27 Common Diseases in Dogs – Puppies, Adults and Seniors


Translated by Nick R

Dogs are part of our family and depend to a great extent on us, they won’t worry about taking care of themselves to avoid diseases. We must be aware of the diseases that can affect them, how to prevent them and how to act if they do present them.

So don’t worry, because here we’ll explain in detail the diseases that your dog can suffer according to their life stage.

Up to what age is a dog considered a puppy? 

Puppies grow up faster than in the blink of an eye. Knowing up to what point a puppy ceases to be a puppy depends directly on his size and breed.

Every dog grows at a different pace, so some will have longer puppyhood than others. Small breeds grow faster while large breeds take longer to grow.

That’s because their joints and bones are bigger (because of their breed), so they require more time for these parts to develop and grow until they reach the beginning of adulthood.

The standard belief is that a dog is no longer a puppy after one year of age; however, the puppy stage lasts from 6 months to 24 months; the physical development takes place completely during this time.

Small breed puppies take around 6 to 8 months to reach the adult stage. On the other hand, medium breeds require about 12 months.

Finally, large and giant breeds take from 12 to 18 months, they can even take up to 24 months to fully develop as in the case of the mastiff breed.

Diseases in puppies 

The puppy stage is one of the most vulnerable since his body is still growing. A dog in his first months of life has an immature immune system with not enough defenses to fight viruses and other illnesses that he can acquire or catch.

Now I’ll show you what types of diseases are the most frequent, so you can recognize them and treat them in time.


Parvovirus is a disease that affects puppies from 6 weeks to 3 years old, with a higher chance of infection between 6 weeks and 6 months of age. This ailment can be transmitted in two forms.

In a direct way when the dog has contact with another infected dog, smells, licks, or ingests infected feces from that dog. It can be transmitted indirectly by exposure to an object such as a toy or leash that is contaminated with this parvovirus.

Parvovirus can affect the small intestine and stomach, becoming fatal if not treated quickly. Therefore, it’s critical to get your pet vaccinated within the first few weeks of life and to complete the vaccination schedule.


These are the most common signs that puppies present once they are infected:

  • Fever
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Anorexia
  • Weakness
  • Depression


Distemper is caused by a paramyxovirus, related to viruses such as rinderpest and measles. It’s a highly contagious and very dangerous disease since it affects different systems in the dog’s body, such as respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological.

Distemper can be transmitted by direct contact with an infected animal. It’s also transmitted by exposure to an infected object, placenta, and airborne exposure. The riskiest age for contracting this disease is younger than 4 months, and clearly unvaccinated dogs are more vulnerable.


Symptoms occur as the disease progresses and can be more severe, even life-threatening if they progress too quickly.

Signs in the first stage are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Eye discharges with pus
  • Coughing and sneezing (aggravating to pneumonia)
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Swelling of the spinal cord and brain

Signs in the second stage are:

  • Head tilting
  • Muscle spasms
  • Spinning in circles
  • Nystagmus (involuntary rapid movements of one or both eyes in any direction)
  • Seizures
  • Encephalopathy (alteration in the structure and function of the brain)

Canine infectious tracheobronchitis 

Also known as kennel cough, it’s a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by canine adenovirus type 2.

The puppy can contract in places such as kennels (hence the name), daycare centers, dog parks, dog shows, training groups and any other place with many dogs.

It’s transmitted in the same way as human coughs, by direct contact, through airborne droplets and contaminated surfaces. They can catch it at 6 weeks of age, so it’s highly recommended to vaccinate them at that time.


  • Severe cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low fever
  • Pneumonia (if cough is not treated)

Canine infectious hepatitis 

Canine infectious hepatitis is a disease caused by canine adenovirus type 1, which is highly contagious and can be fatal.

It’s transmitted via ingestion or inhalation of nasal secretions and saliva contaminated with the virus. In addition, the puppy can also become infected if it ingests water or food contaminated with urine or feces of other infected dogs.

