7 common dog illnesses that are dangerous

7 common dog illnesses that are dangerous

How long our dogs live for doesn't need to be put down to chance.

The way we look after them, the dog food diet we feed them and how we protect them can make a huge difference to not only the quality of their life to how long they live
And here we look at 7 common illnesses in dogs

1) Cancer. Dogs are TEN TIMES more likely to get cancer than humans and more than half of dogs that make it past 10 years old will die from cancer.
2) Chocolate poisoning. Most pet owners know that dogs can’t eat chocolate. But surprisingly, a good number of dogs still manage to get hold of it, and it remains one of the most common causes of poisoning in dogs.

3) HeartwormAll it takes for your dog to get heartworm is a single bite from an infected mosquito. Please ensure you are giving regular and preventative medicine

4) Lyme disease. This tick-borne illness is another highly preventable disease with your tick medication. It is caused by a bacteria transmitted by slow-feeding ticks that have been attached to the dog for at least 18 hours. It’s the most common of tick-related illnesses.

5) Gastric Torsion (aka bloat). If your dog gulps down their food then they may be at risk of bloat, which is basically an enlarged stomach. This prevents fluid and air from escaping the stomach, which prevents the dog from belching or vomiting.

6) Canine Parvovirus. The parvo vaccine is one of the critical vaccines every puppy should receive—which means most dogs should not actually get this preventable viral disease that attacks their intestines and heart.  The chance of survival is not great—more than half the dogs that get parvo will die.

7) Kidney disease (Renal failure). Kidney disease usually develops gradually and is most often seen in older dogs, but it can also arise as a complication from medications or other infectious diseases (like Lyme disease).

Although most kidney disease develops over a pet’s lifetime—  chronic kidney disease—is not preventable most of the time. 

However, there is one cause of chronic kidney disease that is preventable - dental disease. In the advanced stages of dental disease, bacteria from the dog’s gums can enter the bloodstream and damage vital organs, like the kidneys.

So keep those teeth clean! Brush regularly throughout your dog’s lifetime—meaning at least once a week—offer raw bones or other hard chew toys to remove plaque.

Dogs teeth

Can nutrition help protect our pets?

A diet that is focused on a healthy balance of protein, carbs and fat, with lots of fresh food and limited processed foods high in refined fats and sugars is pretty widely accepted as being beneficial to our health, and something we should aim for whenever possible. 

And yet, the vast majority of our dogs and cats eat heavily processed food with no variety or fresh ingredients at all.

Companion animals are some of the only ones on the planet to eat this way and even many vets will recommend it, seemingly at odds with everything we know to be true about our own nutrition. (you can read about why some vets recommend kibble here)

In fact, if you went to the GP and they told you to cut out fresh foods and only eat heavily processed biscuits or tinned stew supplemented with synthetic nutrients for every meal for the rest of your life, you would surely think they were joking. 

So why is this ok for our pets? 

Well, quite simply, it’s not. Our pets obtain the very same benefits from eating real, nutritious food as we do, and the impacts of not doing this are being felt by pets and pet parents far and wide. Our dogs and cats are fatter and sicker than ever.

More than half of them overweight or obese and in the decade between 2009 and 2019, the amount Americans spent on vet care went from 12 billion dollars to almost 20 billion dollars.

Dogs are TEN TIMES more likely to get cancer than humans and more than half of dogs that make it past 10 years old will die from cancer.

And that’s if they make it to 10, since a study found that overweight dog typically live up to 3 years less than those with a healthy body condition.    

These are all health issues that we widely accept to be tied to poor diet, and particularly to heavily refined starches and plant oils, oxidised fats, poor gut health, nutrient degradation through excessive heat treatment, a lack of disease fighting compounds like antioxidants and phytonutrients, and deficiencies in important vitamins and minerals.

These are ALL issues we can associate with processed pet food, and yet we are fed the same mantra over and over: fresh food for pets is dangerous.  (You can read about why kibble is NOT good for our pets here)

In reality, just as common sense dictates, fresh food is far from dangerous. It is heavily processed food we should be wary of, arguably even more so for our pets than for us.

Because while we may indulge a special treat every now and then, our pets are expected to eat this way every day for the rest of their lives, and they can’t tell us when their food makes them feel bad.

What we should be doing is applying the same wisdom regarding nutrition to our pets that we would to our human family, nourishing them with a variety of healthy whole foods that will keep them lean, full of energy and with all the tools they need to ward of disease and live a long, healthy and happy life. 

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