Pet Cover Direct

Most common illnesses for Dogs

Dogs tend to go through small phases of feeling a bit under the weather just like humans so it is good to know the symptoms, they can also hide illnesses quite well so if you are aware of symptoms you should hopefully spot them even if your dog is trying to hide them. Please note that these points are just information and should not be relied upon.

Pet insurance comparisonCompare pet insurance

The most common illnesses that your dog could suffer from are;

Runny eyes and noses

Flu-type symptoms such as runny noses, panting and sneezing can be signs of respiratory illnesses which also might be shown through shortness of breath.

Changes in weight

This is either weight gain or weight loss, if your dog loses weight very quickly of over a period of a 4 weeks it could be down to an underlying problem, this is also the same for weight gaining in dogs too.

Changes to their appetite

 It’s not unusual for a dog to go off his food for a day, however if it becomes longer than 24 hours it would be advised to see your vet. You will also find that dogs like to have the same daily routine with eating, if your dog starts to change his eating patterns to differ from this routine again seeking some advice off your vet would be advised.

Skin irritation

If your dog is fit and healthy depending on the pigment in their skin it will either be pink or black. However if you notice this change and that your pet is scratching more than normal it can be a sign of an allergic reaction.

Canine distemper

This disease can be passed from dog to dog from moisture droplets, signs of the illness can include; a fever, vomiting, coughing and general flu type symptoms. The disease takes around 3 weeks to become apparent and unfortunately once a dog gets the disease you aren’t able to vaccinate them and in many cases they can die from it. You may find that your dogs feet pads and nose becomes cracked and hard. Dogs who survive distemper are left with permanent effects such as nervous tics or epilepsy.

There is a vaccination available against distemper and it’s advised to boost this on a regular basis of every 3 years.

Canine Parvovirus

This disease can be passed to dogs of any age via infected waste, and tends to carried in dogs fur and paws for several months. This is a very serious illness with dogs passing away only 24 hours after they have got the disease, symptoms include; high fever, stomach pain, vomiting etc. You will also find that your dog will become dehydrated as they will refuse to both eat and drink, this resulting in them becoming very weak and in some cases collapsing.

Canine Parvovirus is known as deadly due to its ability to wipe out a number of dogs, when it first came around in the 70s it kill thousands of dogs all over the world, unfortunately outbreaks still aren’t uncommon. Again getting a vaccination every 3 years will prevent your dog from getting this illness.

Red swollen gums

If you notice your pet has bad breath and swollen gums they could be suffering from gum disease, this may come apparent through them having difficulty eating their food with them loosing teeth and dropping food out of their mouths, this could therefore result in them losing weight.


Fleas are something which every animal can suffer from and are passed on by any animal to another, similar to ticks, lice and mites. They work by jumping into your dog’s fur and feeding off their blood, an adult flea will then jump into your carpet and lay eggs on that which they jump into your dog’s fur and feed of their blood too.

Fleas can cause dogs a lot of irritation due to them releasing salvia when they feed off their blood, dogs that are sensitive to this you will notice will scratch a lot. Fleas are extremely difficult to see as the move extremely quickly through your pet’s fur, they look like small black/red specks on your dog.

There are a wide number of products to use for the treatment of fleas that go from tables to sprays, you will have to treat your dog as well as your house, vacuuming and washing your dogs bedding on a regular basis will kill any flea eggs around our house. You may need to go to your vet from stronger products if shop products aren’t working for your dog, a flea collar is also a good idea if they become a consist problem.

General health

If you find that your dogs health in general begins to drop, this could be through a number of was such as; swollen stomachs, smelly breath, they are sensitive to light or sound or they become increasingly lethargic etc, it would be advised that you take them to the vets. Some breeds will suffer from specific illnesses; this tends to be due to the way they are bred, for example Labradors can suffer from bladder stones and cataracts. This is normally due to breeders seeking perfection often due to wanting them as show dogs.

Difficulty in passing waste

This becomes apparent through the appearance if blood in their wee and/or a noticeable pain when urinating.

Continuous ‘flu-like’ symptoms e.g. coughing, sneezing, vomiting

All the above symptoms can be signs of more serious problems, for example kennel cough. If your dog is repeatedly gagging or vomiting it could be the signs of them developing an allergy or a further illness and you take them to your vets.


Diarrhoea can accrue as the result of something your dog has eaten and you will find that in this case it will resolve itself. However if you find your dog still has diarrhoea 48 hours later then you should seek your vets advise, be aware they may ask you to take an example with you.

Increase in drinking and urinating

Signs of illness can often show through an increase of water intake and an increase in your dog going to the toilet, it would be a good idea to take them to the vets to find our any further.

Canine Hepatitis

This disease is particularly common in dogs around 1 years old; however a dog of any breed and age can contract the illness. The disease attacks the kidneys, eye and liver and is passed through infected waste and saliva. Symptoms of Hepatitis can be; vomiting, stomach pains, conjunctivitis and lack of eating.

Many dogs have died from the disease so it is important to get a vaccination against it every 3 years; some dogs have survived the illness but tend to be left with problems such as clouding over the eye.  Dogs that contract the disease are infectious to other dogs for over 6 months.


This bacterial disease is passed though drink or swimming in canals or through contact with infected urine and it attacks the kidneys and liver. Some of the main symptoms of Leptospirosis are; bloody diarrhoea, increased urination, high fever and jaundice.

If the disease it caught in the early stages then it can be treated through intensive care through fluid therapy and antibiotics, however for surviving dogs the permanent damage is often severe liver damage which tends to get worse as they get older, dogs that die from the disease tend to suffer of kidney failure. Dogs treated for the disease are still a contagious to humans and other animals for up to a year.

Vaccinations along with staying away from infectious areas are the ways to avoid your dog from catching the illness.

Pet insurance comparisonCompare pet insurance