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What are some common dog illnesses and how to help them?

old dog laying down with a cone of shame on

When your dog is sick the first thing everyone wants to do is figure out what is wrong with them? Then they want to know how you can help them to get better. This article explains some of the common disease seen in dogs and what you can do to help them on the road to recovery.

What are some common dog illnesses?

Some common illnesses seen in a dog are ear infections, worms, hot spots, vomiting, diarrhea, fleas, and mites.

Ear infections

Dogs can easily get ear infections. You will notice a smell in the ear canal and sometimes will see discharge coming out of the ears. Your dog may be shaking their head or hold their head to one side. Ear infections can be very painful. Dogs with floppy ears and long hair are more prone to ear infections.


White lab looking out the window on a rainy day

While sometimes you can see worms in your pets’ stool, most are microscopic. If your pet has worms, you will notice signs such as loose stool or blood in their stools. Your dog may be scooting across the floor on their bottom or have lost weight. Taking a fecal sample to your veterinarian is best to determine what type of parasite that your pet has.

Hot spots

If you notice your pet licking and chewing on themselves, they may have developed a hot spot. This is an infected area that they have chewed or scratched on so much that bacteria that normally live on the skin takes over. You will notice a wet area that usually has an odor to it. A hot spot can become painful if not treated. Usually, the hot spot needs antibiotic to help clear them up.


While some dogs may vomit because they ate the wrong type of food. There are other more serious causes of vomiting. If your pet has accidentally eaten human food, poison or has an underlying medical condition, vomiting is usually one of the first signs you will see. Your veterinarian will run bloodwork to rule out another possible disease. If your dog has been vomiting for more than 1 day or has been vomiting more than just a few times a day, it is best to see your veterinarian. The earlier you catch a disease the better the outcome.


Beagle in a grassy field wearing a black collar

Diarrhea can be something as simple as your dog is stressed from a new situation or parasites to gastroenteritis. If your dog is young and having bloody diarrhea most veterinarian worry about parvo. Some diseases are very serious that can cause your dog to have diarrhea. If your dog is having diarrhea, taking them to a veterinarian is best. A dog, especially a small dog can become dehydrated very quickly from diarrhea alone.


If your dog has fleas, you can actually see them crawling around on their skin. Most dogs who have fleas will constantly scratch and chew on their skin. This scratching can lead to skin infections or hot spots.


Mites such as scabies are seen in dogs. There are two different types of mites that a dog can get. Demodex is inherited from their mother and sarcoptic. Both mites can cause a dog to itch uncontrollably. They will also cause hair loss. If you notice these signs, see your veterinarian for medication for mites

What you should look for

Terrier laying in bed with a cone on its head

With all these diseases you may notice your pet not acting normally. After further investigation, you can usually determine what other signs your pet is displaying. A dog that no longer wants to eat or run and play is usually sick or in pain.

What can these lead to?

All these illnesses can lead to a much bigger problem. Vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydrated or even worse death. Fleas and mites can lead to severe skin disease. Once the natural skin barrier has been destroyed, bacteria can easily take over and cause a very severe infection. Ear infections if not treated can eventually cause your dog to lose their hearing.

How do you treat common dog illnesses?

Boston terrier stretching out on a fluffy white blanket

While seeking veterinary care for your sick pet is always the best. Some of these conditions can be treated at home, but if your pet does not quickly improve it is best to see your local veterinarian for more aggressive treatment.

Holistic options to common dog illnesses.

There are many different holistic supplements that you can use to help your dog with their illness. You can try these first, but if your pet does not seem to improve after a few days, then it is best to seek veterinary care to make sure that there is not a different underlying problem.


Cannabidiol or CBC is commonly used to help decrease pain and inflammation. CBD also helps restore the natural skin barrier and help with skin disease. Unlike what most people think, CBD does not cause euphoric effects like marijuana. This is a great option to give your pet that can be in pain from a skin disease, arthritis or to help restore the natural skin barrier.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a great source of Omega 3's. Omega 3's help to improve digestion; help decrease inflammation and make your pets coat smooth and shiny. This can be given as a supplement on their food or massaged into their coat.

Salmon oil

Salmon oil has some of the same effects as coconut oil. This supplement helps improve their skin, helps decrease pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.


Turmeric is a common household spice that helps decrease pain and inflammation. Some of these skin diseases can cause pain and inflammation. This would be a great spice to add to your pets’ diet to help decrease pain from their disease.






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There are many different illnesses that your pet can start to show. If you notice any of these signs in your pet, trying a few of these supplements to see if they start to improve. If your pet does not improve quickly seek veterinary care for more aggressive treatment. Most of these supplements can also be used as a preventive for certain disease.

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Common dog illnesses By Sara Ochoa

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