Contagion is seen to occur more in dogs under 1 year of age, so these puppies are at risk of dying in a short time and if in an overcrowded environment, the contagion will occur rapidly.

This disease invades the lymphatic tissue around the head first and then moves on to affect the organs, mainly the liver.


Signs of the disease may be mild or simply cause sudden death. Puppies show hyperacute symptoms starting with a sudden onset of pain in the abdomen and then after a few hours they may die. However, signs also present acutely (the most common form) which are:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Pain in the abdomen (in the area of the liver that is enlarged and painful to the touch)
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes) once liver function is impaired


This disease is caused by the bacterium Leptospira which affects the liver and kidneys. It’s transmitted by contact with infected urine and contaminated water. The animal can also be infected through a wound in the skin.

It’s important to vaccinate the puppy against this condition at 10 to 12 weeks with the first dose and then at 13 to 15 weeks with the second one.


The symptoms of Leptospirosis can be confused with other diseases such as canine distemper and canine viral hepatitis, but this one can differentiate it by the way it evolves faster than the others. The signs are:

  • Diarrhea and vomit that may have blood.
  • Gastroenteritis (inflammation in the stomach and intestines)
  • Lethargy
  • High fever
  • Mucus congestion
  • Dehydration
  • Dark urine
  • Jaundice (yellowing of mucous membranes and skin, due to liver involvement)
  • Acute renal failure

Intestinal parasites 

Puppies commonly contract parasites, especially worms. These can be transmitted by contact with a contaminated surface or the feces of another infected dog. In addition, other puppies may have parasites and pass them on to your puppy.


Parasites can affect dogs differently depending on their health status; however, these are the most common signs.

  • Vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Poor coat appearance
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Anemia
  • Pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs)

Canine influenza 

Also known as canine influenza virus, it’s a respiratory condition caused by the influenza A virus. It spreads in the same way as human influenza, through contact with airborne droplets from coughing, sneezing, and barking. It can be very contagious if a dog is carrying it and is in a place where there are other dogs.


  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Cough with phlegm (wet) or dry cough
  • Watery eyes
  • Difficulty breathing

Canine herpesvirus 

This disease can cause dangerous infections and even death. It can be transmitted in 3 ways, transplacental, oro-nasal, and venereal.

The transplacental route is when the mother is infected with the herpesvirus during pregnancy and passes it to her offspring, which may lead to a miscarriage. On the other hand, the oro-nasal route happens when the puppies are inside the uterus and pass through the vaginal mucosa during delivery.

Likewise, if not passed at the time of delivery, the mother transmits it when licking her puppies. The venereal route occurs when the male is infected and mounts a healthy female.

The stage where most infections occur is from newborn to 3 weeks of life. A puppy in the litter with the virus can also pass it on to his siblings.


  • Difficulty in feeding
  • Excessive weight loss due to starvation
  • Diarrhea (grayish-yellow stools)
  • Acute abdominal pain
  • Nasal discharge (with red dots on mucous membranes)
  • Inflammation of the skin
  • After 24 to 48 hours, if untreated, it can be fatal and cause death.

When does a dog become an adult? 

A dog reaches adulthood once his joints and bones have finished developing. In other words, the dog reaches his maximum height according to his size and breed, so he won’t grow anymore.

Small breeds reach this stage after one year of age, medium breeds reach it at approximately 18 months, and large and giant breeds at 3 years of age. In general, this phase lasts from one year to 6 years, but it also depends on the type of breed.

Diseases in adult dogs 

Adult dogs are freer so to speak, as they are able to explore places and socialize with other dogs. However, as well as they socialize, there is also a latent risk that they may catch some disease from another dog or from the environment they have been in.

As they are already adults, we must take care of all aspects of their health, such as nutrition, since this is when they feed the most. On the other hand, you must comply with the annual vaccination schedule to prevent diseases at this stage.

