Common Dog Health Questions - Answered!

Your dog's health is a serious matter. If you are a new dog owner, you probably have plenty of dog health questions.

While it's not a good idea to diagnose and treat your pet on your own, and I am not trying to replace your veterinarian, you still need to know the symptoms of an ill dog.

The following list of dog health questions and answers will help you take better care of your pet.

It will also allow you to recognize if your puppy or dog requires an immediate attention. I hope you will find it helpful.

Common Dog Health Questions

The following are some of the most commong dog health questions new dog owners ask me.

I will be adding new dog health questions and answers on a regular basis, so come back again and come back often!

Why does my dog have bad breath?

Bad breath can be a sign that your dog has worms. If you would like to learn more about symptoms, treatment and prevention of worms in your dog, visit worms in dogs page.

Excess plaque and calculus deposits on your dog's teeth can also cause bad breath. If you don't stop it, tartar buildup can lead to periodontal disease and gums and bone infections.

The best way to keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy (and his breath fresh) is to brush them regularly and to buy him a good dog chew toy.

Learn more about How to Keep your Dog Healthy

For more information on dog teeth care, visit dog teeth cleaning page.

Why does my dog scratch all the time?

There are several causes of excessive dog scratching...

  • Fleas / ticks
  • Dry skin

To learn more about fleas and ticks, visit home remedies for fleas and dog ticks pages.

Improper diet, wrong shampoo and allergies can bring out dry skin and other skin conditions that cause excessive scratching. Visit dog skin care to learn about proper skin care for dogs.

How much exercise does my dog need?

Unfortunately, this is one of the most neglected dog health questions.

There is no simple answer to this question… The amount of exercise depends on the breed, size, and age of dog.

A larger dog will need more exercise than a smaller dog. Some breeds, because of their genetics, need more exercise than other breeds of the same size.

Take your dog for a walk at least 3 times per day. 15 to 30 minutes is enough for most dogs.

Dog agility is a sport that was modeled after equestrian jumping competitions. Even if you are not interested in having your dog compete, you can pick up 1 or 2 excellent exercises that your dog will enjoy. If you haven't heard about dog agility, visit dog agility training page.

Finally, talk to your veterinarian about an exercise program that's appropriate for your dog.

Is there a difference between generic and premium dog foods?

Another common dog health question…

What differentiates a good dog food from bad?

Cheap dog foods use low quality protein sources and a lot of preservatives.

Some dogs can't easily digest them. Because of that, the food just goes through their system with only small amount of nutrients being absorbed. To get the same amount of nutrients from cheaper dog food as from premium dog food, your dog will need to eat more (and you will spend more).

In general, better dog food is not sold in supermarkets. Petco, PetSmart and numerous independent stores will have much better selection of premium food.

First of all, get the food that's appropriate for your dog. If your dog is a puppy, buy him food formulated for puppies. The same applies to adult dogs. Read the label and make sure the food satisfies your dog's needs. Then, make sure the label says "complete" and/or "balanced".

Brands such as Iams, Eukanuba, and Hills Science Diet are all good choices. 

Premium Raw Dog Food

So is Nature's Varietyicon-- the brand that I buy for Bo. His favorite is Instinct Raw Frozen Diet-Beeficon (pictured on the left).



It's a super premium food that:

  • Doesn't use any fillers or preservatives
  • All ingredients in Instinct Raw Frozen Diet are sourced in the U.S.A.
  • Consists of 95% meat, organ meat, and bones. The additional 5% includes vegetables, fruits, and other whole foods
  • Decreases shedding, hot spots, and other skin issues

Another brand that I like is Azmira. I used to buy it but switched after 1-800-PetMedsicon stopped selling it. Very few stores carry it but if you can find the store that does, give it a try. In my opinion, this is the best dog food.

After the tainted pet food scare that we had in the March of 2007, it's even more important to pay attention to what we feed our pets.

Puppy Training


Dog Food eBook



Read the above Dog Food Secrets eBook to learn more about dog food and how to choose the best dog food for your puppy or an adult dog.

What are the signs of an ill dog?

This is one of the most common dog health questions from new dog owners. 

With time, you will get to know your dog pretty well. If, all of a sudden, you notice that his behavior changes, he may be sick.

