Know the signs – Common dog illnesses

Know the signs – Common dog illnesses

We bring pets into our homes as part of our family and as such, we want to show them all the love and care we show each other! This means keeping an eye on their health and general wellbeing.

While we all want to be the dog whisperer, even if we know our pets really well, it can be tough to decipher what’s wrong if they do fall ill. Always keep an eye on your pet for signs of illness. Naturally, these vary a great deal, but it could be something as simple as eating less, lethargy, signs of snappiness or aggression (out of sorts behaviour), changes in toilet habits – such as going more or less or things like sickness and diarrhoea.

Here’s a look at some of the most common dog illnesses, because knowing more about them makes it easier to identify the signs and this could save you time, money and more importantly emotional stress for you and your beloved pet!

Common Dog Illnesses & How to Spot & Treat Them


What is Parvovirus?

This is a nasty condition which can cause damage to the intestines and if left untreated, can be deadly. It’s highly contagious and can be spread through contact with another infected animal, or things they may have touched such as poo, bedding and it is possible for humans handling dogs with the condition to pass it on to other animals.

What are the main symptoms of Parvovirus?

  • Smelly, loose stools
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. Parvovirus symptoms can progress very quickly once they start, so it’s always better to be checked out.

How to treat Parvovirus

While it can be deadly, it is preventable with regular vaccinations. If your dog gets parvovirus, they will likely need a lot of medical care ranging from a drip to replace fluids to antibiotics, continual observation and maybe additional medications to support recovery (such as anti-sickness tablets).

Kennel Cough

What is Kennel Cough? 

This is a common, but nasty infection which can hit your dog’s throat, lungs and airways. While many fit and strong dogs will recover completely, but if your dog has a compromised immune system, is old or very young, then Kennel Cough can be very dangerous. It is easily transmitted and is actually often picked up in areas where multiple dogs are walked as an example.

What are the symptoms of Kennel Cough?

  • It will present initially as a cough but it has a distinctive sound that may make you think there’s something in your dog’s throat it’s trying to get out.
  • Running nose
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite

How to treat Kennel Cough:

Many dogs can recover on their own, but if your dog falls into one of the vulnerable categories, or if you’re generally worried about how their symptoms are presenting or progressing then it’s always worth getting checked out. In some cases, your vet may prescribe antibiotics.


What is Ringworm?

Despite its name, this is actually a skin condition. Highly contagious, it can be passed easily between animals and it is possible to get it from your pet.

What are the symptoms of Ringworm?

  • Patchy fur loss
  • Red or pink patches of skin
  • Scaly or itchy skin

How to Treat Ringworm:

In order to eliminate ringworm your vet my prescribe a topical cream for the patchy areas of skin and in the case of longer dogs it might be necessary to trim fur while it is being treated to avoid a recurrence.

There are obviously a plethora of illnesses your pet is exposed to, just like us. You need to make sure you take all sensible measures to protect your pet – whether that’s vaccinations where required/available, through to keeping their diet balanced and healthy to keep them fit and as resistant as possible.

It’s important to consider the cost of managing and treating common illnesses. Pet care bills can very quickly mount up, so it’s always advisable to make sure your dog has adequate insurance cover. Find out more here.