Ear infections 

Ear infections are caused by fungi, bacteria and allergens in the environment. In addition, since the dog’s ear canal is vertical, it will form an L and there they can accumulate liquid, for this reason, they are more prone to suffer from infections.

On the other hand, there are other factors that make the dog prone to develop this condition, such as:

  • Ear canal lesion
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Humidity, which is ideal for creating an environment where bacteria can grow.
  • Specific skin or food allergies
  • Endocrine disorders, such as thyroid
  • Wax build-up
  • Foreign bodies
  • Excessive cleaning

Approximately 20% of dogs suffer from some type of ear infection, which can occur in one or both ears. The breeds most prone to ear infections due to their characteristic droopy ears are Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds.

Infections are divided into 3 types according to their location, the most common being otitis externa, then otitis media and otitis interna. Otitis externa refers to inflammation in the external part of the ear canal, which affects the cells that cover this area.

Otitis media and internal otitis occur in the middle and inner areas of the ear canal respectively. These two, especially if not treated in time, are very dangerous and can cause facial paralysis and deafness.


Some dogs show only a few signs when they have an infection such as discharge in the ear canal and wax accumulation, but there are also others that show more symptoms such as:

  • Scratching the infected ear
  • Shaking the head
  • Odor
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Crusting in the ears

Food and skin allergies 

These allergies, as their name indicates, occur when the dog is sensitive to certain allergens present in some chemical or food.

Food allergies are the most common as some ingredients in the dog’s food concentrate have a reaction to it. Among these foods that cause allergic reactions are wheat, corn, and soy.

On the other hand, cutaneous allergies are caused by contact with chemical agents that may be present in the collar or the clothes they wear. Rubbing them against the skin will eventually cause the allergy.


  • Hypersensitivity
  • Itching
  • Dry skin
  • Inflammation
  • Skin infection
  • Bald patches
  • Excessive scratching
  • Food allergies may also show:
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting


Obesity occurs when there is an excess of adipose tissue due to an exaggerated intake of food rich in calories and fats.

Besides affecting the weight of the canine, it can predispose him to other diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular and respiratory problems, and increased risk of hyperthermia (increased body temperature).

There are different aspects that can predispose the dog to obesity apart from overfeeding. Lack of exercise in pets that spend more time indoors, for example, owners sometimes don’t recognize this condition until signs are already present, thus contributing to its development.

On a physiological level, commonly when the dog reaches the age of 5 years old, its level of physical activity decreases, so it will burn fewer calories per day. On the other hand, breeds such as terriers, spaniels, beagles, Labradors, and dachshunds are predisposed to suffer from obesity.


  • Weight gain
  • Excess body fat
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lack of mobility
  • Poorly visible or no waist
  • Distended abdomen
  • Lack of mobility
  • Rib cage not palpable

Digestive and gastrointestinal disorders 

These disorders can occur for various reasons such as consumption of raw food, poisoning, intestinal parasites or worms, and some underlying disease that predisposes its appearance. The dog may suffer from gastritis or gastroenteritis.


It’s a syndrome in which the gastric mucosa is inflamed, also the stomach and the secretion of gastric acid will be increased. It can also cause other affectations such as infection, ulceration, irritation, and blockage of gastric function.

This disease can be acute or chronic. Acute gastritis is observed by inflammation and chronic gastritis is shown with parasitic infections. Its causes may be the presence of foreign bodies, systemic infections, tumors, poisoning, pancreatitis, parvovirus, and neoplasia (abnormal growth of a mass in the skin).

  • Vomiting blood, bile, leftover food, or froth
  • Painful abdomen
  • Back hunched to soothe abdominal discomfort
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing after eating or drinking
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration if vomiting lasts longer than 24 hours


Also called stomach flu, this disease develops once the dog is infected with a virus, these viral agents reach the gastrointestinal tract and affect it causing acute diarrhea and vomiting.

There are different reasons why gastroenteritis develops, such as parasites, toxins from food, bacterial infection, systemic infections such as meningitis (inflammation of the brain), pneumonia, and urinary tract.

