Like any other family member, your dog has a personality all its own, and like anyone else in your family, you can tell when they aren’t feeling their best. While your dog may have mood swings from day-to-day just like you, changes in behavior, attitude and appetite may mean it’s time for a trip to the vet.
There is a wide range of reasons your pup needs professional treatment and while some may seem minor there are others that could be a sign of a serious problem. Even for the more minor problems, though, they can have a huge impact on the health and happiness of your dog.
As reported by veterinarians, here are the ten most common reasons dog owners pay them a visit.
1. Skin conditions
This is the top of the list when it comes to needing a trip to the vet. Of the dogs that are taken in for treatment, almost one-quarter are due to skin conditions, but this is a bit of a “catch-all” term. From yeast infections to dermatitis, ringworm, a bad reaction to flea bites, dandruff, mange, or just simple wounds, there are many different problems that can crop up with your dog’s skin that require a trip to the vet. Some breeds are more susceptible to certain types of skin-related problems than others, but the odds are good that you’ll be taking your dog for a trip to the vet for some type of skin condition.
2. Stomach problems
Your pup’s bodily systems are just as complex as yours in a lot of ways, and that means they can suffer from some of the same stomach issues as you, along with a few that are more common for canines. Worms and other parasites are a constant threat for dogs, as is the risk of being accidentally poisoned. Not all stomach problems are that serious, though; your dog may just be having a problem with the food they’re eating, or your dog could come down with a simple case of stomach flu. However, stomach problems aren’t to be taken lightly.
3. Ear Infections
A dog’s sensitive ears can easily fall victim to any one of several different problems. Mites and other parasites can infect the ear canal, a buildup of yeast can lead to an ear infection, or your dog could suffer from hormonal problems that cause ear problems. Also, it could be an allergic reaction causing ear troubles; no matter the cause, these problems are common enough to earn a place on this list.
Your dog’s eyes are better at some things than yours and worse at others. One area where they are almost identical is the types of conditions their eyes can suffer. Cataracts, glaucoma and even infectious diseases like Pink Eye can affect your dog’s vision and should be treated as soon as possible. Look for redness, any type of regular discharge from the eyes, or even blindness…if your dog seems to be having trouble seeing clearly, it’s worth the time to get their eyes checked.
This is the fifth most common reason for dog owners to schedule a trip to the veterinarian’s office, and as you would expect, this reason is usually the result of an injury. Everything from a simple puncture wound or scrape to a more serious issue like a torn ligament, an injury can lead to an unhappy dog.
Another problem that both humans and canines share is that growths can appear, either on the skin or more internally. While many of these can be removed with an easy procedure, growth is something that shouldn’t be ignored. Some are benign and pose no risk to your dog, but there’s always the chance that any growth that appears is due to cancer, so a trip to the vet is a necessity when growth appears.
A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is not a comfortable thing to deal with for anyone, including your dog. This is easily treatable by a vet, once you realize the problem exists. You may notice signs that your dog is uncomfortable, but the biggest sign that a vet visits to check for a UTI is if your dog is urinating more frequently than normal, including in the house for a housebroken pet.
Most people suffer from some form of allergies, and they can be common with dogs as well. In many cases, a dog’s allergies are mild enough that you may not even notice they have them, but sometimes they rise past the level of a minor nuisance to become a serious problem that impacts the happiness of your pet. Treatment can be as simple as changing their diet, to avoid any foods they’re allergic to, or they can be treated with medication if they’re triggered by airborne allergens.
9. Cruciate ligament tears/surgery
We mentioned this briefly at number five on this list, but there are times when a dog can suffer another very human-like injury, a tear of their cruciate ligament. After a leg injury of any type, you will most likely notice your dog limping; if the limp continues after the injury should be healed, that may mean surgery to repair the torn ligament.
While it barely makes the list of most common reasons for a dog to visit the vet, it’s still common enough to come in at number ten. While we mentioned cancer at number 6, not all cancers will generate a visible growth. This entry on the list may be the last in terms of frequency, but every trip to the vet for a checkup with your dog is vital for this reason among others; your vet may catch things you wouldn’t notice, and can identify cancer as early as possible, giving them the best chance to treat it successfully.
Let’s face it, no reason for your dog to visit the vet is a reason to be happy, because in most of these cases you’re only making that trip because your pet is unhappy. But while some of these reasons may not seem serious, anything that lowers your dog’s quality of life is worth seeking treatment for.
And remember, this is just the ten most common reasons and not an exhaustive list. There are other good reasons to schedule an appointment at the vet, the rule of thumb to use is this; if your dog’s not happy or feeling well, it’s time for a trip to the vet.