Today, the definition of health given by the World Health Organization (WHO) according to which health is a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” can very well apply to our domestic canines as well.
A healthy dog is, of course, free of disease and pain, but it is also a dog that is “well in his head”, that does not suffer from any developmental or behavioural disorders, that lives in harmony with his social group, that meets regularly with other dogs and that is regularly offered activities that allow him to spend his time physically and mentally.
The main health problems of the dog
The dog, like any living being, is unfortunately not spared from health problems. They can thus develop diseases specific to their species as well as diseases that are common with other animals and with humans. Some of these diseases are even transmissible to humans, and we speak of zoonosis. This is notably the case of scabies or ringworm.
As in the case of humans, the dog’s illnesses can originate from an internal dysfunction in the body or be caused by external agents and/or environmental factors.
Dogs can be affected by :
- Viral diseases such as square disease, parvovirosis, Rubarth’s hepatitis, kennel cough, rabies or Aujeszky’s disease (or pseudo-rabies),
- Other infectious diseases caused by bacteria such as pyoderma (or hot spot), cystitis, pyelonephritis, pyometritis or periodontal disease or carried by external parasites of the dog such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis or anaplasmosis,
- Vector-borne diseases caused by protozoa such as giardiosis, piroplasmosis or leishmaniasis,
- Dermatoses and itching most often caused by parasites or fungal infections,
- Diseases related to immune system dysfunction such as allergies and atopy, pemphigus, masticatory muscle myositis, lupus, von Willebrand disease,
- Endocrine diseases such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease or Cushing’s syndrome,
- Gastrointestinal illnesses that manifest themselves notably through diarrhoea and vomiting and whose origins can be varied,
- Various tumour diseases, whether cancerous or not, such as lipomas, warts or cysts,
- Diseases of genetic origin such as essential epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy and various cardiac malformations…
A dog’s health can also be damaged by everyday accidents, injuries of all kinds, poisoning and of course by the aging of his body.
However, we think about it much less, but in the dog, the disease is not only physical. It can also affect the dog’s mental well-being. Yes, a dog can also suffer from “mental illnesses” such as depression. Many behavioural disorders are even linked to underlying anxiety that needs to be treated with behavioural therapy, the canine equivalent of psychotherapy.
Disease and symptom sheets: advice and explanations to help you deal with your dog’s health problems.
The “health” section of doggieforyou.com has over 300 articles in which you will find detailed information on common dog illnesses and symptoms. With no medical jargon and written in a language everyone can understand, they answer your questions and offer advice on how to better care for your pet and how to talk to your veterinarian more easily.
These articles are obviously not designed to provide a diagnosis and never replace the role of the veterinarian, but they will allow you to :
- Better understand what your dog is suffering from,
- More easily detect the first symptoms of a disease in your dog,
- Explain to you what the tests or treatments prescribed by your veterinarian may consist of.
In our articles, we always try to present the conventional treatment solutions available and to open up the field of therapeutic possibilities by evoking the use of complementary and natural medicines such as homeopathy, osteopathy or phytotherapy.
To find the information that interests you, there are several possibilities. You can search by the disease that has been diagnosed to your pet but also do your research according to the symptoms present in your dog.
How to take care of your dog’s health?
There is no “magic formula” to protect your dog from all health problems. Nevertheless, we can put all the chances on our side to try to preserve his good health by focusing on prevention and by following these 3 simple recommendations:
A good diet
The popular saying goes that you dig your grave with your teeth! Well, it may as well apply to our dogs. A balanced diet, made up of quality food adapted to the carnivorous nature of the dog and distributed in quantities adapted to its needs will help maintain and keep its entire organism functioning properly by avoiding nutritional deficiencies or overloads. And with good reason: good nutrition is one of the most important factors in maintaining good health in dogs. To do this properly, choose a good quality industrial food, in the form of kibbles or pastes, or a balanced household diet with the help of a veterinarian. Our feeding section can help you make the right choices and better understand your dog’s nutritional needs. Don’t hesitate to consult it.
Preventive visits to the veterinarian
Even if your dog has no visible disease or symptoms, visit your veterinarian at least once a year for a preventive consultation. This visit can be the occasion to :
- To update his vaccine protection by performing his vaccine booster shots,
- To take stock of the effectiveness of its pest control treatments,
- To detect, at a very early stage, if your dog is not suffering from a possible disease. Most illnesses respond better to treatment if detected early.
- Monitor your dog’s weight and adapt his diet if necessary to his age and needs, which may change over time.
More generally, you can also take the opportunity to ask your veterinarian any questions that pop into your head! You’re sure to leave with valuable advice.
And since a healthy dog is also a dog that is “well in his head”, it is essential to offer him, in addition to his hygienic outings, a real walk every day. Walking has many benefits. It will allow your dog to exercise himself physically, to meet other dogs, to smell new smells and therefore to exercise himself mentally as well. In a word, walking will not only help maintain your dog’s physical health but also his mental health!
Health insurance for your dog: a good idea?
What discourages dog owners from going to the vet is often the cost of the consultation. To get rid of the question of how much money you should spend on your dog’s health, opt for health insurance for your dog! It works on the same principle as mutual health insurance. In exchange for a monthly contribution, you are reimbursed for all or part of the veterinary expenses incurred. This allows you to better control your budget and to be able to cope more easily in case of unforeseen health expenses!