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting blood
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Dehydration from the number of fluids passed in vomit and diarrhea

Urinary tract infection 

This infection is caused by bacteria and is one of the most common infections in dogs. It can develop when the flora of the intestinal tract and normal skin overwhelm the defenses in the urinary tract. This means that the body’s defense is no longer sufficient to attack and, therefore, the reproduction of bacteria will continue.

From this, the bacteria that form begin to colonize until the infection develops. The most common bacteria that cause urinary tract infection is E. coli, but other bacteria and fungi can also cause infection.


  • Bloody and/or cloudy urine
  • Licking around the urinary opening
  • Fever
  • Whining and straining during urination
  • Increased urination (urine)
  • Difficulty urinating

When not treated in time and the infection continues to progress, it can lead to other problems such as kidney or bladder stones, kidney infection, and on a more serious level, kidney failure, lower urinary tract dysfunction, blood poisoning, and inflammation of the prostate gland in the case of males.


The rabies virus can affect the spinal cord and brain of dogs, cats, and even humans. It can be transmitted by an infected animal bite, through a scratch, and if contaminated saliva comes in contact with the healthy dog’s membranes. This virus is mainly secreted in large quantities through the dog’s saliva.

Incubation of this virus occurs between 2 to 8 weeks before showing any symptoms. On the other hand, rabies transmission can occur within approximately 10 days before the onset of signs.


  • Behavioral changes (restlessness, apprehension, and aggression). A friendly dog may become irritable, and a very energetic dog may become docile.
  • Biting either another dog, person, or even objects.
  • Licking and biting the bitten area.
  • Fever
  • Hypersensitive to touch, light, and sound
  • Hiding in dark places
  • Eating unusual things
  • Excessive drooling
  • Paralysis of the throat and jaw muscles (producing the typical frothing)
  • Disorientation
  • Staggering
  • Lack of coordination
  • Difficulty eating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Sudden death

Additionally, there are two types of rabies, paralytic and furious rabies. Paralytic rabies causes loss of coordination, weakness and even paralysis, while furious rabies causes extreme behavioral changes, making the dog much more aggressive.

Allergic flea bite dermatitis 

It’s very common that adult dogs to develop dermatitis due to flea bites since they are in a stage when they can explore more places and share with other canines, and the environment in both cases can be infested with these parasites.

This dermatitis is caused, as its name indicates, by a flea bite. As the flea acts as a host to feed on the dog, it bites the dog to obtain blood and in the process also injects its saliva.

The flea’s saliva is composed of different peptides, enzymes and amino acids to which the dog’s skin is sensitive, causing an immunological reaction and forming the allergy.

The main characteristic of this allergy is that it causes inflammation in the areas where there are more bites. If the dog has hypersensitive skin, it will show signs of inflammation in approximately 15 minutes. On the contrary, the reaction will take between 24 and 48 hours to appear if the dog’s skin is healthy.

If you want to prevent your dog from getting fleas, I invite you to read these tips to prevent and eliminate fleas.


  • Inflammation in the bitten areas.
  • Alopecia (hair loss mainly in the mid-back to the base of the tail)
  • Hyperpigmentation of the skin
  • Skin flushing (redness)
  • Skin pain
  • Intense itching and scratching
  • Cracking of the skin
  • The appearance of pustules (fluid or pus-filled bumps on the skin)
  • Irritation lesions (due to the dog’s persistence to soothe the itching, it will bite these areas a lot)


This condition appears as joint inflammation, causing stiffness and discomfort. The joint cartilage wears down until it changes its shape or is damaged, causing the bones to lose their insulation and rub against each other.

Although arthritis and the more developed form of arthritis called osteoarthritis occurs in senior dogs, arthritis can also be common in early adulthood due to joint and bone development problems.