The following symptoms are cause for concern and if they don't disappear in a day or two, contact your veterinarian…

  Loss of appetite Diarrhea Vomiting
  Weight loss Depression Doesn't want to go for walks
  Sleeps less / more Stops playing  

And if you notice that your dog is in a lot of pain, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Learn more about How to Keep your Dog Healthy

Will neutering / spaying change my dog's behavior?

Of all the dog health questions people ask me, I think the subject of neutering and spaying is the most misunderstood…

Dog neutering involves surgical removal of both testicles. Spaying involves removal of ovaries and uterus. Both procedures are painless.

Getting back to the question, yes, both procedures will affect your dog's behavior. But the change will be for the better. Some of the positive changes in behavior that will result due to these procedures are…

  • Decrease in aggression
  • Dogs that underwent these procedures will become more focused and easier to train

Visit dog neutering and dog spaying to learn more about the effects of these procedures on puppy health and behavior.

How often will I need to take my dog to a vet?

It all depends on your dog's age and general health.

Younger puppies need to be vaccinated more often than older dogs, so vet visits will be more frequent. Older dogs will usually need to see a vet once a year, unless your dog has some medical condition that requires more frequent visits.

For a sample schedule, take a look at puppy vaccination schedule.

In general, your vet will let you know how often you will need to bring your dog to see him or her.

Do I need to brush my dog's teeth?

Not one of the more common dog health questions but a very important one nevertheless…

By cleaning your dog's teeth on a regular basis, you will not only keep his gums and jaw bones healthy, but you will also be able to eliminate the need for cleanings done by a vet. Cleanings done by a vet are performed under general anesthesia and are costly.

Always use a toothbrush and toothpaste made for dogs – never use human toothpaste on your dog.

Safe chew toys will also keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy. To learn why a chew toy is more than a toy, as well as what toys are dangerous, visit dog chew toys page.

For more information on dog teeth care, visit dog teeth cleaning page.

Can I tell if my dog is sick by the temperature of his nose?

Like the previous one, this is not one of the most common dog health questions...

The answer is no, you can't.

A cool and wet nose doesn't mean your dog is healthy and a warm nose is not a sign of a sick dog.

Dog's nose is one of 2 body parts through which dog's sweat (paws are the second). When a dog sweats, to cool himself, his nose will feel cool and moist. If the outside temperature is such that a dog does not need to cool himself, his nose will feel dry.

How often can I bathe my dog?

This is not really a dog health question, but I felt it was useful to answer it here anyway...

On the average, once a month is about right, but use your judgment. 

Some breeds are prone to oily skins and coats. Wash them more often. If you have a dog with thick double-coat, wash him less often.

If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, regardless of type of coat he has, you will need to wash him more often than a dog that spends most of his time indoors.

But don't wash your dog more often than you need to. You will see (and smell) when your dog needs a bath!

Dog Shampoo

If you are concerned about your dog's dry skin, use a good moisturizing shampoo such as Blue Aloe Shampooicon.

It will not only clean your dog's skin and coat but will also moisturize his skin.



For more tips on skin and hair care, visit dog skin care page.

And, under no circumstances wash your dog with human shampoos.

How often will I need to vaccinate my dog?

This is one of the most common dog health questions.

There are many factors that will influence vaccination schedule for your dog. One of them is where you live. Your veterinarian will determine the best schedule for your dog.

To learn more about vaccination, visit puppy vaccination schedule page.

I hope you found preceding dog health questions and answers helpful. For more information on dog health, visit dog health care page.

If you have any dog health questions you would like me to answer, use the Contact form and I will try to reply within 2 days.

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Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

As a dog owner, you are responsible for your puppy's health. A good source for dog health information, including puppy care and preventive medicine, how to protect your pet from worms and ticks, dog food, and how to recognize if your pet needs immediate medical attention, is the Ultimate Guide to Dog Health.


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Dog Health Questions » Dog Health Care

I hope you will find this information useful and it helps you to recognize some common dog health problems your pet may be experiencing. However, if you suspect your pet is ill, immediately contact your veterinarian.  He or she will be able to help you decide the best course of action when it comes to caring for your pet.

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