Commonly Ignored Health Problems In Dogs

Dog owners should always be alert for any indications that their pet is sick or in pain, but some common health problems, such as ear infections or tooth abscesses, are hard for the untrained eye to recognize. Here are some symptoms that may indicate common health problems in dogs and ways Premium Pets can help.

Doggy Breath, Inflamed Gums and Tartar Buildup

Doggy breath, inflamed gums and tartar build-up aren’t minor symptoms. They indicate dental disease, and they may also be harbingers of bigger problems down the road. For example, infected gums can release bacteria into the bloodstream that can lead to heart disease. Lost teeth due to decay can make it difficult for the dog to eat properly and obtain the nutrients needed for health. Imagine living with rotting teeth or inflamed gums every day and the impact it would have on your quality of life. To prevent these issues, accustom your dog to having its teeth brushed. If your dog does not like having his teeth brushed you can try a brushless treatment, such as water additives or dental treats from Premium Pets — and if your dog already exhibits signs of poor dental health, schedule a cleaning.

Chronic Ear Scratching

Most dogs scratch their ears sometimes, so this may not register as an issue. But if the dog scratches continuously or seems frantic while scratching, it may indicate an ear infection or ear mites. Left untreated, some ear infections can lead to hearing loss, but all ear infections are uncomfortable for the dog. Take your pet to the vet for evaluation and be sure to diligently follow up on the recommended treatment. Often times ear infections can be cleaned out with non-alcoholic ear rinses and an ear wipe from Premium Pets.

Itchy Skin

Itchy skin is another symptom that pet owners frequently fail to recognize as a problem, but many things from flea bites to lack of proper diet can lead to itchy skin. If your dog scratches continuously, be on the lookout for flea bites, mange or allergies, among other possibilities. Be diligent about flea control — even if you are careful about flea and tick prevention, bring your pet to the vet for evaluation. The solution could be as simple as changing the pet’s diet to eliminate allergens or add more fatty acids or other nutrients. A variety of skin and coat formulas, grain free, and raw food options are available at Premium Pets. We also have a daily chewable supplements you can give your pet that alleviate itching and hypersensitivity. 


Just like with people, obesity can be a precursor to more serious illnesses. Pet owners often think a roly-poly pet is cute, but excess weight can cause a multitude of problems. It can aggravate arthritis by putting more stress on the joints or even cause spinal issues in susceptible breeds such as dachshunds. A pot belly may also signal the onset of Cushing’s disease or another issue with the adrenal glands that causes fluid buildup and may lead to heart failure.

If your pet doesn’t have a defined waist when observed from above and to the side, the dog may be obese. Cut back on treats and people food, and ask us at Premium Pets about a quality, low-calorie dog or cat food to try. We have limited-ingredient diets that may be a great fit for your pet without limiting their protein or produce intake. 


You can’t see many parasites, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Protect your pet from parasites with a quality heartworm preventive. Many of the latest formulations also prevent new infections of pinworms or roundworms, although they are less effective against existing infestations.

Heartworm can be fatal, and the treatment is harsh and costly. It is kinder and more cost effective to treat your dog with a preventive medication. Also, be sure to bring a stool sample when the dog visits the vet. The lab can check for parasites you can’t see with the naked eye.

Be on the lookout for “scooching” or butt dragging, which may indicate intestinal worms.

Don’t Ignore Symptoms

A dog can’t tell you it doesn’t feel well, and it often hides pain. That means as a good pet parent, you must always be on the lookout for changes in a pet’s behavior that can signal illness.

A persistent cough or lethargy may indicate heartworm or Bordetella (kennel cough). Or it could just mean the dog needs a drink of water or a nap. Vomiting may signal parvo — a potentially fatal infection — or it could simply mean the dog ate too quickly.

Whenever your dog exhibits new, unusual or severe symptoms, the best course of action is to visit the vet. You love your dog, and good medical care and natural products can help ensure your beloved pet stays by your side as long as possible.

Author bio: Stephanie N. Blahut is Director of Marketing for Figo Pet Insurance. Figo is committed to helping pets and their families enjoy their lives together by fusing innovative technology — the first-of-its-kind Figo Pet Cloud — and the industry’s best pet insurance plans. 

Brittany Schlup