  • Decreased activity
  • Increased slowness of actions
  • Licking of the affected joints
  • Stiffness and limp (after a prolonged period of rest)
  • Refusal to exercise
  • Increased pain from cold or dampness


Giardia is a single-celled parasite that causes giardiasis infection. This parasite has two life stages, the mature parasites or trophozoites, and the cysts.

Trophozoites are those that live in the small intestine where they multiply and develop into a cyst. Cysts are the infectious phase of giardia, which is eliminated in the feces of the infected animal.

The way of transmission of giardia is very simple: it remains on contaminated surfaces such as the areas where the dog explores. It is caught when the dog drinks water, and eats some food and grass when these are contaminated with feces.

Likewise, as dogs like to put things in their mouths, ingesting almost anything in the environment, they are much more likely to get the parasite just by drinking from a puddle, chewing on a stick or even ingesting feces.


Sometimes this parasite causes no major problem, but when it affects the dog this can be very upsetting for him. Giardiasis causes inhibition of the process of adsorption of nutrients in the dog, such as water and electrolytes. The signs are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Poor coat condition
  • No longer able to gain weight

From what age is a dog considered a senior dog? 

Old age is not a disease; however, just like us, the older you get, the more likely you are to suffer from certain pathologies. A dog is usually considered a senior dog from the age of 7 years old, but this may vary according to the breed of the canine.

Large breed dogs have a shorter life expectancy and therefore reach old age faster than small or medium breed dogs. For example, a Saint Bernard has a life expectancy of 8-10 years and reaches seniority at about 6-7 years. While a Beagle has a life expectancy of 14- 15 years, so it reaches the senior stage at around 10 years of age.

Diseases in senior dogs 

At this age, dogs begin to have problems of vision, hearing, and mobility. But this should not be our only concern, as certain bodily functions begin to decrease due to old age, diseases can begin to appear that diminish the quality of life of the dog.

I’ll explain the most common diseases in the senior years and their symptoms so you can identify them.

Dental problems 

The dental hygiene of your dog is really important throughout his life. A lack of dental hygiene will most likely lead to serious dental problems.

If you do not brush your canine’s teeth periodically, they can start to accumulate tartar plaque that will lead to an oral infection called gingivitis.

Periodontitis is a much more serious disease that affects the supporting structures of the teeth, which can lead to tooth loss and, in addition, an infection that can reach the canine’s organs.

“Periodontal disease is clearly an important and potentially life-threatening condition, often underestimated by health care professionals and the general public” (World Association of Small Animal Veterinarians Dental Guidelines).

“The incidence of periodontal disease increases in older pet populations, so a lifelong preventive dental care plan is crucial” (Addleman, 2012, p. 1).

Therefore, it’s important to prevent, so brush your pet’s teeth regularly to avoid tartar buildup and, therefore, prevent dental problems.


  • Halitosis (bad breath).
  • Pain when chewing and, therefore, loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Tartar.
  • Swollen gums and there may also be bleeding.
  • Loss of teeth.

Kidney disease 

The kidneys filter and eliminate wastes and toxins in the blood through the excretion of urine. In addition, they maintain water balance, which means that the volume of water is maintained to, for example, prevent dehydration.

Then, when the kidneys fail and don’t fulfill these functions, losing their ability to filter the blood, dogs can start to suffer from renal failure which can be acute or chronic.

Acute renal failure or AKI: is when it occurs suddenly, that is, a failure in kidney functions in a very short time, and can affect canines of any age. It’s advisable to take your dog to the veterinarian immediately as it can be fatal.

Chronic renal insufficiency or CKD: This is the most common in older dogs as it occurs gradually over the years. This can be detected by the symptoms that are observed in the dog gradually and thus, treatment is created to provide the best quality of life. However, it can also be caused by the dog’s old age or by other pathologies such as tumors or infectious diseases.  


  • Polyuria and polydipsia (drinking more water and urinating more than normal).
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • anorexia
  • dehydration
  • hypertension
  • fatigue
  • anemia
  • blood in the urine
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss.  
  • Mouth sores.
  • Bad breath.
  • Pain.

