The happiness of bringing home a newly adopted dog can quickly subside if your pup becomes ill. Any animal can get sick, but when you bring your new pet home, the stress of change, exposure to other animals and overall transition can make your dog more susceptible to health concerns. Despite the old saying, diagnosing a sick dog is not as easy as checking for a wet nose. A veterinarian’s opinion is always the best option, but you may be able to spot an illness early based on your dog’s symptoms. Keep you dog as happy and healthy as they day you brought him home by checking and preventing these common health issues.
Coughing and Respiratory Issues
Kennel cough is an upper respiratory illness easily transferred between canines in close proximity. A sharp, dry cough lasting for more than a day is the obvious symptom. Some dogs also gag after coughing, while others only get a runny nose and no cough. An infected dog will otherwise behave normally. If he begins coughing up mucus, struggles with breathing, loses his appetite or runs a fever, the dog may be developing pneumonia, a potential consequence of kennel cough, particularly in short-nosed breeds like pugs, boxers and bulldogs.
Kennel cough often goes away on its own in a week or two, but a dog in a new home is more likely to be stressed, leaving their immune systems weaker. Antibiotics are an option in these instances. A vet may prescribe a cough suppressant to soothe throat irritation.
Vomiting and Diarrhea
If a dog throws up once or has softer stool for a day with no other issues, chances are he simply ate something he shouldn’t have. If those issues persist for more than 24 hours or are accompanied by other symptoms, the dog should immediately see a vet.
Vomit, diarrhea, lessened food and water consumption, fever, sluggishness and depression point to a dog having parvovirus. It’s transmitted through the vomit and feces of an infected animal. Surfaces, including skin, clothing and floors, that come into contact with the waste can carry the disease for up to two weeks, making shelters and their workers great incubators. Symptoms appear anytime from three to 12 days after exposure. Parvo prognoses range from unaided recovery to death as quickly as two or three days after the first sign of illness.
Skin Irritation and Hair Loss
A pest inspection can help identify insects that live on animals in and around your home. Fleas and ticks are common pests that cause itching in dogs. Shelter pets are certainly susceptible to them if the other animals aren’t treated, and the environment isn’t kept free of infestations.
Mites can cause mange, another reason for severe itching and potential hair loss in dogs. When raised by their mothers, dogs often acquire demodectic mange mites from snuggling with her. Most dogs don’t experience issues with these. Problems, ranging from bald spots that heal untreated to serious bacterial infections, can arise from large numbers of demodectic mites living in the same area on the dog. Sarcoptic mange mites, easily passed from dog to dog, cause canine scabies. The resulting intense scratching can cause sores, scabs and hair loss.