Many common dog health problems are relatively benign, if caught early and dealt with properly. Petting and grooming your dog regularly allows you to find "unusual" conditions or symptoms that may need to be checked out further by your friendly local veterinarian. Even in cases where you choose to wait a little while to see if the symptoms ease, keep a diary or log of the condition to see whether or not it changes in any way.
Some dog breeds are more prone to specific health problems. These can include things like dog hip problems or conditions like intervertebral disk disease (a back problem).
Below is a list of some of the more common health problems that can be seen in dogs of any age and breed.
The feeding guidelines on the back of commercial dog food bags is just that: a guideline. You will need to adjust your dog's intake to achieve or maintain a healthy weight. A healthy weight means you should be able to feel your dog's ribs easily with just slight pressure. Your dog should have a definite "waist" and a "tucked tummy". If your dog is shaped like a solid little cylinder (or worse, a saggy cylinder!), then perhaps it's time to adjust his feeding.
If your dog needs a little extra help, "light" dog food formulas are available. These types of food have fewer calories but allows your dog to still consume the same (or similar) volume of food. Another option is to feed him his regular food, just less of it - and to keep him feeling like he ate a full meal, make up the volume with chopped veggies (carrots or green beans are great).
When dental issues become a problem, that's when dogs need to be put under general anesthetic for a cleaning. There's always risk associated with anesthesia, so it's better for your dog if you can keep on top of his dental hygiene needs.dental sprays, gels, or rinses.
Check your dog's mouth regularly for signs of gum inflammation, cracked or missing teeth, pain or bleeding.
Signs of allergies can include persistent scratching or paw licking. Stomach problems or digestive issues aren't uncommon in dogs either, so tell your vet if you suspect your dog may have food allergies.
Because there are so many things that could be causing allergies, your vet is the best person to advise you on how to start managing the problem (and to determine whether allergies are indeed the problem).
Hot spots can be caused by a number of things. For example, allergies, flea bites, seeds or burrs, mites, or simply poor grooming. They're much more common in warmer weather.
If you suspect your dog has a hot spot, take him to the vet who can prescribe medication to stop its growth. Hot spots normally go away after treatment (although another one in another location may occur later on).
These are just a few common dog health problems. Always consult with your vet if you believe your dog may be ill. Early intervention can make a big difference in your pet's well-being.