Heart disease 

“Cardiovascular diseases are those that relate to the heart or blood vessels, concluding that it is a physiological disorder in the heart” (Incidences of Heart Disease in Dogs).

The heart reaches a point where it won’t pump blood efficiently, which affects other organs. These heart diseases can be congenital or acquired and usually occur in senior dogs, as the organ weakens over the years.

However, they can also occur in young dogs and for different reasons such as lack of exercise, poor diet, or, as I said before, if they are congenital, that is, inherited.   

Although acquired heart diseases are much more common, and can be observed mostly in dogs older than 5 years. “They represent 90% of the cardiac diseases observed in Veterinary Medicine”. (Incidences of heart disease in dogs).


Coughing, as they find it difficult to breathe, especially at night.

Panting, for the same reason I mentioned above. Even low-intensity physical activity can fatigue them.

Sedentarism, they don’t like to do physical activity or play.

Agitated breathing, you may notice faster and noisier breathing when sleeping.

Fainting, if it is advanced and severe heart disease.

Lack of appetite.

Increased blood pressure.


Cataracts are a degeneration of the crystalline lens, which loses its transparency and takes on a grayish color, resulting in loss of vision up to 80%.  

This condition can have different causes. It can be a hereditary problem, and some breeds are even more predisposed to suffer from cataracts, such as the Cocker Spaniel, the Schnauzer, and the poodle.

They can also be caused by some other pathology, such as diabetes or ocular inflammation. And, of course, they can appear due to age, common in senior or geriatric dogs.

“It has been seen that all dogs have some degree of lens opacity after the age of 13.5 years.” (Lopez, Fenollosa- Romero and Costa. 2020. p. 189)


  • Clumsiness when walking and disorientation, since as vision worsens it may collide with objects.
  • Pupil whitening.


“Hypothyroidism is a relatively common endocrine disorder in dogs, resulting from deficient production, secretion or action of thyroid hormones.” (Canine Hypothyroidism)

Thyroid hormones are important for the proper functioning of the body because they have power over many organs. Hypothyroidism is divided into primary and secondary.

Primary: it’s the most common and is characterized by the canine’s immune system attacking the thyroid gland, called “lymphocytic thyroiditis”. It can also be a degenerative problem in the thyroid gland that replaces its tissue with adipose tissue, called “idiopathic atrophy”.

Secondary: it’s less frequent and “is associated with a decrease in TSH due to congenital, neoplastic or traumatic alterations of the anterior pituitary or secondary atrophy of the thyroid gland.” (Correctly diagnosing hypothyroidism in dogs). This means that, for example, some breeds may be more susceptible to hypothyroidism due to hereditary factors.

Some breeds that can suffer from hypothyroidism are the Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Pomeranian, Boxer, Great Dane, and Beagle.


  • Weight gain in 48%.
  • Lethargy in 35%.
  • Loss of hair.
  • Skin infections.
  • Dry and scaly skin.
  • Cold intolerance.
  • Dull and dry coat.
  • “Cardiac alterations are seen in severe cases and consist of bradycardia (…) Dysrhythmias also appear, especially in large breeds, and can lead to congestive heart failure or sudden death” (Canine hypothyroidism).

Cognitive dysfunction 

When the dog reaches an advanced age, you will observe physical and mental changes due to the brain degeneration. Often cognitive dysfunction is compared to Alzheimer’s (in a canine version), as it causes a behavior change and it will no longer be able to interact with its environment and people or animals.

“Fifty percent of canines over 7 years of age suffer from CDS, with the risk of acquiring it increasing as they age, reaching a prevalence of 68% in dogs between 15 and 16 years of age” (Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome).

Cognitive dysfunction syndrome, or CDS, stimulates the loss of memory and cognitive and motor skills in the canine, causing your pet to behave in a completely different way than he has done all his life. He may not even be able to recognize you or the family members he has always lived with.


