The Most Common Dog Illnesses: Symptoms and Treatment

No one wants their dog to get sick, but it does happen and as a pet owner you need to know what symptoms to be on the lookout for. Our Sacramento vets offer advice about some of the most common dog illnesses to watch for.

Common Dog Illnesses

Dog owners need to be vigilant and be prepared to visit their vet if needed. Here are 3 common dog illnesses, and their symptoms, that dog owners should watch for.

Ear Infections

If your dog is suddenly scratching their ear or shaking their head more often, whining, or exhibiting other relatively new forms of concerning behavior, a vet can examine them to find out whether they may have an ear infection.

Potential causes include moisture in the ears, allergies, autoimmune disorders, wax buildup, and bacterial or yeast infection.


In addition to the signs mentioned above, symptoms include:

  • Swelling or redness in the ear canal
  • Dark discharge
  • Pain
  • Odor
  • Itchiness
  • “Crustiness” or scabs

It’s important to see your vet for quick treatment to keep the infection from spreading to other parts of the ear and leading to more serious conditions such as facial paralysis and deafness.


Dogs can contract this highly contagious viral disease from an infected dog’s feces or virus particles, which can survive in the environment for months. Though dogs who have not received all of their vaccines are most susceptible, many dogs who receive timely, prompt treatment can be saved.


Symptoms include:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (usually bloody)
  • Fever
  • Weakness

Parvovirus can be prevented with puppy vaccines and booster shots. It’s imperative that parvovirus is treated as it can lead to:

  • Bone marrow damage
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Chronic heart disease
  • Sudden death.


As our dogs live longer, thanks to advancements in veterinary medical care, and various vaccines, therapies, and treatments, we also see more incidents of certain diseases.


Different types of cancer - from skin, bone, and breast cancers to malignant lymphoma and soft tissue sarcomas - can plague dogs as they enter their golden years. Cancer can sometimes be linked to genetic or environmental factors.

Though early detection can sometimes be difficult if little to no symptoms appear, classic symptoms of cancer include:

  • Lumps or bumps
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Lameness or swelling in bones or other parts of the body

Depending on the cancer, a tumor could be removed surgically, and there may be options to treat or cure the disease or prolong your dog’s life. Early detection and treatment are critical to survival.

What to Do if Your Dog is Ill

If you see any of these symptoms appear in your dog, it’s critical to get them to a vet as soon as possible. We at South Sacramento Pet Hospital want to make your dog healthy using our knowledgeable staff, and diagnostic services.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog feeling ill and showing alarming symptoms? Contact our Sacramento vets to book an appointment for your dog.