A man holds his fluffy dog affectionately and wonders what pet health conditions he can safeguard it from according to its breed

Protection and Prevention for Common Dog Health Problems


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Many common health problems in dogs are similar or even the same as human health problems. However, when dogs go to the doctor, treatment isn’t government subsidised like it is for us so having dog insurance makes sense. It also helps knowing which pet health conditions our dogs are likely to face along the way.

Because dogs are our best friends (along with cats), we’d never want to be placed in a position of having to say no to treatment we can’t afford. Thankfully, you can get clued up on common health problems in dogs in this article – then you’ll be able to safeguard against them.

What are common health problems in dogs?

Get to know which pet health conditions your pup is most likely to face. Firstly, based simply on being a dog. And secondly, their breed along with age and general overall health.

That way you can choose a pet insurance plan that suits them well and gives them their ultimate soft landing. But most importantly you should study up on what your dog is prone to so you can keep an eye out for it and act quickly when you see symptoms.

Take a look at some of the more common health problems in dogs:

A group of dogs standing in a field, represents a cross section of breeds that may each be more prone to certain common health problems and potential pet health conditions.

Common dog skin health problems

Like humans, dogs can get all sorts of itches, welts, bumps, lumps, redness, swelling, etc. Just like the symptoms, causes of dog skin conditions range widely. Because the skin is the biggest organ on the body, it’s always a clever move to get vet treatment sooner than later.

Let’s look at some common health problems in dogs that affect skin:


Allergies are super high on the list of common dog health problems – in fact, last year they were PD Insurance’s number one most common claim type for dogs. Dogs get allergies from more or less the same factors we humans do. This includes stress (you betcha, dog anxiety is a real thing), certain foods, pet products, plants and more.

Getting to know the state of your dog’s ‘normal’, healthy skin is important because that will help you recognise changes that result from an allergic reaction. Unlike most other pet health conditions, allergic reactions tend to happen almost immediately after contact with the offending substance, be it pollen, food, a bee sting etc.

Read about Echo the PD Insurance customer who got a dog bee sting allergy that needed immediate lifesaving vet treatment.

Dog skin infections

If the already sensitive and reacting skin gets aggravated, say by your dog scratching or pawing at it or simply because it’s been left untreated, this could easily turn in to a skin infection.

Because the causes of common dog skin health conditions can range so widely, knowing your dog’s skin and relying on vet support is always the best approach to keeping things in check. Find out how you can best monitor your pup’s skin health with wise tips from Dr Cath in our PD Pet Care vlog:

Common dental health problems in dogs

Doggy dental health conditions are high on the list of common dog health problems. This could be due to diet, breed, health or lifestyle, to name a few causes. The Australian Veterinary Association says 80% of dogs and cats will have some level of dental disease after their third birthday.

Let’s take a look at some of these common pet dental health problems:

Tooth abscess

Tooth abscess in dogs is a common health problem. It happens in the root of the tooth so left untreated has the potential to wreak havoc with the overall tooth health and longevity. Most times surgical intervention is the best solution – even if you can’t save the affected tooth you don’t want the abscess to affect adjacent teeth.

Learn how to treat a tooth abscess in dogs.

Gum disease and periodontal disease

Gum disease is a common pet health problem that causes swollen, red and sometimes bleeding gums. Left untreated the infection spreads to deeper tissues, eventually causing teeth to become wobbly, loose and even fall out.

It’s not just the teeth that can be impacted. Once gingivitis (the medical term for gum disease) becomes periodontal disease it can cause loss of teeth, bone in the jaw and gum tissue, resulting in permanent damage.

Misaligned bite (malocclusion)

Malocclusion (where the teeth don’t align) is a common dog health problem, especially in certain dog breeds. Brachycephalic breeds in particular tend to experience this problem.

It can cause injuries to the mouth’s soft tissues – gums, cheeks, palate – and result in excessive tartar and calculus build up as well as sinus problems. Dog dental braces can sometimes solve this problem.

If you have a breed known for having oral health problems, pet dental insurance could provide a safeguard for them and your pocket.

A long haired German Shepherd pup is sitting in the grass, seemingly unaffected by common health problems in dogs.

Common bone and joint health problems in dogs

Like people, as dogs age, the pressure on their bones, muscles and joints experience wear and tear. However, some dog breeds in particular are highly prone to musculoskeletal health conditions.

Here are a few common dog health problems that affect the musculoskeletal system:


Intervertebral disc disease – commonly abbreviated to IVDD – affects a dog’s spine. The spongy shock absorbing tissue between the vertebrae of the spine hardens, affecting movement. The spine is, of course, essential to all movement as it connects the head, torso and tail.

IVDD is more common in Dachshunds and other dogs with shorter legs and proportionately longer spines.

Elbow and hip dysplasia

Dysplasia is one of the most common health conditions known to affect dogs today. It can strike all dogs, but the breeds most known to experience it tend to be larger dogs. Dogs like the German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler and Saint Bernard are typical examples.

The condition can affect elbows and hips, happening when the different parts of these connecting bone structures develop at different rates to each other. This can cause dogs to limp, hop, wobble and sway when they walk, run or jump.

Read more about hip dysplasia in dogs to learn about treatment options and safeguard against your pup becoming overweight or obese, too. This can put added pressure on the joints and leads to heart disease, arthritis and diabetes in dogs and cats.

Three women with their dogs enjoying the serene view of a lake.

Common ear health problems in dogs

Doggy ears aren’t shaped like ours and they do lots more work than ours do. The complex design of the canine ear comprises a long and uniquely shaped ear canal. That’s what gives a dog its superpower hearing but this also traps debris more easily, which can quickly become infected.

Dog ear infections is the number two most common insurance claim type we see.

Dog ear infections

Dogs can get various infections (bacterial, yeast, or fungal) and these can target the eardrum, middle ear or inner ear. Man oh man do our canine companions have a lot of ear!

As with many common pet health conditions, some breeds are more prone. Read about one such in our article that covers both skin and ear infections in French Bulldogs.

Health care for common health problems in dogs

Thankfully, in today’s world, there are plenty of pet care products and lifestyle choices to support and protect your dog’s longevity. This ranges from nutritious pet food for optimum gut health and pet trackers for keeping tabs on pet well-being, to having dog insurance that helps pay for unanticipated vet bills.

Here are eight guides to safeguard your pooch against common dog health problems (with plenty more available in our blog):

  1. Puppy health care milestones
  2. Routine pet care for your puppy
  3. How often should you wash your dog?
  4. How do I choose a good dog groomer?
  5. Dog health problems by breed
  6. Getting dog gut health right
  7. Flea and tick treatment for dogs
  8. Pet vaccinations schedule in Australia

If you’re wondering when to get pet insurance for dogs and cats, a clever time is before pet health conditions arise. The sooner you get it while your pet is young, the sooner your fur baby will be protected and you’ll have peace of mind.

Give your pup a soft landing with pet insurance

Unexpected trips to the vet for pet health conditions like accidents, illnesses and dental problems are commonplace. They can also be expensive. While vet bills in Australia are expensive for a range of logical reasons, they can still leave you out of pocket.

Having affordable, quality pet insurance to help recoup the tab means less pressure on savings when your pet needs treatment. Find out more about getting one or more months of FREE pet insurance when you buy your plan online. Click below to get a quote and take it from there.

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