  • They may not interact socially as before, they may not recognize the people or animals they used to spend time with, and this will cause changes in their behavior, including aggression.
  • They don’t recognize the environment they are in, they seem disoriented and may even crash into objects and don’t seem to know how to get around them.
  • Changes in their sleep cycle, they no longer sleep at the times they did before and cannot fall asleep at night.
  • If your canine was trained with different commands and tricks, probably with the present cognitive dysfunction syndrome he forgets all his learning.
  • They may even relieve themselves (urinate or defecate) in places where they did not do so before.

Hip dysplasia 

Normally, this problem appears as the canine grows, and it’s a misalignment of the hip joint. In other words, when the femur and the hip do not fit properly, it causes a problem of mobility, causing lameness and pain to the canine.

“Canine hip dysplasia is a disease with a complex hereditary component, whose development is influenced mainly by genetic factors, but also by environmental factors”. (hip dysplasia in dogs).

This means that, although it is hereditary, factors such as diet, the place where the dog lives, and the type of life he leads are decisive factors. Some breeds prone to hip dysplasia are the Labrador, Great Dane, Golden Retriever, St. Bernard, and German Shepherd. This pathology tends to affect large breeds.


  • Lameness.
  • Inability to jump.
  • Difficulty in getting up.
  • They rest their weight on their front legs.
  • Hip pain.
  • They do not like to climb stairs.


It’s when the canine’s joints have degenerative changes caused by inflammation and tissue damage.  This disease affects a large number of dogs, and is irreversible and progressive.

It causes pain, loss of joint function and lameness. There is no cure, but physiotherapeutic treatment can improve the canine’s quality of life.

On the other hand, “Once osteoarthritis is triggered, the damaged part of the joint has no chance of recovery. For this reason, early diagnosis of pathologies that lead to this disease is essential in the control of the disease, and in some cases, surgical treatment can be instituted to delay the onset or magnitude of the disease” (Osteoarthritis in the dog).


  • Lameness.
  • Difficulty getting up or moving.
  • Sedentarism, they do not like to do physical activity.
  • Stiffness.
  • Cannot jump.
  • Pain.


Tumors or neoplasms are a proliferation or increase of cells in a tissue or organ. Malignant neoplasms are quite common in older canines, especially in dogs 10 years old or older, being even one of the main causes of death.  There are many types of cancer, such as skin tumors, bone tumors or tumors located in the dog’s reproductive system that can be localized and affect different parts of the animal’s body and organs.

However, according to this study published in the Journal of Animal Health, “The main neoplasms in order of frequency are those of cutaneous location and these are followed by mammary tumors, which affect 25 to 30 % of all neoplasms”.

Tumors can be benign and need no intervention unless they are located in a place where they cause lameness or pressure on an organ (such as the eye) and to avoid consequences they should be removed.

On the other hand, malignant tumors can be treated with surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy. Unfortunately, not all tumors have a cure or are easy to remove, so it’s always advisable to see a veterinarian who will analyze the situation of your canine and indicate the best way forward, always in order to improve the quality of life of your furry friend.


The symptoms you should be aware of for early detection of a possibly cancerous tumor are:

  • Abnormal lumps or bumps.
  • Wounds that do not improve or heal.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss, as you will have difficulty swallowing.
  • Bleeding in the mouth or other parts of the body.
  • Lethargy and inability to be physically active.
  • Lameness.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Inflammations.
  • abdominal swelling


It’s advisable to always be attentive to the general state of health of our pet. Try to make sure your dog leads a healthy life to avoid ailments that may be due to lack of exercise, poor diet, and lack of visits to the veterinarian for control and vaccination…

Your dog can’t do many things by himself, so as an owner you must make sure he has the best quality of life possible in the different stages of his life. And of course, if you notice behavioral changes in your pet or observe clear symptoms of any disease, take him to a professional for examination as soon as possible.