immune system. The intestinal lining is compromised, leading to anemia endotoxemia. Any or all of these factors can lead to shock and death.

Treatment usually involves extensive hospitalization, due to severe dehydration and damage to the intestines and bone marrow.


Rabies (hydrophobia) is a viral disease that causes acute inflammation of the brain and can affect any mammal. It is fatal and can spread from dogs to humans. It is transmitted primarily through bites.

Symptoms include confusion, violent movements, uncontrolled excitement, fear of water, an inability to move parts of the body, and loss of consciousness. It usually takes one to three months for symptoms to show up.

Humans can survive the disease if treated with a vaccination before the symptoms appear.

Vaccination of dogs for rabies is commonly required by law.

Kidney Disease

The kidneys remove waste from the bloodstream and regulate fluids in the body. If the kidneys can’t do their job, your dog could die. If your dog is diagnosed with kidney disease, your veterinarian may describe it as either acute or chronic.


  • Poor coat appearance
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination or no urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Depression

Common Causes

Acute, or sudden, kidney disorders:

  • Severe dehydration
  • Blood loss
  • Shock
  • Drugs and poisons
  • Infection, trauma or surgical stress

Chronic, or long-term, kidney disease may result from the above factors, plus some combination of:

  • Breed and hereditary tendencies
  • Nutritional factors
  • Immune system defects

Unfortunately, the symptoms of kidney disease usually do not appear until more than two-thirds of kidney function has been lost. Kidney failure can’t be reversed.

Liver Disease

The liver filters toxins from the bloodstream, among other important functions. Because it works to rid the body of so many substances, damage could come from many different sources.

Common Causes

  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Toxic or poisonous substances your dog has eaten
  • Altered blood flow to the liver due to heart disease
  • Congenital abnormality
  • Breed - certain breeds have difficulty excreting copper


  • Lack of energy or depression
  • Loss in appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin, whites of the eyes, gums)
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Pale gums
  • Buildup of fluid in the abdomen that could be mistaken for sudden weight gain.

Early diagnosis can allow for treatment through diet.


More than 50% of the pets in the U.S. are overweight. Obesity in dogs can cause many health problems that can limit your dog’s play time and lead to depression.

  • Arthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Diabetes
  • Bladder cancer
Fat Puppy Lying
  • Your dog’s doctor will weigh him at every checkup. You can do a quick check yourself by placing your hands on his side. Are his ribs difficult to feel?

Common Causes

  • Overfeeding/overeating - dogs shouldn’t have unlimited access to food
  • Feeding habits - Table scraps and other people food can lead to obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Age - Older dogs are less active and prone to weight gain
  • Gender - Female dogs are more likely to become overweight
  • Neutering - Spayed or neutered dogs are twice as likely to become obese due to a more sedentary lifestyle (but there are several important health reasons why pets should be neutered or spayed)

Nutrition For Obese Dogs

Your dog will need more exercise to lose weight. More important, your veterinarian can suggest or prescribe a weight loss dog food – low fat and low calorie - to help your dog stay fit. Fiber is an important ingredient, as it will help your dog feel full while eating less.

Your dog may now be prone to weight gain will need an ongoing weight-management plan and regular weigh-ins.

Urinary Tract Disease

Feeding your dog a poor diet can cause urolithiasis, a urinary tract disease in which crystals or stones form the urinary tract and cause pain, irritation, and possibly blockage. This is similar to kidney stones in people.


  • Lack of energy or interest in normal activities
  • Reduced appetite
  • Urinating frequently
  • Straining to urinate
  • Blood in the urine

Urinal Problems in Dogs

Causes And Risk Factors

There is no single cause of urinary tract disease.

  • Dogs between the ages of 2 and 10 are most susceptible
  • Males and females get the disease with equal frequency, but are more likely to have the life-threatening obstruction from the crystals or stones
  • Small breeds dogs are more susceptible
  • Inability to urinate frequently (a confined indoor dog)
  • Foods high in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein have been linked to stone formation.


Feeding your dog a food with restricted amounts of those minerals may assist in dissolving some types of formations in the urinary tract.

Any dog that has been treated for urinary tract disease may develop it again. Continue to management the disease through nutrition and watch closely for recurring symptoms.

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