Recognising common health issues in active and adventurous dogs

We all want to do the best we can for our dogs when it comes to their health. That’s why any dog owner must know the warning signs to watch for in their dogs. If you and your dog go on lots of adventures together, it is all the more important to recognise the signs of anything amiss. 





Some common health concerns can be safely treated at home, while others will need a vet’s intervention to deal with correctly. Recognising when it is time to seek professional help for your dog is crucial for any dog owner. 





Keep an eye on a dog’s eyes.




Problems with eyesight





Dogs can have problems with their eyesight from any age, though it is most common in older dogs. This can significantly impact more active dogs, as it will make it harder for them to exercise. 





You should check your dog’s eyes regularly to ensure they are clear and bright. Cataracts are the most common cause of sight issues for dogs and can affect a dog at any age. Cataracts usually are relatively easy to spot as they . 





You should also take note if your dog starts to become clumsier and bumps into things more frequently. Your dog may also develop some anxiety which will come from being unable to see where he is stepping or jumping. 





If you spot any of these signs, it is vital to consult a vet. Your vet will be able to administer a proper canine eye test and recommend treatment options. Your vet will often recommend changing your habits to allow your dog to continue living as normal a life as possible. 





Adjustments you may need to make can include putting padding on sharp edges and corners around your home, using sound and smells more in your training routines and adjusting your recall for walks. Fortunately, dogs are very adaptable and often only minor changes will be needed to allow your dog to continue living a full life. 





Check dogs for ticks and fleas when they have been outdoors. Credit: Jamie Street.




Ticks





You need to look out for many types of pests that may try to make their home in your dog’s coat or in his stomach. If you like to go on long walks and hikes through the countryside, then you should always check your dog over afterwards for signs that he may have picked up pests. 





One of the most common pests a dog can pick up on walks amid nature are ticks. If your dog has a tick that is left untreated, then it can lead to more serious health problems like Lyme’s disease. 





There are several ways to prevent and treat tick bites. Every time you come back from a walk, you should check your dog over thoroughly for ticks. The most common areas are under the tail and between the toes, but ticks can attach themselves anywhere on your dog. 





You can buy specialist tools for removing ticks from your dog. Removing the tick may be an unpleasant experience for your dog so you should try to keep him calm with toys and treats, and enlist another adult’s help where possible. Check out this guide for ticks on dogs from dog care experts Bella & Duke for more information on dealing with ticks. 





Worms





Another pest that your dog might encounter is worms. A dog can pick up worms by eating soil or other hazardous things on his walk. If your dog is prone to eating things he shouldn’t, then you should take extra care to watch over him on his walks. You can also engage in further training to break a habit of eating things on his walks. 





You will be able to recognise whether your dog has worms by his behaviour, as worms can make dogs lethargic. Another classic sign of worms is an increase in appetite while your dog simultaneously loses weight. Treating worms is reasonably straightforward, and there are many types of deworming treatments that you can purchase from specialist pet shops. If in doubt, you should consult your vet before treating your dog at home. 





Fleas





Your dog may pick up fleas from other dogs or wildlife while out and about. Fleas are usually easy to spot as you will notice your dog scratching more frequently. It would be best if you made it a habit to check your dog for fleas, as early detection can be crucial to making treatment easier on your dog. 





You can usually spot fleas by using a fine-toothed comb to groom your dog. With each stroke, wipe the comb onto a white tissue or piece of kitchen roll. If brownish red specks are coming off the comb, then it is likely your dog has fleas. 





You should consult your vet on the best form of flea treatment, and stock up on it for future use. You can also invest in some preventative treatments for your dog and for around your home. 





Arthritis





Just like humans, dogs tend to slow down as they age. This doesn’t mean that you have to stop having fun and going on adventures with your dog, but it does mean that you should make some accommodations for him. 





Arthritis is one of the most common issues that dogs face that limits their mobility. You can recognise this by observing how your dog walks, if he is slowing down and if his joints are becoming swollen or inflamed. 





Arthritis is very treatable. The good news is that so you won’t have to go on hikes without your best friend. You may have to lower the pace to accommodate him and make sure to be attuned to his mood and comfort level on walks. Arthritis can cause pain, making your dog reluctant to go for walks, but you should encourage him to get exercise as much as possible. 





Cuts and injuries





One of the most common health problems for active dogs is injuries that come from their energetic lifestyles. If your dog is particularly inquisitive, then there is the danger of him cutting himself on wire fences or barbed plants. Having a good recall is essential to ensure your dog’s safety on walks so that you can keep him away from any dangers. 





Despite our best efforts, accidents can sometimes happen. If you notice your dog limping or walking strangely, you should immediately check him over for injury, paying particular attention to the pads of his paws.





Most injuries that dogs will encounter on a regular walk or hike will heal well without a vet’s intervention but if there is significant bleeding or your pet is in a lot of pain, you should always have him checked by the vet. 





Conclusion: Dogs make excellent companions for hikes, walks and travel. The safety of you and your dog should be the top priority for any venture so being well informed and equipped is vital. Being prepared and taking proper preventative measures will enable you and your dog to get the very best out of your bond. 





No matter the health concern, you will be able to find ways to ensure that you and your dog can spend many years exploring the world together. A combination of regular health checks with the vet, a good grooming routine and careful observation of your dog’s behaviour will empower you and your dog to continue living active lives. 






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