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Underdog Blog

Common Dog Illnesses: Symptoms and Treatment

Sabrina Ortiz

By Angie Hill


Dogs have a proud reputation for being loyal companions, and it’s important that, like a faithful dog owner, you look after them in return. You are in control of their health and well-being, so in order to help your pet to live a happy, healthy life, knowing the most common health problems for dogs, along with symptoms and how to treat the issue, is absolutely vital.

Read on to find out more.



When it comes to diarrhea, you will be able to spot the symptoms rather clearly; simply keep an eye out for liquid, loose or watery faeces. Diarrhea is known to cause dehydration quite easily, so ensure that you provide plenty of clean water for your dog to drink so that they can stay hydrated.

Your dog may develop diarrhea due to a number of causes, but the most common associated with this ailment include:

  • Stress

  • Infections

  • Intestinal parasites

  • Diet-related difficulties



While making sure that you encourage your dog to drink, you may also want to consider offering them some dehydration medication, such as a sachet, that you have in your cupboard as this will help to replace the fluids and minerals lost from diarrhea.

Cut out their regular food as this could be an issue for them and then feed them a small bowl of boiled plain white rice along with boiled white meat chicken. If the issue continues past 24 hours or the condition of your dog deteriorates at any point, you should contact your vet right away.


Ear Infections

There are a whole host of reasons why a dog can develop an ear infection. they can arise as a result of ear mites, yeast, allergies and bacteria, as well as other issues. The symptoms you should be vigilant for include:

  • Yellow, brown or bloody discharge

  • Head shaking and/or tilting

  • Strong, vigorous scratching

  • Redness of the ear canal

  • Reduced balance

  • An abnormal back-and-forth movement of the eyes

  • Ear odour

  • Swelling of the outer ear



When it comes to ear infections, the best thing you can do is visit your vet. In the majority of instances, they will administer a simple procedure to clean and medicate the ear canal which will help to swiftly clear the issue up.

In more severe cases, surgery might be required to treat chronic infections or if your dog’s vigorous head shaking has caused a vessel in the outer part of the ear to rupture.



Fleas are a very well-known problem for dogs and their owners. They are particularly easy to pick up; however, the good news is that they are also simple to treat. To avoid fleas taking over in your home, keep an eye out for these signs that your dog might be carrying them:

  • Hair loss

  • Hot spots

  • Excessive licking, biting or scratching

  • Flea dirt against your dog's skin

  • Tapeworms

Did you know that it takes a mere three weeks for a single flea to transform into an infestation of 1,000? Left untreated, fleas will make your pet’s life severely uncomfortable. Furthermore, they can lead to allergic reactions, infections, and even cause your dog to suffer from anaemia due to blood loss.


You can prevent fleas simply by using a regular flea treatment. Speak to your vet to gain advice on the best-suited flea treatment for your dog and go from there. In the event that you do spot fleas, make certain to treat the problem as quickly as possible.

What’s more, you need to treat your home too because fleas are able to live without a host for four days, according to Flea Science. Wash all dog bedding, as well as your own, and vacuum the floors, skirting boards and furniture to help destroy all fleas who could be in stage one or up to stage four of their lifecycle.

Lastly, throw out the dust bag from your vacuum following each use.  



Adult dogs can fall ill with worms via other infected animals, scavenging dead animals that could be carrying worms or infected parasites such as fleas. They can also get worms from eating the larvae or eggs of worms when they are outdoors; e.g. eating grass. Hookworms, tapeworms and roundworm, along with whipworms are all known internal parasites in dogs to be aware of.

Your dog may have worms if they have the following symptoms:

  • Scooting on their read end

  • Weight loss

  • A change in appetite

  • A dry, rough coat

  • Diarrhoea 

  • Vomiting

  • A generally disheveled-looking appearance

The best way to obtain a concrete diagnosis for this illness is to visit your veterinarian as they will be able to determine not only if, but which strain of worm is the problem. 



The vet will provide your dog with regular deworming treatment. You should also be aware that if you have a new, young dog in the family that they need to be treated for roundworm, while adult dogs need treatment for tapeworms also.

You can prevent tapeworms by using a regular dose of flea treatment (fleas are known carriers of tapeworm eggs).



Vomiting is arguably one of the most common illnesses in dogs and there are many, many possible causes for this to occur, such as a blockage in the stomach, poisoning, infection, heatstroke and more. It’s also possible that they are simply feeling unwell with a general bug too.

You can spot symptoms of vomiting quite easily. They are:

  •  Abdominal heaving

  •  Bringing food back up

  •  Drooling


You can carry out a visual examination of the vomit before contacting your vet. This may show that your pet has eaten something that has been causing the problem, and it can also help to inform the vet if you need to make an appointment.

Bear in mind that if your dog vomits more than once, or has repetitive spells of vomiting, then contact your vet straight away. Vomiting is a symptom of lots of serious complications, diseases and illnesses so it’s best to get them cared for as soon as possible.