Common Dog Diseases: Their Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Dogs hold a special place in their human pet parents’ heart. For a human pet parent, finding out their furry friend has a deadly disease can be devastating. Unfortunately, many pet parents are unable to recognize the signs of health issues in their dogs. By the time they understand the gravity of the situation, it’s too late.

At Bridewell Hilltop Kennels, it is our priority to ensure that our guests stay happy, safe, and healthy. That is why we have compiled a list of common dog diseases, their causes, symptoms, and treatment. If you are noticing a change in your furry friend’s behavior, you can refer to this list to determine if it possibly has a health problem.


Some common causes of cancer in dogs include overexposure to UV radiation, second-hand tobacco smoke, and air pollution and smog. Certain herbicides, insecticides and pesticides in dog foods can also increase a dog’s risk for cancer. Some breeds including Boxers, Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers and Boston Terriers are more prone to cancer than others.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in older dogs of age 10 and above. The good news is that in many cases, cancer is curable if diagnosed at an early stage. Some common symptoms of cancer in dogs include persistent sores, inflammation, low energy, bad breath, loss of appetite, and difficulty urinating, breathing or defecating.

Cancer treatments include chemotherapy, surgery, immunotherapy, radiation and a combination of therapies. To reduce your pooch’s risk of cancer, have it altered at a young age. Neutering a male dog prevents testicular cancer. If you have a female dog, having it spayed before her first heat cycle can substantially prevent the risk of breast cancer.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm is a parasitic worm. It resides in the heart and pulmonary arteries of the infected animal. Heartworms travel through the bloodstream, damaging vital organs and arteries. Heartworms multiply at a rapid rate and can live for as long as 5-7 years inside an animal’s body.

Heartworms get into the body of an animal through an infected mosquito bite. Common heartworm disease symptoms include coughing, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and unexplained weight loss. If your dog is diagnosed with heartworm disease, your vet may administer them a series of injections of melarsomine.

Heartworm can be prevented with a chewable tablet or topical medication. If your pup is choosy about its food, we suggest hiding pills in their favorite treat that they’re sure to eat.


Diabetes in dogs is caused by a lack of insulin or inadequate biological response to it. Some common risk factors for diabetes in dogs include age, gender, genetics and autoimmune disorders. Elevated blood sugar levels can cause hyperglycemia in dogs, which if left untreated, can result in health complications.

Common diabetes symptoms in dogs are weight loss, increased water consumption, dehydration, urinary tract infections, and skin infections. Some dogs with diabetes are given oral medications, others may need insulin injections.

Proper diet and regular exercise can go a long way in preventing diabetes in dogs. If you have a female dog, have it spayed at a young age, as female sex hormones can cause blood sugar to rise.

Bridewell Hilltop Boarding Kennels is a popular dog boarding facility in Petaluma. Our team of life dedicated animal lovers know how special your dog is to your family. Our team provides each guest with specialized care to ensure that they are happy and most importantly healthy while staying with us in their home away from home.To learn more, call (415) 897-5471.

Bridewell Hilltop Boarding Kennels & Cattery is dedicated exclusively to the care of dogs, cats, and small animals other than reptiles. Bridewell specializes in dog boarding, cat boarding, pet grooming and more for the areas of Novato, San Rafael and Marin County.