Puppy Health Problems


Photo by Amber Allen | www.goblinchild.com

Puppies are highly vulnerable to disease and other health issues. Every puppy parent should be aware of the most common health problems to affect dogs in their infancy.

Parvo is a highly contagious virus that is potentially fatal for puppies, especially if not caught and treated immediately.

  • Symptoms include lethargy, depression, diarrhea, vomiting, and sudden loss of appetite.
  • If you think your puppy is showing signs of parvo, get him to a veterinarian immediately.
  • To prevent your puppy from contracting or spreading the virus, do not take your puppy to pet stores, dog parks, or other heavily traveled pet areas until he has had all his vaccinations.
  • You should always pick up your dog’s feces on walks and keep his environment clean.

Puppies are especially susceptible to parasites. Internal parasites like hookworms and roundworms use your puppy’s body as a host and can cause stunted growth and weight loss.

  • Sometimes you can see intestinal parasites in a puppy’s stool, but it's important to have him regularly dewormed in case there are other parasites you cannot see.
  • External parasites like fleas and ticks are easy to control with preventative monthly medication.
  • Parasites can be damaging and even deadly for a young puppy, so be vigilant about keeping your puppy parasite-free.

Mange is a skin disease that is caused by mites that burrow into a dog’s skin. Some variations are contagious to other dogs and even humans, while others affect only the infected dog.

  • Sarcoptic and demodex mange are the two main types of mange seen in dogs.
  • Puppies are most likely to be infected with localized demodex mange, which results in spotty hair loss, but is not contagious.
  • If you see any hairless spots on your puppy, contact your vet immediately.

Kennel Cough
Because a puppy’s immune system is not fully developed, they are especially prone to developing kennel cough, which is essentially a dog’s version of the common cold.

  • Puppies may take longer to recover from the illness.
  • Be aware that kennel cough is highly contagious to other dogs. If one of your dogs is showing symptoms, make sure to isolate him immediately.

Intestinal Problems
If you have a young puppy, get used to poop – and lots of it!

  • Vomiting and diarrhea may happen if your puppy has switched foods, or if he ate too much too quickly.
  • If vomiting and diarrhea are combined with other symptoms like lethargy and lack of appetite, get your puppy to your vet immediately.
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