You didn’t name him “Blue” for nothing! It seems like every time you turn around, your pooch has a thorn in his paw, or an infection in his eye. From causes to treatments, peruse the list below of common ailments suffered by dogs.

Obesity: Unfortunately this is one of the most common physical struggles animals face. Over 50% of domestic pets in America are obese. When a dog does not receive sufficient exercise, and has an unrestricted diet, or eats more than he burns, he will often suffer from obesity-related diseases.  If this health concern continues unchecked, the pup might become susceptible to canine diabetes, arthritis, hip dysplasia and respiratory problems. The best way to fight obesity is to watch portion control, monitor treats, and make sure your pet pal gets plenty of exercise.

Allergies: Skin allergies seem to be the most frequent problems dogs face. This could be caused from anything like strong shampoo, dry skin, mold, grasses, pollens, etc. The irritation should be combated by changing out the shampoos for hypoallergenic options, washing a dog bed in fragrance-free detergent, keeping your dog away from allergen-trapping carpets,  keeping windows closed and air purified, etc. Dogs can also benefit from hypoallergenic dog food blends which promote good digestion and healthy living.

Fleas, Ticks & Worms: These parasites seem to assail dogs fairly often both internally and externally.  Whether it is an internal presence of worms in the stomach, intestines or heart, or a bug infestation on the surface;  dogs suffer greatly from parasites. Fleas can cause hair loss and skin agitation;  ticks can cause Lyme disease, infections and fevers;  and worms (whether roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and heartworms) can not only irritate, cause digestion issues, but also prove fatal in some cases. Fleas can be treated by flea collars, shampoos, ingested flea killers, flea combs, flea sprays, etc. Ticks can be removed from the coat, and in most cases worms can be eradicated.  In every case, be sure that your dog visits the veterinarian to determine what medication ought to be applied for treatments.

Arthritis: Like humans, many dogs seem to struggle with joint pain, swelling and soreness as they proceed through the aging process. This can be due to obesity, dislocation, muscle or ligament tearing and injury, or natural cartilage erosion.  They will indicate signs of stiffness, limping, hesitancy with running or jumping, and will display signs of general pain. Arthritic irritation may be alleviated through giving your dog consistent balanced forms of low-impact exercise, coupled with a healthy diet of quality dog food.  The pain can be lessened by pain killers, cartilage-strengthening supplements, and weight loss.

Digestion Discomfort: This ailment might manifest itself through diarrhea, vomiting, frequent gas, unusual stool, or strange behaviors with food.  Often this can be corrected simply through a change in diet, as dogs may develop aversions, allergies, or digestion difficulties with certain brands of dog food, or specific kinds of meat/fats/kibbles, etc.  Provide plenty of water and a peaceful environment for your dog, to ensure that his discomfort is not due to dehydration or anxiety and trauma. It would be advisable to see a vet and get his recommendations on whether or not your dog should consider eating a hypoallergenic, grain-free, raw, or high-protein kind of diet.

Infections: This includes anything from ears, to eyes, skin, or bladder infections. Dogs can pick up bacteria from the ground, other animals, feces, dust, or by naturally growing yeast in moist areas of their bodies.   Dogs should routinely have their eyes and ears wiped with disinfectant wipes, washing with hypoallergenic shampoos, and attend regular trips to the groomer and vet.  For issues like bladder infections, oral antibiotics will help fight the bacteria and alleviate discomfort.

Breaks and Sprains: Whether the dog toppled down the stairs, or gotten a paw caught in a rabbit hole, they can sometimes suffer from the fractures or sprains from falling or twisting their feet.  In such situations, icing the injury, then binding the limb, with a cast, a mold or a wrap will help the sprain or break to heal. For severe injuries,  or if you are uncertain if there has been a fracture or break, take your pup to the vet!  Then be sure to pamper him by giving him a big pillow to rest on, and lots of cuddle time as he recovers.

Accidents: Yes, these have to be accounted for. Let’s face it, your dog’s energy and exuberance might often outweigh his sense of danger.  Dogs are known for lumbering down unknown paths, or into the woods, or scampering on piles of rubble or trash. Sometime they reemerge with a cut paw, or sharp splinter, scratched from barbed wire or by an animal they trapped.  Whether he resurfaces with punctured paw or a porcupine quill in his nose, a dog’s instinct to hunt, explore or chase can sometimes lead to unfavorable endings.  When walking on unfamiliar paths, ward against accidents by keeping your pup on a close leash and proceeding with caution over hazardous areas.